Friday, July 3, 2015

Leaf Litter and Good Insects - Plan Ahead for a Healthy Garden in 2016

This graphic is for those who trust in machines and chemicals -
instead of God's Creation. They are paying big money to inflict damage.

Almost Eden Gardens and Nursery collects bags of leaves for their operation, about 1/2 block from us. The owner knows gardening, beneficial insects, and the value of organic (Creation) methods.

Another Facebook friend, Jessica Walliser, wrote:

Soldier beetles, leatherwings FAMILY Cantharidae NORTH AMERICAN SPECIES 470 
As adults, all species of solider beetles have soft, leathery wings; they fly well and serve to pollinate various flowering plants. Larval soldier beetles live in leaf litter and under rocks, logs, and debris. Larvae feed primarily at night and are fast movers with large, grasping jaws that capture insect eggs and prey insects, including grasshopper eggs, caterpillars, aphids, and mealybugs. Adults consume nectar, with many species also eating aphids and other insects. Both adult and larval soldier beetles can exude foul defensive chemicals to aid in protecting them from other predators. In the eastern United States, the orange and black Pennsylvania leatherwing is a common sight, while the brown leatherwing is more common in the West.

Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 1046-1051). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 


  • Leaf litter is also home to ladybugs, salamanders, toads, and other predators of pest insects. It is no wonder that pests like aphids thrive when we continue to destroy the habitat of the predators that would keep them under control.

Leaf litter is essential for the best bugs, but leaving it alone is also ideal for them to overwinter.

By divine design the insects settle down for the winter underneath the litter, serving as food for winter birds but also awaiting their adult stage in the spring (once again greeted by birds).

The beneficial insect sources insist that leaving areas alone is the best approach - not digging to make them neat, not  rototilling leaves into the soil. As I wrote before, most leaves will be pulled into the soil, especially where the soil is richly populated with soil creatures, especially earthworms.

The piles of dead leaves in the spring are havens for insect life and food for soil creatures. We scooped the excess into the compost bin and over the endzone of the backyard. Some dead leaves remain but most have composted into the soil or in the compost bin.

Dead leaves lying on the mulch of the main rose garden disappeared before our helper could remove them.

We treat chunks of wood and twigs the same way. We maintain a stick pile near the Jackson Bird Spa and move chunks of wood into the two rustic fence areas. Sometimes the larger wood pieces are used to frame bushes, to set them off and provide a toad shelter and bug generator. Bugs and slugs love decaying wood; toads love bugs and slugs. 

One Butterfly Bush has a large mulched area around it, logs setting it off to keep people from walking over the new plant. Around that I have planted dill, Bee Balm, and coreopsis - three beneficial insect plants.

This is my favorite bird identification book.
Sharon Lovejoy, another Facebook friend, has a wonderful, total look at gardening,
from the soil below to the air force above.

Webber Goes Full Lillo on WELS Discussions - On a Thread That I Cannot See Because Lillo Blocked Me and My Wife.
MLC's Tranny Joins Webber, Lillo - Solidarity

Joel has blocked me and my wife on Facebook,
so he is free to rant without showing up.
No shock - Jay Webber, Floyd Stolzenburg's pimp,
joined in the conversation.

Joel Lillo
WELS Discussions
27 mins ·
Of all the misleading posts that Greg Jackson has ever published over at Ichabod, this has to be the most misleading. It is an article about a college football player who came out at Augsburg College. He wrote the headline and highlighted words to give the impression that his lifestyle was encourage by MLC. In fact, if you read the article, it becomes clear that there was no one at MLC who encouraged him. He states very pointedly that he kept his sexual orientation hidden at MLC. Why anyone take the man seriously is far beyond me.…/former…
Like · Comment ·

A message for David Jay Webber.

Same thread. Can anyone figure out what this incoherent rant from Dan Babinec means?


Lillo whines about my posts and his inability to comment. I stopped comments because of his personal attacks against various Lutherans. His words were vicious, stupid, and ignorant, completely irrelevant as well. Other bloggers found him just as repulsive.

I often featured Lillo's eructations because he is typical of WELS clergy, including the DPs and Synod President. However, I am not about to let him spew his venom against others.

On WELS Discussions, when one of the insecure begins an attack, the others with emotional problems join in quickly. The more they write, the higher the page counts. So thanks and keep it up. It gives y'all something to talk about at your AA meetings.

Lillo's hero, Tim Glende, told the judge he was suing the victim of his and Ski's abuse "because of a blog in Arkansas." The judge said, "What?"

One of Ski's inebriated sermons was posted on this website
for months before they finally took it down.
Samantha Lily Birner - aka Samuel Birner.
He graduated from Martin Luther College, WELS, and came out immediately afterwards.

Got Some Planting Done

Last night the rain came, and I had a little water caught in the freshly emptied storage barrels.

"The ground will be soft," I thought. Instead, the ground was dry and my magical shovel found tree roots near the surface. Nevertheless, it was fun planting from Almost Eden's nursery.

I added more coreopsis for beneficial insects.

I learned that the Chaste Tree is very much like Butterfly Bush and perhaps even better at attracting pollinators. I have a total of three Chaste Trees and five Butterfly Bushes.

I could not decide where to put the elderberries in the new, expanded wild garden. They are the tallest ones at the moment and I want to place them where they will catch the sun and show off their flowers and fruits.

Sunflowers are blooming. I was outside when a flash of gold fluttered by. It was a male goldfinch checking out the food available on the sunflowers. The blooms face East so we are looking at the cheerful flowers when we look into the backyard.

Pumpkins are vining and one bloom already popped out. They take forever to get going and seem to be unstoppable toward the end of the season.

Corn germinated very late and grew in the sunniest part of the corn patch. I learned my lesson about waiting to plant and giving them more time to germinate. The holes I saw after planting were from the squirrels retrieving their food. They are as suspicious of me as I am of them.  I should have known that they left those holes because they were retrieving the old stashes of food.

Our beans are not as plentiful as the number of seeds planted. Rabbits probably munched their way through many of the early plants. The rabbits are especially abundant this year. Sassy followed a baby bunny until it hopped under a car.

We are seeing the benefits of last year's work, with laying down mulch and starting the earthworms.

Spring was too cold and too wet but the trees were trimmed to give us adequate sun in the front and back.

The new roses have been surprisingly productive already.

As I wrote before the pure white John Paul II roses were clobbered by insects. Now they are the most productive and also damage free. I cut roses for Mrs. Ichabod and found one perfect John Paul II among the others, which were also beautiful.

I pulled out the cut cane and there was a dense spider web. I laid God's little insect killer back onto the bush. He gave me a perfect rose because I let him find his food without being poisoned.

The crepe myrtle bush is blooming
and the calladiums below are spreading - same color.

Roses for Another Doctor.
The Wild Garden Grows a Rustic Fence

Barbra Streisand rose.

Mrs. Ichabod had a routine doctor's appointment, to change a prescription. The doctor loves doughnuts so we were going to buy some, but I decided to put some roses in a vase instead. The doctor's staff loved them:

  • Barbra Streisand - don't judge me.
  • Pope Paul II - another Notre Dame alumnus
  • Peace
  • California Dreamin'
When the doctor came in, she really lit up. 

California Dreamin'
The doctor was so pleased with the roses that she put them in her personal office right away. She was really grinning as she took them away. All the new roses are fragrant - Peace is not - so vase radiated perfume.

This confirms my theory about which flowers to raise. Which would you like in a vase? 
  • Daisies
  • Mums
  • Dandelions
  • Tulips
  • Roses
I know why people buy relatively few roses at the florist. The cost is prohibitive and the price doubles for special occasions. That is why growing them is so rewarding. When I gathered roses for the altar on Sunday and discarded six of them for being too short, our helper picked them off the grass and took them home.

The LCMS, WELS, and ELS have abandoned this doctrine,
trusting in Management by Objective instead.
Rosarians know better.
Most people respond to roses by asking how difficult they are to grow. After decades of failure in the use of man-made chemicals, rosarians have switched to organic - that is Creation - principles.

The large rose gardens are using manure, compost, and mulch to have healthy, productive roses. Meanwhile, Pastor Herman Otten's sister (Marie Meyer, MDiv) is arguing for a "modern" interpretation of Genesis, in support of Matthew Becker.

Leave it to the Walther clones to desert Creation at the very moment gardeners are embracing the obvious - God manages His world a lot better than we can imagine.

The John Paul II roses are white and fragrant, heavily hit by insect damage in the first bloom cycle. When the buds are obviously under attack, the roses that bloom are distorted and ugly. One bush now has two perfect roses and 12 perfect buds , all damage free. What did I do? Nothing, except encourage beneficial birds and bugs to work for me. In fact, they work for God and obey His design, and I get the benefits.

Some gardeners here have Japanese beetles (aka June bugs) and no grackles. I have grackles and no June bugs. I recently read that grackles are ideal for attacking the adult beetles and the grubs in the lawn. The hardware store solutions (milky spore disease, scent traps) do not work - for a good price.
Grackles work for suet and water.

The old Yale Fence was a gathering place for college students.

When the Yale Fence was torn down, this plaque was placed on the new building.

Wild Garden Update
"Did another tree fall down?" Mrs. Ichabod asked. I said, "No, our helper cut down a small tree and brought it here."

I never worry "What will the neighbors say?"  when someone drags a small tree to our house or when I harvest grass clippings as I walk home. Our yard has become a destination.

Our helper was concerned that the wild garden would attract a ticket for uncut grass, etc. Springdale recently jumped on residents they suspected of emulating Dogpatch. But we are going to mow the grass as the wild area is developed.

  1. We pushed the dead tree stump back up into position. That stump will help support the Honeysuckle Scentsation vine.
  2. We moved the logs and the new tree parts alone a line to form a rustic fence to harbor bugs and toads - also to create a Yale fence for bird perching, gossiping, and bug pouncing. 
  3. Solar lights will highlight the new fence and falling over it in the dark.
  4. Elderberry plants and the Chaste Tree are vertical highlights in the area and form a screen to block the alley view, which is already emphatically green with sunflowers, Butterfly Bushes, Queen Ann's Lace, Cow Vetch, and pigweed. I like pigweed for beneficial insects. Woooooooooo, Pig ! Sooie!
  5. Cardboard, newspapers, leaves, and compost will be used to reclaim that part of the yard for the wild garden. No more grass there.
  6. More butterfly, hummingbird, and hummingbird plants can be grown.
Honeysuckle - Scentsation.
The trunk it was growing on is now upright and looks great.

Message for WELS Cry Babies

Various sources have informed me that WELS cry babies complain about my posts - behind my back, of course.

One of the latest concerned a news story I posted verbatim. I actually highlighted the material that showed this person was WELS. Maybe he still is. I do not know. God knows.

Many people read the blog just to catch up on news. If it is something WELS or Missouri might be interested in, I post it. Matthew Beckere's response to his defenestration from Missouri was news, so I published his response.

The Supreme Court decision on homosexual marriage generated a lot of support from Martin Luther College graduates, so related articles were germane. But - I went to journalism school and my criticism did not. How could they possibly know?

WELS is fading away fast, because only the abused-from-birth will stick around for a taste of the lash, and most of them are departing. The only way their new cult centers can get anywhere is to distance themselves as far away from the sect, Luther, and Christianity as they can. For most of the clergy, that is no problem.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Receive with Meekness the Engrafted Word,Which Is Able To Save Your Souls. James 1:21 KJV

Jesus and the Apostles taught people who knew Creation and made their living by paying attention to that Creation.

Today people are not aware of the stars above or the soil below, and they can enjoy grafted plants without knowing what they are.

The illustration above shows how to graft roses, when a wild rose root base is grafted together with a showy rose above.

The first phrase from this part of James is a sermon by itself.

Receive is a synonym for believe, a concept never grasped by the Enthusiasts. Receiving the Word is another way of saying - Believe in the Word. Since the Word conveys Christ and all His benefits, believing the Word means placing our trust in Christ.

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

This faith not a work, not a decision of the mind, but the divine effect of the Word.

Likewise, a graft comes to the rose. The rose, or olive tree, or apple tree does not seek the graft. The plant begins with one genetic code and takes on another.

with meekness - This assumes the work of the Holy Spirit in creating a contrite and grateful heart. When a great and everlasting treasure is given to someone, he knows it is not earned by him. That faith in the Gospel--generated by the Word--opens his eyes to the greatness of God's gracious forgiveness and his own lack of merit.

The Double Delight graft is impossible to ignore or deny.

The engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.
When the Gospel is preached to us, since faith comes by hearing (Romans 10), we have a graft placed in our hearts. Christ is in us and we are in Christ, just as He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.

Can one graft a Double Delight rose onto a wild rose and still have a simple wild rose, endowed with only those wild characteristics? That is simply not possible, because God created certain plants to be able to grow into each other and thrive. The Double Delight graft must show its true nature, which is unlike any wild or old rose.

The entire Bible is based upon this grafting concept, because the Scriptures are a sermon about Christ, how we come to faith in Him, trust in Him, receive His righteousness in faith, become justified and saved through this faith.

Those who do not believe in Him clearly lack this graft and also those characteristics of Christ - His love, grace, and meekness. They are proud and haughty, bullying people, devouring estates, and binding people with man-made laws they choose to ignore.

Those who trust in Him for their salvation have that graft giving them spiritual energy from being entwined with Christ. We are no longer our own selves, but grafted onto Him. His Gospel Promises will always bear fruit.

Even the new easy-care roses need care. They need to be pruned or they look like weeds. They require water during dry spells or they die. God seeks us and grafts the Savior onto us through the Word, and we have the pleasant task, the easy yoke and light burden of bearing the yoke of the Gospel. Taking part in the Means of Grace, studying the Word, and learning from faithful books will nurture that faith. 

Easy care roses, like the KnockOut
are treated like weeds and look like weeds.
The Christian faith is a gift to be nurtured,
not to be taken for granted,
or sold to the highest bidder.

WELS Professor's Son Marries Roman Catholic at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

The New York Times writes relatively few marriages up.

Brian Dose

Brian Dose
Professor of English, Martin Luther College

Office Phone(507) 354-8221 ext 300

Erica Ann Leinmiller, a daughter of Pamela T. Leinmiller and Mark W. Leinmiller of Atlanta, was married there Saturday to Micah Donald Dose, a son of Donna J. Dose and the Rev. Brian L. Dose of New Ulm, Minn. Kevin Tracy, a Roman Catholic deacon, performed the ceremony at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
The bride and groom, both 24, are in the Navy, each holding the rank of lieutenant, junior grade. They are stationed at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, S.C. They met at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., from which they graduated.
The bride, who is keeping her name, received a Master in Public Policy from Harvard last month.
Her father, who works in Atlanta, is a global account manager for Schneider Electric, a Paris-based energy management company and maker of electrical components. Her mother, who is based in Atlanta, trains medical professionals in public speaking for EDC Communications, a company in Pompton Lakes, N.J., that trains executives and other professionals in communication skills. She is also a certified personal trainer at Peachtree Presbyterian gym in Atlanta.
This month, the groom completed a Master in Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
His mother is the food service director at Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School in New Ulm. His father, an Evangelical Lutheran pastor, is a professor of English at Martin Luther College in New Ulm.
The couple met in January 2011, at a Navy seminar at which those speaking, including Mr. Dose each began their prepared remarks with the words “I believe in …”
While Ms. Leinmiller heard one speaker talk about believing in America, and another who believed in the United States military, it was what Mr. Dose said he believed in that made her believe in him.
“I believe in reading to your children at night,” he said.
“It was not something I would expect from a 20-year-old Navy man,” she said. “His scope wasn’t just limited to the Navy and national security. He cared about other aspects of life, including family.”
After his speech, Ms. Leinmiller introduced herself and they became acquaintances more than friends.
During another seminar that November, Mr. Dose gave a presentation on the history of alcoholic beverages. Immediately after, Ms. Leinmiller, who had never been out socially with Mr. Dose, asked if he wanted to celebrate at a local brewery.
“I really liked him, he was just so genuine,” she said. “It was a good excuse to ask him to go on a date.”
The Navy man she sought was caught off guard.
“I was a bit stunned,” Mr. Dose said. “I was also flattered. Up until that moment, dating was the furthest thing from my mind.”
In January 2012, they went to a brewery as an unofficial first date, and on Valentine’s Day, he presented her with a bouquet of origami roses that he had folded himself, and officially asked her out.
“I was smitten,” he said. “My thinking about not wanting to date had shifted 180 degrees.”
They fell in love that summer during a four-week Marine Corps endurance course in Quantico, Va. “He was very good at it, but I wasn’t and I was miserable,” Ms. Leinmiller said. “He really empathized with me and helped get me through it.”
In June 2013, they took a road trip through Germany and Italy, and the next month, the Navy allowed them to take two years off to study for their master’s degrees, which created a long-distance relationship that grew shorter with occasional road trips between Chicago and Cambridge, and frequent dates via Skype.
“We figure if we can’t handle being apart when we can talk regularly, there’s no way we can handle it when one or both of us are underwater,” Ms. Leinmiller said jokingly.

Former Martin Luther College Football Player - Now Out at Out Sports
Jeff Schoen - "We Didn't Know!"

College football linebacker was openly gay and embraced by his teammates

Scott Cooper and his partner, Dan, during Senior Day for the Augsburg University football team.
Scott Cooper just finished his senior season. He found true acceptance on his Augsburg College football team, which included him being asked by a coach to speak on National Coming Out Day and introducing his partner at Senior Day.
On that crisp fall Saturday this past November, there was nowhere else I’d rather be than in "The Cage" with my Auggies. Countless hours had been spent in that stadium in Minneapolis and on that field -- sweating together, laughing together and growing together as a team. We were all in our maroon uniforms, gray pants, and any other "swag" we might have added. That day was Senior Day, the last home football game of the season, and the last time us seniors would be playing in that stadium where we had battled in for years. It was an exciting day, but also a sad one, knowing we’d never get to play here again in front of loved ones and our loyal fans.

Senior players are walked onto the field by persons who they feel have supported them and been there during the highs and lows of their athletic career. Auggie senior football players were escorted by parents, siblings, fianc├ęs, grandparents and loved ones. The Augsburg University underclassmen cheered and clapped for each senior being introduced and the crowd applauded to acknowledge the efforts put in by these soon-to-be graduating players. 
For me, it was no different. As they introduced "Senior linebacker Scott Cooper" and "his partner,  Dan," I looked at him, smiled big, took a deep breath, and walked out onto the field with the person who had been there for me. We entered to applause from the crowd, hugs from coaches, and cheering and "Atta boy, Coop!" from the younger players. There were no boos from the crowd, no gasps from the cheerleaders, or weird looks from my teammates. We were accepted and loved just like every other group that walked on the field that day. This, is why I am extremely proud and happy to call myself an Auggie. 

Acceptance of this nature is a relatively new thing to me. I grew up hearing from my church that being gay is bad, and that if you "struggle with those feelings" then you need to repent and repress them. Not exactly what a kid who is trying to pray away the gay likes to hear. I tried, and that "gay" stuck like glue. 

I was just your normal kid who loved farm animals, sports and picking on my brother. No one had a suspicion that I really had crushes on boys. And I planned to keep it that way. Through my childhood and high school I tried to ignore those feelings, and just focus on the things kids should focus on. I played three sports in high school, sang in the choir, performed in some theater production, and then found myself going to a college for ministry. That’s when life changed for me. I was so unhappy with who I had to pretend to be and what was being told to me. I remember the day clearly when my professor in the adolescent psychology class told us that "being gay is a choice." Excuse me? That was the day I knew I had to leave. 

Being at Augsburg College was a completely different experience. Not only was I out totally by then, but I was myself. I loved football, and just needed to be on a team. I missed the competition, the camps and the camaraderie. Yes, I was gay and out, but I didn’t want to lead with that fact. I just wanted to be a college athlete, while also being accepted off the field for who I really was. My teammates could not have been any more supportive of me than they were and still are. I don’t feel I was being a hero by being out and being honest about it with them; these guys are the true heroes. 

In a sport were masculinity and aggressiveness is celebrated, most men don’t think twice about calling another guy "fag" or "queer." I even said it in my high school closeted days. When guys figured out I was gay, those kinds of sayings started to become extinct. Any time I’d hear "Well, that’s gay," I loudly reply back, "What the hell is wrong with being gay?" "Oh! Sorry, Coop!" Many guys hadn’t thought about what those words meant to someone like me. I saw maturity and growth in those guys. I was able to joke with them, talk about things with them they normally wouldn’t get to talk about, answer "weird" questions, and just really enjoy getting to be myself around a group of guys who were completely accepting and non-judgmental. 

When Coach Mike Matson asked me if I’d be interested in speaking for chapel on National Coming Out day in October, I happily accepted. Coach Matson served as chaplain to student athletes, plus he was my linebacker position coach; and the campus ministry office asked him if he knew anyone that might be able to speak for chapel that day. Knowing me well enough to know I’m happy to share my story and am happy to stand for a cause I believe in, he asked me and I prepared a speech. I wanted to share my thoughts on faith and religion (since it was, after all, chapel), my story, talk about what National Coming Out Day meant to me, and, most importantly, how great of an experience I’ve had at Augsburg. Here is what I said:
Last week in football practice, we had a Christian rock station -- which I personally despise -- playing over the loud speakers. We played Bethel [College] last week, and I guess Coach Haege thought it’d put us in a salty mood. Well, it worked. After a few complaints about the music, Coach turned to me and asked if I was an atheist. Before I had a chance to really answer, we moved on to something actually pertaining to practice. But it made me think; it made me think about who I am and what I’m all about.

I had an interesting upbringing. My family was and still are Wisconsin Synod Lutherans. Now, Wisconsin Synod, if you’re not familiar, is different from the ELCA, which is what Augsburg College is affiliated with. ELCA is a pretty liberal sect of Lutheranism. The Wisconsin Synod is not. The WELS doesn’t believe that you’re allowed to pray with other people from different churches, women are not allowed to have any leadership over men, and marriage is only allowed between a man and a woman. I was raised in this strict, very conservative bubble. My siblings and I went to Lutheran grade school, Lutheran private prep school, and a few of us even went on to Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, to pursue a career in the WELS ministry. I studied scripture and doctrine basically non-stop for 20 years. To say my life revolved around the church was an understatement. All of my friends, family, and teammates were WELS and affiliated with the church. It was my world. I didn’t know much else beyond the small church bubble I was in. But I never really felt like I fit completely. 

There is something else the WELS teaches: it is not OK to be a homosexual and live your life as such. Gay people who don’t repent of their sin and try to repress any gay thoughts will go to hell. Man is not supposed to lie with another man, and to have a life together is beyond bad. Gay people will burn in the fires of hell along with murders and robbers. These are the teachings I listened to growing up. 

For those of you who don’t know me or don’t already know yet, I’m a proud member of the GLBTQIA community. I’ve known for as long as I can remember that I was gay. Even though I had these feelings and knew, I was a smart enough kid to know not to tell anyone around me about my feelings. Anti-gay therapy and hours of counseling would have probably followed. So for my entire upbringing, I tried to suppress who I was and just do what I was told. Being preached at that any gay would go to hell scared the crap out of me. I didn’t know what to do. I prayed to God to change me, but the change never came. All the hate and the condemnation really made me hate myself; I was not content with myself as a person. 

But once I got into college, I really started questioning faith, God, and the Bible. I didn’t just lie down and take the beating anymore. After getting to know other people in the gay community (secretly, because I couldn’t let anyone at Martin Luther know), I started to become more comfortable with who I was and what I could be: and that is I could be myself. I had to make a tough choice to leave the church and everything I knew, or else stay and suffer. I left Martin Luther, left the WELS church, and suffered through the condemnation and rejection of my family, the rejection of my friends, and the letter from the Pastor telling me I’m going to hell now. My parents hardly talked to me, and my dad signed the letters from the Pastor and church elders that condemned me to hell. Going through that was tough, and I’d be lying if I say it didn’t hurt. I do have a thick skin, and I stand strong, but constant words of condemnation are never easy to hear.

In September of 2011, I found the greatest place on earth: Augsburg College. Little did I know it at the time, but this place was a gift from God. I was just coming here to finish my degree and get off to life in the grown-up world, but Augsburg has given me more than that. 

When I started here, I had been out for a couple of years. I started off school here, and throughout my classes I met other gay people, and was able to talk about myself candidly and openly. It was awesome. At Martin Luther I could have never done that! I finally felt like I was at a place where I could really be myself.

A few months later, I emailed Coach Haege and asked if he wanted another football player. I’ve always loved sports and played all through high school. I missed competing and wanted to use my eligibility. He invited me to come on board, and I was happily on a team again.

Now, you don’t hear of very many football players who are also gay. Honestly, I was terrified of how my teammates would take it. But I knew that hiding myself and my personality was a) not going to be possible and b) something I told myself I’d never do again. The first year on the team, I didn’t make it a big deal, and I really didn’t talk about it much. I wanted guys to get to know me for me, as a person and a football player, not just as the gay guy. However, my spot-on lip-sync to Whitney Houston may have given it away. 

I couldn’t have asked for a greater group of guys to be around. And over the off season, I made it known (if they hadn’t figured it out already) that I am gay. Just like true Auggies, they didn’t even bat an eye. I have had more support from this group of guys and from my coaches than I could ever imagine. These guys are my brothers; actual true brothers that stand up for each other no matter what, even if he happens to like guys.

Today is National Coming Out day if you haven’t heard. That’s what brings me up here to tell my journey and my story. This is honestly the first time I’ve really celebrated this day in any way. This day exists to give people who may be struggling with the decision to let people really into their hearts and head an opportunity to come out and be exactly who they are. I know I struggled for many years with how to deal with the backlashes and the condemnation and the hate. But I stood up for myself, and I found support. My support is in the form of my friends, my partner, my team, my coaches, and this institution. My fellow Auggies, if you are one of those people who is afraid to come out, I have two things for you: 1) don’t let anyone pressure you, and you do it on your own time, and 2) know that if you decide to come out, or already are, you are in a safe place. This college is one of the most accepting and nurturing places on Earth. You are among family here, no matter their sexual orientation, race or creed. 

I also believe that this day can be celebrated by everyone. It doesn’t have to be about your sexual orientation. Auggies, I urge you to use this day to look inside yourself and find what you struggle with. Find what is holding you back from being your true self. Find that insecurity that causes you to act like someone you’re not. Once you find that, meet it head on, and get rid of it. Come out as your true self, and know that no matter who you are and what demons you may face, you have a support system. When I do go to church, I’ve found the ELCA which accepts me for who I am, and I have a school and a team that lift me up and support me as a student, an athlete, and a citizen. I feel like I can finally have a normal relationship with God. I don’t have to fear condemnation and hell. I know I can be loved without changing.

So, who am I? I know I’m made up of many part of my identity: I’m a "recovering Lutheran," I’m a student, I’m an athlete, I’m a partner, I’m an intern, and I’m a gay man. Not one of these defines me as I am, but make up my whole being. And to truly love myself, I had to embrace and love each part of me. That’s what each and every one of us needs to do in order to be truly happy in our own skin. 

Augsburg, I thank you for who you are, and I urge you to continue being awesome. Auggies are a diverse group of people, and that’s what makes us special. Whether you’re gay, straight, bi, white, black, Latino, Asian, African, disabled, or whatever makes you unique, you are in a place that is supportive and loving. I couldn’t ask for a greater place to call home. Thank you for all the support, and I know whatever crap life deals us, we can stand together. Auggies: Here We Stand.

After I finished, I turned around to give Coach Matson a hug as the assembly applauded heartily. As I looked back around, I then saw that every person was on their feet, showing their support, love, and acceptance. That was one of the best moments of my life. 

When people tell me I’m brave, I don’t really know how to react. I’m just me. I just find what I’m passionate about and stand up for it. I found myself in a place that welcomed that and embraced that. And for that, I couldn’t be any more thankful.

There are three reasons I wanted my experience to be told. First, I wanted to give confidence and encouragement to anyone who is unsure about themselves; and in this case, especially other gay athletes. Secondly, more stories about gay athletes should be told; because the more we hear about gay athletes, the less of a big deal it is. One day, I hope it is a complete non-issue. Until then, we have to stay vocal. 

And last, but in no way least, I want people to know that there are teams out there where this is a non-issue. My Auggies deserve so much credit for breaking every stereotype that male athletes tend to have regarding gays. They accepted adversity, embraced their brother, and stood together. After all, isn’t that what sports are supposed to teach us?

Scott Cooper is a December 2013 graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a B.A. in Communications. He played linebacker for the school for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He  can be reached on Twitter at @shc2112 or by email at
Scott Cooper talks to Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler from Outsports: