Ron Parrish, professor at George Fox University (1989-2010), writes:

Aloha! This is an honor to share with you either in joy or agony or coming up for air in our struggle with our identity. Thanks to Paul Southwick and a Newberg pastor, I became aware of OneGeorgeFox and Common Ground and attended the meeting on March 14, 2012, Wow! It was just great and mostly in its timing for me in my journey. So, what about my journey? I was born and reared with an older sister and younger brother in Oregon. My father was a pastor in The Christian Church and my mother, an excellent Administrative Assistant and Pianist. I took care of my mother and father for 25 years and remained silent during those years about my identity.

My early moments with my mother and father were: “All homosexuals should be taken out and shot! (Dad) and “Don’t touch girls!” (Mom) so from that I went to Northwest Christian University in Eugene, then to Lewis and Clark College and finally to the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Along the way I taught English as a Second Language (ESL) from 1974 when I was in the Peace Corps in Bangkok, Thailand. There is where I first came to look at myself and my identity. I came out to my brother and sister by tape. I never came out to my father. My mother played “Whistler’s Mother” (the shadow in the window) and was reading my Playgirls and diaries. She ordered me out of the house but changed her stance to “Don’t ever say anything to your father!” and that was the last time my mother and I spoke of it. Even so, my mother was my best friend and I took care of her with joy and honor until her death in 2007.

During my years as a teacher at George Fox University (1989-2010) in the English Language Institute, I worked with international students in drama and musicals and also as a speech teacher. Silence is the key to being a faculty member at George Fox so that is what I did. It was not until the gathering organized by Paul and Common Ground that I felt secure enough to send many friends, family members and colleagues an invitation to the meeting on March 14. One friend responded! My sister is mostly affirming; my brother and his wife are not; one of my nephews is not and the other has become more open due to his being a professional counselor.

So, here I am at 72, going on 73 May 1 and on April 26 Equality Riders are coming to George Fox University as an early birthday present! Yes, live with our Lord in the Present! Peace be with you! I am there for you all as I can be of help and encouragement. A hui hou (until we meet again).

Have an alumni perspective that you would like to share?  Email us at contact@onegeorgefox.org

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