Preseason Top 25 in College Football, Postseason Top 125 on the PGA Tour

It was another busy weekend in the sports world. Baseball races continue to heat up all over the country, and we all know that I’ll be covering that at length as the playoffs get closer. But for today’s purposes, I’ll focus in on two lists that had some buzz on Sunday.

The Associated Press released its preseason poll on Sunday, and for the first time in history, there was a unanimous number one. Find out who that was, as well as the rest of the top 25, in the link below. There’s also two different voting options for you.

The College Football Preseason AP Top 25 Is Released. Who’s On Top? Can Ohio State Repeat? Vote Now.

On the other side of the spectrum is the happenings in the golf world. After 43 grueling events, the field is finally set for the FedEx Cup Playoffs on the PGA Tour. See who’s in the field after a fun weekend at the Wyndam Championship.

The Top 125 Is Set For the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs. Who’s In? Who’s Out?

Stay tuned for more articles that are certainly on the way. As always, you can get updates here, but if you’re looking for even more of my work, you can find it at LukeNorris.net and can also get constant updates by following me on Twitter @THElukenorris. You’ll be seeing more very soon.

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The Power of Hope (A Guest Post by Garrett Collins)

(This is another first for The Luke Norris Experience. Welcome to the first “Up Close and Personal” piece written by someone other than myself. Call it a guest post if you like. As you well know, I’ve been working with Binge Media for some time now, creating a nice following with Binge Sports. Last year, they added a movie correspondent, Garrett Collins, to assist with some of the reviews and podcasts, even creating a new show called the Binge Movie Aftertaste. Listen to the most recent show HERE. His knowledge of film is unparalleled and honestly, his written movie reviews are the only ones on the internet that I ever read. That’s not just hype for the site. That’s actual fact. But there’s so much more to this man. Look, I’ve never actually met Garrett. He’s out on the west coast while I reside here in central Illinois, but over the past few months, I’ve done numerous podcasts with him and had so many great conversations with him off the air, and I can say with complete certainty that not only is he great at what he does, he’s a great person and I’m proud to consider him a colleague and a friend. Garrett’s a busy guy with a lot going on, so when he asked to use The Luke Norris Experience as an outlet to get some things off of his chest, it was a no-brainer. Below is a powerful piece from Garrett about life, dreams, sadness, but most of all, hope. Enjoy.)

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There I sat. In a packed car, sitting on the edge of freeway traffic whizzing by, as the sweltering sun hit my face and beads of sweat slowly moved down my face. The contemplation was done, and I had made up my mind. A shiny steak knife was in my left wrist, pointed logistically at my right. What made this decision ring even more true to me was how three highway policemen had moved past me without a purpose. It was finally going to happen. I was set to check out, wondering what my final thought would be as my final moment passed. Right before doing so, something crossed my mind. And that something was the question of how did it come to this? How is it that two weeks before I was present at the premiere of a film I in fact produced? This was supposed to be a happy time. Why did my mental capabilities feel the need to fulfill my life’s promise like this? How does someone go from the proud arrival in his parents’ arms to just wanting to give it all up? And how long before my body would follow suit?

I know. That is a lot of questions to start an article off. Before I get into the answers to all these questions and more, let me give a bit background on myself. Because most people who come to this blog are probably looking to read what is going on in Mr. Norris’ life and probably has no idea who the hell this person he gave the space to is blabbing away. My name is Garrett Collins and I work with Luke at a little site called Binge Media.

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While he handles sports, I handle a lot of the film side of things. My show I host over there, called the Binge Movie Aftertaste, is one of the most fun things I have ever had the pleasure of doing. In addition to doing hosting duties and writing reviews & opinion pieces for the site, I also make movies. My first production, the already mentioned Refuge, has been striding toward the festival circuit. With at least three other projects on the horizon, including a film produced with my podcast hosting partner Jason Morris and starring Lance Henriksen, are all stuck in development hell. The dream of making movies has happened. So why am I not content? Because I felt the need to ignore the things most adults pay dapper attention to in order to chase a dream.

Close human relationships are essential to living. This type of contact is needed for support. I always thought I could get away with not having it, and just chasing the dream. But emotionally, I tend to push away instead of open myself up. Unlike most of my colleagues, I do not have a family or supportive significant other. These are things that I am missing, and my statement of individuality was by ignoring this problem. In doing research for a new project involving suicide cults, I learned the exact way of cutting a vein so that it would leave the cutter to die quick and painlessly. This was supposed to be used for authenticity. Not personal fulfillment.

A job loss can be a detrimental thing. But the fact is that I did not have a family to support and only myself. But word came down that the huge company I had been working for was doing some downsizing. Another personal note: I had filed for bankruptcy the year before. The downhill rolling of boulders would not stop. For two weeks, I applied and was rejected. Sometimes being told by even fast food kitchens that I had not been up to par with at least two other applicants going for the same job. How can someone go from working behind a desk to going to a starving man not able to get one job?

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So why would I go on and on about this? Because I want to tell people feeling the lowest of the low that there is hope. I was feeling selfish. Evidence being once I did finally get a good job, my body rejected it. On the 4th of July, I was getting ready to go to a party when all I can describe as the most violent of stomach pains hit me following a bout with bloody urine. When people say pain hits them like a ton of bricks, I can’t help thinking they have experienced appendicitis. With a stroke of luck I was with someone who could get me to the hospital, and I fathom to think what would have happened if I did not have that luxury. All the signs were there. Even when things were crumbling around me, the lights of hope were just that.

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Thing is, all of this could have been prevented. When someone tells you to ‘grow up,’ usually there is a tough love motive. By ignoring all warnings, my body started rejecting me. My point in writing this article is not to selfishly get my story out there. It is to warn any and all readers out there that if your body or mind talks to you, don’t ignore them. Your body tells you to ‘grow up,’ please listen. And no matter what, you are selfishly negating people of your presence and love if you end it. I have no idea why, but I put that knife away that day. I decided to metaphorically and physically give myself another chance. People around you will talk to you like you love them, and you can take what they say any which way you can. But when your body tells you otherwise, don’t ignore it. All you are doing is making it worse. That knife went away, and my life got back on track. I know yours has just as much hope.

I want to thank Luke a ton for giving me this space to talk to you all. I hope your desecration is not being looked at through rose colored glasses, but also not ignored. Now I have made a residence in Los Angeles and am at a job I know will lead to the dreams I have worked so hard at.  But I have also grown to be unselfish and as for you, I know that if you work at it, it will improve. Thank you.

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The Chicago Cubs and the MLB Postseason

It’s been a busy day of writing for me as I’m still going through a load of options, but I did take time to write a couple of articles for HubPages. I went with a baseball theme today as I tackled the release of the MLB Postseason schedule, which would put Games 5, 6, & 7 of the World Series in November. Not a fan. In this one, you can vote on whether or not you agree with me.

What You Need to Know About the 2015 MLB Postseason. Does It Run Too Late? Vote Now

Just a few moments ago, I finished up a piece about the Chicago Cubs and their postseason aspirations. I ask the question of whether or not they can bypass the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates to win the National League Central. It’s a long shot, but it’s baseball and it’s the Cubs. You never know what could happen. There’s two votes at the end of this one. Check it out below.

Can the Chicago Cubs Win the NL Central? The Schedule Says Maybe. Vote Now

As always, thanks for your continued support. For these articles and others, check out LukeNorris.net and follow me on Twitter @THElukenorris for updates on everything happening in the Luke Norris universe. Until next time.

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Jason Day wins PGA Championship, Jordan Spieth takes over world No. 1 ranking

What a beautiful scene it was yesterday at the PGA Championship as Jason Day finally broke through to win his first major championship. Also part of this historic weekend was Jordan Spieth taking over the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings and Tiger Woods missing yet another cut. Check out the following two articles I’ve written that cover all of these topics. The Tiger article even lets you vote on whether or not he’ll ever win again. You can also follow me on HubPages once you click on either link. Enjoy.

Can Tiger Woods Ever Win Again? Does It Really Matter? Vote Now

Jason Day breaks through, Jordan Spieth takes over No. 1 on a historic Sunday at the PGA Championship

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @THElukenorris. Enjoy.

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A Few Updates

As I mull over my next few options, numbering somewhere in the 150 range, I just wanted to fill you in on a few things. I mean, besides the fact that I’ve got 150 things to look at over the next few days. But in that time, I’ll be throwing up a few articles here and there. I’ve got some football news coming from Binge Sports this week, along with a new Binge SportsCast next Sunday. But just today, I’ve gone ahead and started up on HubPages to put a little extra money in my pocket while I continue to work on some bigger projects. I’ve got some freedom as far as material is concerned, and they’ve got some fun things that I can add to some articles as well. You know how much I like getting my readers involved. With that being said, a few (which means as many as I can get) followers on my page there certainly wouldn’t hurt, so I’m asking for your help. All it takes is clicking HERE to get to the page and clicking “Follow” on the top right-hand side. Yes, it’s that simple. Please and thank you.

For those who don’t know, I’ve also started a second website, LukeNorris.net, which is basically a house for all of my work, including the majority of the posts that come from here, including my last two “Up Close and Personal” pieces, The Rainbow Rant, which discusses my stance on gay marriage, and Go West, Young Man, which takes you on a journey out west as I move my younger brother to Portland. You can also follow that website at the bottom of the home page simply by entering your email address for updates. If you’re more of a Facebook page kind of person, LukeNorris.net has that as well. For all updates, you can simply click HERE and “Like” the page to stay caught up.

As you can see, there’s a lot of ways that you can stay in touch with what’s going on with this new adventure. As always, I thank each and every one of you that continue to support me as I embark on this incredible journey. You’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of me.

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Go West, Young Man

It’s been nearly a year and a half since I embarked on my first journey out west. At the time, I was desperately needing to get away from just about everything. Many things in my life weren’t going as smooth as I would like and knowing that I’d never really been out that way, I decided to see parts of this beautiful country that I’d never seen before. Over the course of about a week, I drove 3,776 miles that took me to Iowa and Nebraska, Denver, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and so many places in between before returning home. Who knew southern Utah was so beautiful? I do now. But I wanted more. It was immediately after that trip that I made it a personal goal to see all fifty states at some point in my life. That trip put me at exactly half. That’s twenty-five for those who are reading this and still can’t figure out common core math yet.

However, this new adventure to the west was not at all like the one I took last year. Last year, as I said, I was looking to just get away and drive with no real purpose. This trip had a very big purpose. My younger brother, Matt, had decided to take the biggest leap of his life and move to Portland to attend law school at Lewis & Clark University. When he finally made his decision, I immediately offered to ride along with him, not just to check off a few more states which was merely an added bonus, but to be there with my brother as he made this life-altering move. He’d been living in Chicago for quite a few years, was looking for a change, and ultimately decided on Portland with Seattle coming in at a distant second. As someone who once moved from central Illinois to central Florida, I could certainly understand the desire and the need to leave home. Sometimes, you just need to try something new. I got it and I’ve been in his corner my entire life, so I certainly wasn’t going to try and change his mind, even though I know that not everybody was on board with this decision, at least not at the start. But I listened to him talk so passionately about wanting to do this, to really finally leave the nest and start his new life. It’s always inspiring to watch somebody, especially somebody you care about so deeply, take charge of his or her life and just go for it, no matter what anybody else thinks. So I got to spend five days with my brother as he transitions to his new life and see more of this beautiful country. Sounds good to me. Let’s ride.

I knew the first leg of the trip wouldn’t be overly exciting, but it’s obviously necessary, so we rolled up I-74 through west central Illinois to I-80 over into Iowa. As you might guess, there’s not a lot to see around here that I haven’t seen before. It’s cornfields and other types of farms for miles and miles and miles, which doesn’t bother me as I’m aware of how necessary it is to the country, but it’s obviously not the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world. Seriously, the biggest attraction once you hit Iowa on I-80 is “The World’s Largest Truckstop”, which is basically a food court from a shopping mall, only a little bigger. Exciting stuff. I’ve driven past it on numerous occasions in the past, but I’d never stopped in. Boy, am I glad we did. Okay, maybe it’s just a very big gas station. But it’s Iowa and it’s not the “Field of Dreams”, so I’d go ahead and skip it unless you actually need gas, which we did. Normally, most people would keep on I-80 going west towards Denver, but we had a different agenda this trip, one of which was to completely avoid driving through Nebraska. Because let’s face it….it’s Nebraska. I’m sure there’s plenty of nice people that live there, but that state is just the worst. So, mission accomplished. As we hit Iowa City, we headed north on I-380N/IA-27N and US-218N towards Minnesota, stopping in Waverly, Iowa for lunch. What an experience that was. It actually wasn’t a bad little town, but the Iowa stereotypes were abundant, including three guys walking around in 95 degree heat in denim overalls with no shirts. Classic. And speaking of classic, that fourth picture you see below is my brother wearing the classic Burger King crown after a quick lunch. And we’re still hoping that the old lady we saw in the parking lot asleep in her car is alive. No, seriously, we weren’t really sure for a few minutes there.

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It was more of the same as we took I-35 North before we hit I-90 West in southern Minnesota. More farms, more windmills, more flat land. As we entered South Dakota that evening, we weren’t sure if we would see much before dark. But then all of a sudden, we came upon a rest stop in Chamberlain, South Dakota, a river town along the Missouri that was absolutely beautiful. And we happened upon it just as the sun was setting. I don’t believe I’ve ever spent that much time at a rest area. It was just so absolutely beautiful. Can’t you tell?

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We stopped for the night in Wall, South Dakota. Our original plan was to get as close as we could to Mount Rushmore that first day, and Wall was less than an hour and a half away from there so we called it a good day. We had started playing the license plate game in Iowa as well. That’s right. Two grown men were staring at license plates and actually writing them down to see how many we could get on our trip. That’s how much there is to see in Iowa. But we had collected quite a few thus far. I’ll share the total with you later, but we had a great first day and after we passed the Missouri River, it was easy to tell, even in the dark, that the scenery we’d get the next day would be a little different than what we’d experienced on day one.

We woke up in Wall and checked out of the hotel to make our way into town to Wall Drug, a roadside attraction that we’d seen signs for for hundreds of miles. We decided to see what the big deal was. Apparently, this place had once been just a lone drugstore in the 30’s, and now it attracts more than two million people every single year. It really is an adorable little spot with restaurants, shops, bars, and more, including a great breakfast buffet that I can personally vouch for. And the Zoltar machine from Big. I’m calling that a win on its own.

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It took a minute to get out of town, and I just took the first right I could to get back to the interstate and I ended up here. Just wanted to throw this out there.

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Another great thing about this trip was the fact that the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was just starting up as we made our way through South Dakota. We saw hundreds upon hundreds of all different types of bikes as we made our way west. It was just an added bonus. And added license plates to boot. Anyway, our main objective on Thursday was to head to Mount Rushmore. Neither of us had ever been, and this was actually the main reason we chose to go this route in the first place. We continued on I-90 West towards Sioux Falls before heading south towards Mount Rushmore, driving through Keystone, which is small but very nice. It was a great little drive between Wall and the monument itself.

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There’s really not much to say about Mount Rushmore, as it really speaks for itself.

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Believe me, I took so many more pictures than what you see above. I tried to get it from as many different angles as I could in the time we allotted ourselves. But then I noticed there was a flag on the stage of the little amphitheater that resides there, so I took a walk down and just looked up, getting this great shot of the American flag and the monument.

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And of course, I made my brother take this ridiculous shot of me as well.

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And there’s always time for a quick beer at Mount Rushmore. South Dakota is “buffalo” everything, so what better beer to drink in the state than a stout called “Buffalo Sweat”, which was quite good. Overall, we were there for about an hour and it was worth every single minute.

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Now, the original plan was to just make our way back to I-90 and get as far as we could that day. The interstate basically wraps itself around the Black Hills National Forest into the state of Wyoming. And much like I felt with Utah last year, who knew that Wyoming would be as beautiful as it was. As we exited into Sundance for a quick rest, we noticed signs for Devil’s Tower, which my brother had heard was very cool, so we veered from the plan and hit the back roads towards the country’s very first national monument. See, you learned something today.

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We hung out there for a little while before getting back on the road to get back to the original plan, which is to drive as many miles as we could into Montana before resting for the night. The beauty of driving west is that each and every night, you’re given a beautiful sunset, and wouldn’t you know it, we happened upon this one at yet another rest area. This one actually had a deck on the back of the building so people can enjoy the view.

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We decided to stop in Billings for the night, but not before stopping off to take this hilarious picture at an abandoned gas station. Does everyone see the irony?

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We knew that Friday was going to be a long day of driving. Montana is just a very big state. Luckily, we were treated to so many great views throughout the day.

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There’s not a lot of big towns in Montana, but Butte is one of them and this is the view coming in. It doesn’t look that big from the interstate until you get closer, but it was a very cool town to see.

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The best part of Montana, however, I don’t even have a picture of. I had a conversation with this biker earlier in the day and we discussed where we had been and where we were going after listening to him talk about his 10,000 mile trip he was returning from. He also wasn’t shy about poking fun at all of the folks heading to Sturgis, explaining that really wasn’t his scene because he wasn’t one to just hang around the Harley-Davidson shop all day. It actually was quite comical, but I digress. He told us that if we were driving through that we needed to stop in Missoula. He told us that was his favorite town in Montana and that we’d enjoy ourselves. And he was exactly right. Missoula, Montana is fantastic. It’s just this little pocket in the western part of the state, and it’s actually home to the University of Montana. But it doesn’t even really feel like a college town. It’s just beautiful. Outside of the views, it’s got some great little breweries and restaurants and everyone we talked to was just so damn nice. If you’re ever out that way, do yourself a favor and check it out. Even my brother remarked that if things didn’t work out in Portland, he was moving to Missoula. Great stuff.

But as much as we wanted to stay and hang out, we needed to put some more miles in, so we jumped back on I-90 for some for fantastic Montana scenery.

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We only caught the panhandle as we entered Idaho, but what we did see was magnificent. There is one spot up there that is unbelievably beautiful. We didn’t take the time to stop, but Coeur d’Alene is definitely on my list of things to do if I ever get back out that way.

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After maybe an hour in Idaho, we made our way into Washington and hit Spokane pretty quick. We noticed a red hue in the sky, and after thinking it wasn’t normal, we soon found out there was a wildfire over the horizon, so that’s the first picture you see below. Spokane is also the home of Gonzaga, which was on my brother’s short list of schools. But after driving through, he’s quite certain there was a reason that he turned them down. I will also say that drivers in the northwest are just awful. There’s little regard for turn signals and safety in general, so we zipped through as quick as we could before happening on yet another beautiful sunset before stopping for the night in Kennewick, Washington, just a few miles before the Oregon border.

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We awoke on Saturday with only just over 200 miles to go before reaching our final destination. It was actually quite exciting to finally see mileage signs for Portland. You could see the excitement on my brother’s face and it was very cool to watch. Add to that the absolutely amazing drive along the Columbia River with Mount Hood in the background and you’ve got one hell of a Saturday morning.

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There’s also a little exit for “The Bridge of the Gods”, which gives you one of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see in your life.

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Once we arrived in Portland, I will admit that I didn’t take any pictures. We went to his new apartment and got his lease signed, his things moved in, and met some of his new neighbors. We took a walk around his beautiful neighborhood and down a few blocks to check some things out before heading to the store to pick up a few things he’d need the first couple of days. But that night, we’d already decided that we were heading to the Pacific Ocean. I’d actually never set foot in it, so it was actually quite exciting for me. I’ve always been a water kind of guy and the sound of waves crashing is one of my favorite sounds in the entire world, perhaps only second to the sound of my children laughing. It was another 90 minutes each way in the car, but as you can see from the pictures below at Cannon Beach, it was worth the extra miles. We ate dinner at a great little bar and watched the sunset before heading back. And if you’re wondering why we just didn’t find a place there on the beach, believe me, we tried.

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We spent Saturday night at his place after numerous failed attempts to secure a decent hotel, but apparently Portland was booked solid. Out of the 224 options we were given, there were three available, none of which had a room under $400. Now, I like a good night’s sleep, but it was almost midnight on the west coast, so it felt like 2 a.m. to me. I knew that one night on the floor of my brother’s apartment wouldn’t hurt. And it actually was a really good night of sleep. Exhaustion was catching up to the both of us.

But I still had one more day there and we certainly weren’t going to waste it. We spent that Sunday taking a tour of the area. After walking down to get some coffee, we went for a drive around town, hitting each and every corner of Portland, which is just booming right now with growth, maybe even a little too much for the locals. We drove through this wonderful park, which was absolutely huge, but full of picturesque gardens, playgrounds, and views. We had lunch downtown where more than sixty food carts are lined up each and every day. And of course, we had to go to Target to pick up a few more essentials. We then made our way to the law school itself, which is tucked into a forest, making for a very quiet learning environment. We stayed there for about an hour walking around the law school and the undergraduate campus as well before heading back for our final evening.

We made our way back to Kells, a great Irish pub that we had actually hit up on Saturday night when we returned from the ocean. Sure, we had other options but we had liked it so much, we decided just to go back. The food is fantastic. The drinks are reasonably priced and they make a few of their own beers on site, which are very tasty. Yes, I could have taken pictures of all the things that we did in Portland, but I just wanted to be there with my brother as he explored his new home. I know I said it before, but just to watch his face fill with excitement as we drove around Portland and the surrounding areas was priceless. He would comment constantly that “I’m only an hour from this” or “I could go there and read”. After all these years, I truly believe this is where he’s supposed to be. He’s had to deal with so many things in his life just to be who he is. He’s had to face obstacles that I’ve never had to. But I can honestly say that I’ve never seen him look so comfortable in his own skin. He knows what he’s there to do. He’s there to start fresh. He’s there to live a new life. Sure, it may be a little more difficult to see him as often, but this is something that he needed to do. I’ve always been in my brother’s corner. No. Matter. What. That’s the way it is when you truly love somebody.

As he dropped me at the airport late Sunday night, we tried not to draw it out too much. We had five days to say the things that needed to be said and I’m quite certain we said them all. As we hugged it out, I simply told him to stay focused and that he was going to do great. I didn’t need to lecture him. He knows what he has to do. And I have no doubt that he’s going to do it. As I watched him drive away, I couldn’t help but get a little emotional. As a lone tear started to form, I knew it wasn’t because I was sad. It was because I’ve never been happier for him. And although it’s something I felt every single day since he was born, I’ve never been more proud that Matt is my brother.

As for me, I took the red-eye from Portland to Chicago, arriving back in Illinois on Monday morning at 6:26 a.m. I took the train into the city and walked about a mile to my sister’s house, where my mother had spent Sunday and was waiting for me. I spent a little time hanging out with my nephews before getting back in the car for yet another three hours back home. Over the course of five days, I had traveled nearly 5,000 miles via plane, train, and automobile. I had seen forty-four out of fifty state license plates. See, I didn’t forget to throw that in there. I think it’s actually quite impressive, and we also saw D.C. and four different Canadian provinces as well. I had taken my state total to 31, so there will certainly be more trips to cover the rest. But it was time to go home. Unfortunately, I have to deal with five-day stretches without seeing my daughters every two weeks, but this one seemed longer. It was amazing to be able to witness my brother start a new life, but I know that he’s going to be okay, so it was time to get back to mine.

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The Rainbow Rant

“No longer may this liberty be denied. No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.”

These are the words of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, one of five on the Supreme Court of the United States who voted to make same-sex marriage a legal right in all fifty states. Uh oh! The queers won. Life is over. I’m leaving this country. I’m going to set myself on fire. There’s rainbows all over the internet and I can’t make it stop. This isn’t natural. God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. The Bible tells us this is wrong. This is some of what I’ve been seeing today, and it really isn’t making me upset. It’s making me laugh.

It seems that everyone has an opinion on the monumental decision that came down yesterday, so allow me to give you mine. Here’s the biggest argument that I’m seeing.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Well, I guess that settles that. The gays are evil and the things they do are an abomination. Well, damn, how in the hell am I supposed to create an argument against that. You’re a Christian. The Bible is law. You abide by every single thing that it says, right? I mean, that’s the only way to be a “real” Christian, correct?

Well, there’s one that isn’t loving thy neighbor. But that one is just too easy, don’t you think? I could go with Matthew here and give you the “judge not, or you too will be judged”, but according to those who believe in that sort of thing, there will be a judgment day for all of us, so I’ll let that one go as well. Damn, I just keep coming back to Galatians 5:14, which tells us “For the whole law is fullfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself”, which is obviously a play on the whole “love thy neighbor” thing again, just worded differently, so maybe that actually is kind of a big deal. I don’t recall ever reading “love thy neighbor, as long as he/she looks and acts like you” or “love your neighbor as yourself, but only if he/she believes in every single thing that you believe”. Maybe I just didn’t take the time to keep reading. The Bible’s really long, you know.

But I did get to this one: “You may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.”–Leviticus 25:44-45–“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.”–Ephesians 6:5

Well, I suppose I could always use some extra help around the house, and I don’t really have the extra money to hire somebody, so this one actually does make me quite happy. I’ll just find the nearest foreigner, make a cheap bid, and hope everything works out for me. I mean, the Bible just told me that it’s okay. Oh, that you’ve got a problem with. Okay, I’ll try again.

2 Kings 2:23-24–“From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. ‘Go up baldhead’, they shouted, ‘Go up baldhead!’ The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the children to pieces.”

Yikes…I’m all for the whole anti-bully campaigns out there, but that’s taking it a little too far, don’t you think?

“If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl because she did not cry out in the city…”–I’m just going to go ahead and stop there because it actually gets worse as it goes on. But are you telling me it’s justifiable to stone a girl who gets raped? Well, shit, how many hits do you think that would get on YouTube? Oh, you’ve got a problem with that too? Damn.

Do you eat shellfish? Do you eat pork? Do you wear clothing woven of two kinds of material? No, seriously, that’s in there. So is “ye shall not round the corners of your heads”. And for God’s sake, don’t ever harm the edges of your beard you monster. And for you women reading this, I better never hear you talk inside of a church. Ever. No tattoos. No premarital sex. No remarriage. The list goes on and on and on, with one of my favorites being that the Bible actually talks about unicorns, and not as a mythical creature.

Don’t I just sound ridiculous? Well, maybe that’s how I think you sound when you’re bashing the gay guy down the block, who has only ever wanted the same rights that I, a straight white guy, have been afforded my entire life. A man whose only wish is to walk down an aisle and marry a man that he loves and loves him in return. But the response to that is usually my favorite argument: it’s not natural. Really, it’s not natural? That’s the best you can do. If you’re out there with a picket sign that says that or anything similar to that, I hope you’re not wearing prescription glasses or contacts. That’s not your natural sight, is it? And I beg you to walk up to a veteran and tell him/her that the prosthetic limb that they need to walk is wrong. Wouldn’t that be a case of something not being “natural”? Tell me how that conversation goes. Create that meme and throw it up on your Facebook page. Just send me the comments section when you do.

Okay, maybe I went a little too far. Maybe I’m reaching. I probably sound a little ridiculous. Or maybe that’s how I think certain people sound when they oppose something like same-sex marriage. Honestly, I have zero problem with Christians. You have the right to believe in what you want to believe in. That’s one of the beauties of living in this great country. It’s when people choose to hate something that they don’t agree with or believe in because it doesn’t match their personal belief system. That doesn’t make you a Christian. That makes you a bigot. And just to create a level playing field, I’m certain that not every gay person believes in God or Christianity. I’ve witnessed bigotry and seen insults thrown from that side as well, so don’t take this as an attack on religion or the Bible. That’s not what this is. So what is this about?

This is about equality. Seriously, why do you care if two gay people want to get married? How is it affecting your life at all? I got married ten years ago. I got divorced two years ago. That’s a sin. Where was the backlash on me? I’m a divorced father of two daughters that were created through IVF. I smoke. I drink. I have tattoos. I ate a pound of bacon a few days ago. I have sex out of wedlock. I curse. I’ve got a poly-cotton blended shirt, and I love it. And guess what? I’ve got people, Christians even, who love me and respect me as a person, and they should. I’m a damn good father who respects other people, their belief system, and I damn sure love people, whether they be gay or straight. So if you want to go after somebody, come after me. And just to fill you in, gay people are actually people too, you know. They’re not the abomination you think they are. Could be worse, right? They could only be three-fifths of a person like that nigger down the street. Ooooo…..did you just wince a little bit? Now pretend that I actually thought like that and posted shit like that all over the internet. You’d crucify me, and deservedly so. And just to save the hate mail, I know I’m not supposed to use that word and I don’t. But now you know how some of these comments and posts come off. This is the level of ignorance and hatred that some people bring to the conversation.

I hear questions like “what is this country coming to” when talking about this topic and I seriously have to laugh at it. Gay marriage isn’t the problem. Two people want to spend their life together and give matrimony a shot. Should it matter if it’s two men or two women? “But that’s not the definition of marriage. It’s supposed to be a man and a woman.” Really? Millions of Christians have gotten married, given their vows with “til death do us part” and all the rest, and gotten divorced. Hasn’t the definition of marriage these days already changed?

So where does this leave us? To me, things are the same as they’ve always been. The only difference is that now I can stand up as the best man at my brother’s wedding if he ever decides to get married, which makes me happy to no end. Oh, I didn’t mention that. I suppose that when I think about my brother, I don’t think of him as my gay brother. He’s just my brother, and if and when he ever deems someone worthy of marrying him, I’ll be right beside him, just like I’ve always been.

As many of you read this, I know there’s a lot of you who are disagreeing with me, and that’s okay. Believe it or not, that’s actually been the point this entire time. It’s okay for people to believe in different things. Again, that’s the beauty of where we get to live. My problem isn’t religion. My problem isn’t people practicing religion. My problem isn’t anything like that. My problem is people hiding behind religion to avoid an actual discussion. My problem is people picking and choosing parts of religion that benefit their side of an argument while completely ignoring other aspects when it doesn’t help them. My problem is “Christians” that preach the Bible and hate others. My problem is hate period, religious or otherwise. My problem is with those who won’t listen to any argument that conflicts with their belief system. What are you so afraid of? Are you afraid of letting others be happy when you’re miserable? Are you stuck in a marriage that you hate, and don’t want to see the two faggots across the street happier than you? Yeah, that’s what you sound like. When are we going to stop this? I don’t really care if you support same-sex marriage or not. Just stop being an asshole about it.

You know what doesn’t stop? Change. Change is happening. Change is here. Folks, it’s 2015. Evolution is a part of life. The question is: are you coming along for the ride?

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below or follow me on Twitter @THElukenorris. You can also find this article on the all-new LukeNorris.net. And don’t forget to find and like the LukeNorris.net page on Facebook. #LoveWins