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13 comments | Wednesday, February 04, 2009




You may remember a post titled "Being Gay Is A Gift From God" that was inspired by an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that appeared on this blog a few weeks ago. Like Oprah's message board, the debate in the comment section of this post became pretty intense. One particular comment stood out to me from a 43 year old reader named Clientel. I also mention his comment here. Clientel believes his sexual orientation is "his cross to bear" and has accepted what he calls a "lonely and hurtful existence" as God's will for his life. I've been where Clientel is on his spiritual journey and my heart immediately ached for him.


I get e-mails all the time from gay men who ares struggling to reconcile their sexuality with their faith as well as people who desire to challenge my understanding of scripture regarding homosexuality. I've always declined to participate in theological debates because I find it emotionally draining and often times pointless, not to mention I've never been formally trained in theology.


Enter my friend and today's guest blogger Pastor Troy Sanders. He has been formally trained and is one of the most dynamic ministers that I've ever encountered. Pastor Sanders has written a response to Clientel and to anyone struggling to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. Get into it below and feel free to let the comments flow.


Brought Back By A Love I Still Can't Fathom!
Guest Blogger: Pastor Troy Sanders


Brother Clientel,

It hasn’t been that long ago that I too remember being in that place (and on that same journey) you described regarding reconciling one’s spirituality (faith in Jesus Christ) and one’s sexuality (living my life as an openly black gay preacher). Being raised in the church as long as I can remember, I started preaching at the age of 12. While on the journey to loving God (or so I thought), I actually found out that I was hating myself even more.While there is a very tangible temptation to have this discussion from the lenses of theological interpretation of Scripture alongside the falsities that time, culture, society, and oppressive religious paradigms place on us,I will resist that notion (as best I can ~ I can’t guarantee it though) and
speak from my heart.


I must begin, however, by saying as far back as the Roman Emperor Constantine and his dangerous, deadly, and often times down right disastrous conquest to control people through faith (and further back for other faith traditions), people have misrepresented the message of Jesus Christ to support oppression in all forms: namely the subjugation of women, the abuse
of children, slavery, and certainly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people. However, one cannot encounter the ministry of Jesus Christ without seeing that Christ has always stood on the side of the oppressed and the
marginalized.


We should also remember, that it wasn’t very long ago in our African American History (shouting out to those powerful men and women who laid the foundation for us to even have this dialogue) that “white slave masters” used the words of Paul and biblical text like (Colossians 3:22) that literally endorsed slavery, not to mention that in many Christian churches 20 years ago, women couldn’t preach as a result of passages like (1 Timothy 2:12) and women in church/ministry today are still suffering from the misogynistic after affects of biblical patriarchy. However, it always amazes me that we (especially black folks) didn’t need permission to reinterpret “slave narrative” biblical texts in light of culture and society. However, we remain enslaved when it comes to homophobia in thechurch. (I told you I would try ~ lol).


Notwithstanding all that, it grieves my heart that like you, I almost gave up on ministry and God because of what church folks told me about a Christ who called me into a loving relationship with him. You see, when all else fails lets ask the hard questions people:


1. Does God hate me because I’m Black, a bit on the thick side (lol), or bald headed? Of course not!!! Why then would we think that God would call us to deny the beauty of who we are and what God made us. Equally noting that those who hold the premise that homosexuality is a “learned behavior” or even “a choice” have limited knowledge about how same gender sexuality demonstrates itself not just in humans but also in the animal kingdom. Is heterosexuality a “learned behavior”? I wonder how many heterosexuals choose to love they way they do?


2. Would God hear your earnest petitions to be different and not answer you if it was His will? You see like my brother, I remember praying for deliverance, seeking therapy, going on fasts, even having what I thought was the “devil casted out of me” in response to my inability to embrace the truth that the object of my sexuality/affectional attraction was of the same gender. It wasn’t until I had to face the beautiful (but then quite painful) reality that the failure wasn’t in God or God’s ability to help me it was in the faultiness of my request. I was asking for something that stemmed from “self hatred” and “religious misunderstandings”. I was asking God to repent for making me the attractive, intelligent, beautiful gay brother God had made me.


How then did I move from that place to this place of affirmation and faith in Jesus Christ. First, no preacher, deacon, church, denomination, or dictator has the right to judge your relationship with God and how that plays out. Take Your Power Back! Secondly, everything people say God says isn’t really true (especially in a day and age where we hear God said marry this one, or wear this color). Christ calls believers to walk in love and do justice for all those that are oppressed. Don’t Believe The Hype!


Lastly, find you a support system that first loves themselves, God’s people, and are liberated from the religious bondage that we have been subjugated to. There are believers (Christians) who live everyday in the light and love God with all their hearts. Feel free to email me and I can connect you with churches and people all over the country and across all denominational lines that can speak this truth to you. Get Free My Brother! Not from who you are and what you feel, but from who you’re not.


In conclusion, I admonish you and others (like those millions of preachers, teachers, prophets, evangelist, pastors, leaders, choir members, singers, musicians, etc who speak a truth by day that they have yet to live by night) to resist the notion to be inauthentic in the house of God. If there is anything God calls us to walk in it would first be TRUTH!.


Loving The God That Loves You & Fearfully Made You ,
Pastor Troy Sanders, M.A.C.M, M.Div.


Pastor Troy Sanders received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Beulah Heights Bible College and a dual Master's of Divinity and Masters of Art degree at the Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta, GA). He is on the ministerial staff at Victory for the World Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He can be reached at pastortroy@preach2me.com

13 Comments:

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Thank you Pastor Troy, that was an excellent response to Clientel, i hope it helps him to get to a better place in his life

February 04, 2009 3:01 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Love it!

February 04, 2009 9:39 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

For those of you who are sick and tired of religion and/or so-called spirituality, you can research atheism (the doctrine that there is no deity/god) and/or agnosticism (the view that whether god does or does not exist is unknowable).

Mnay people can't face the possibility/probablity that this life is all there is and that when you die, you're dead forever.

February 06, 2009 9:35 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have to say NO one needs a theology degree to understand the bible or hear from God. After all that "theological circle babble" from Pastor Sanders, it still doesn't make sense or fit the bible anyhow.

February 06, 2009 10:05 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Anonymous I'm sure you meant to say Pastor Sander's words doesn't fit your narrow minded view of scripture.

February 06, 2009 12:22 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

A Reply to Pastor Troy

Wow, first let me say that I have Degree in anything, so at first blush I was a nervous about how I

would answer this open letter. I know that gay men and women come to this site and I hope my words won’t

drive them away from God, His Glory and His Grace. I will answer with the mind of one who is in the

throws of the struggle between God and being gay.

While I will answer these questions to the best of my ability, a practicing gay Pastor puts this debate

in a different realm for me. It bothers me that a man who is supposed to lead the flock towards God is

in fact leading the flock away from God’s truths. And a man who holds two Degree’s at that? I would

remind you brothers and sisters who truly believe in God and His Word of another one of God’s

admonitions:

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ

unto another gospel: 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the

gospel of Christ. 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that

which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any

man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

And

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to

destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the

way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come

to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their

fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth

good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 7:20 Wherefore by

their fruits ye shall know them. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the

kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me

in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and

in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart

from me, ye that work iniquity.


Here is my response:

“While there is a very tangible temptation to have this discussion from the lenses of theological

interpretation of Scripture alongside the falsities that time, culture, society, and oppressive

religious paradigms place on us, I will resist that notion”

I believe that is the first and most glaring mistake. I believe that the Bible is God’s Word. It is the

blueprint that He left for us to live by and that allows us to see how he interacted with his chosen

people in the past, as well as what he expect from us and what we can expect from Him in the future. By

taking Scripture out of the equation, we fall back to the opinion of sinners of which we ALL are. How

can anything be wrong or right when the paradigm is continually moving and is at the behest of

humanities sinful mind? I can ONLY argue from the point of the Word of God because that is all that

matters in this debate. Not me, but God. Not my opinion, but God’s opinion.

Furthermore, the debate about Homosexuality is more that a “religious paradigm” it is about an edict

from God.

“People have misrepresented the message of Jesus Christ to support oppression in all forms: namely the

subjugation of women, the abuse of children, slavery, and certainly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and

Transgender people. However, one cannot encounter the ministry of Jesus Christ without seeing that

Christ has always stood on the side of the oppressed and the marginalized.”

The desire to compare the path of Slavery with Homosexuality fails completely in a debate where God and

His Word are center stage. Slavery was and is an attempt by sinful man to control, manipulate, and

oppress a people. But make no mistake that it comes from sinful man. Those of us who believe in God are

surely not only holding God to a higher standard but in fact believe that He is on such a high standard

that we will NEVER reach. He also, through His Word has set the standard that we are to live by. He is

Perfect, all knowing and makes no mistakes….NONE! So His edict against homosexuality can’t be a mistake

while slavery comes from the mind of sinful man. So the entire argument of comparing the two fails. Now

the prejudice that the descendants of Slavery and Homosexuality have faced are similar. (That I would

agree) but God declared Homosexuality wrong, Man declared Slavery right and then wrong. It truly is

apples and oranges. You can compare the prejudice but those are two completely different issues.

Secondly,
“Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice,

as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:”

Whether the term “servants” equates with “slaves” I don’t know. I have no Degree in theology so I can’t

make that argument but it doesn’t matter because even if one could prove in the Bible that God condoned

slavery, then you would have to question God’s choices or your choices in following that God. That

wouldn’t give you the right to reinterpret His Word. It should implore you to look hard as to whether

you want to serve that type of God.

“not to mention that in many Christian churches 20 years ago, women couldn’t preach as a result of

passages like (1 Timothy 2:12)”

I still don’t believe women should be pastors. Just because there are many females preaching today

doesn’t make it anymore acceptable in God’s eyes than homosexuality is. The Bible says both are wrong

and I wouldn’t belong to a church that a woman is preaching in just as I wouldn’t belong to a church

where a practicing homosexual was preaching at. You and many others seem to think that as time goes on,

the Bible needs to be updated to the changing times which present a “Gospel of Fluidity”. That is a

gospel that is up for change every time a new era or thought becomes popular and that is the probably

one of the great sins of these last days. Everything that God has said is unacceptable can be changed

and deemed antiquated which implies that God couldn’t look down the corridors of time and know what was

coming so he needed man to update his Words. One imagines God sitting on his throne with baited breathe

hoping man will re-edit His Word each century to ensure that the loudest voices can have their way. That

is a pretty weak God who couldn’t leave a blueprint that spoke to the beginning and the end times

effectively. This would mean that God is NOT omniscient.

“I almost gave up on ministry and God because of what church folks told me about a Christ who called me

into a loving relationship with him”

With all due respect, you did give up on God. You exchanged his truths for a lie so that you could live

comfortably in that sin. You who has a “Bachelor of Arts degree from Beulah Heights Bible College & a

dual Master's of Divinity & Masters of Art degree at the Interdenominational Theological Center” yet

feels that the Bible should change on the whims of sinful man and his exploits? When you break it down

to its simplest form that is the basis of your argument; times have changed so the interpretation of the

Bible must change.

1. “Why then would we think that God would call us to deny the beauty of who we are and what God made

us. Equally noting that those who hold the premise that homosexuality is a “learned behavior” or even “a

choice” have limited knowledge about how same gender sexuality demonstrates itself not just in humans

but also in the animal kingdom.”

God doesn’t call on us to deny the beauty of who we are but He also doesn’t condone everything we do. I

agree with you that homosexuality is NOT a learned behaviour. I neither asked for it, nor chose it. (And

yes I know and have seen animals of the same sex “interact” to put it nicely) but that doesn’t mean that

He doesn’t expect us to choose Him over our own sinful ways whether learned or not. The difference

between man and animals is we have free-will. We have the ability to reason and make informed choices.

And we will be judged by God by the choices we make.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. Would God hear your earnest petitions to be different and not answer you if it was His will?

I believe that He would. I believe God allows us to go through certain things as a way of building

character. That’s what the story of Job was all about. My struggles of being alone are surely nowhere

near that level of struggle. We as Christians will go through trials and tribulations. The book of James

says; “1:2 my brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 1:3 Knowing this, that

the trying of your faith worketh patience.”

God uses these trials in our lives to build character.

The Book of Romans says; “5:3 and not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that

tribulation worketh patience; 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5:5 And hope maketh

not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto

us.”

As a matter of fact, the New Testament is littered with statements of “If ye endure” and “after ye have

endured or overcome”. So yes He might allow me to suffer if the outcome is in accordance with His plan.

I believe that the point of this earth was to teach God’s chosen to appreciate who He is and what He

had done for us. The story of Satan in a nutshell was that of an Angel who got so emboldened by His

wisdom and beauty that he began to think he was equal to God.
“Ezekiel 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason

of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold

thee.”

So I believe when God decided to create the earth and carve out a new people for himself, that he

decided to show them before hand what life would be like living outside of the will of God. He’s

allowing us see that left to our own devices that man would fail, fail more and fail again. But, those

who do make it to glory in the end will all the more appreciate the Grace of God because they will be

able to look back and see how life was without God. To see how life was when we live according to our

own sinful ways. Satan had no model to look back on to tell show him his eventual outcome. We do! God

allows suffering in and around us to shape us so we don’t become highminded like Satan.

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that

I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 9:18

Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 9:19 Thou wilt say

then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art

thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me

thus? 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and

another unto dishonour? 9:22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known,

endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 9:23 And that he might make

known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Let’s look at the Apostle Paul, while being castigated for preaching God’s Word;
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations,

there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be

exalted above measure. 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in

distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

I will admit that I have asked God since my teenage years to remove these feelings for me. And have been

angry with God at times for not removing them. The fact that He hasn’t tells me that His grace is going

to have to be sufficient for me.

“no preacher, deacon, church, denomination, or dictator has the right to judge your relationship with

God and how that plays out. Take Your Power Back! Secondly, everything people say God says isn’t really

true”

I agree, no preacher, deacon, church, denomination, or dictator has the right to judge anyone on their

relationship with God. But for me, my relationship with God is based on His Word (The Bible) and my

belief that the Bible is the Inspired, Inerrant Word of God. That is the basis of my love for God

because apart from the Bible I would have no knowledge of who He was, and what He expects from me. And

in believing in that Bible I don’t want to change, re-edit, reinterpret, upgrade or challenge anything

in there.

THE BIBLE HAS TO BE THE FINAL COURT IN ARBITRATION OF ANY BIBLICAL DISPUTE!

It’s not about slavery vs. homosexuality, not about bigots or bisexuality, it not about prejudiced black

ministers that stand in pulpits using hate speech and calling us a sissy all the while using the Word of

God as a sword to cover their disdain for homosexuals. It’s not about Jerry Falwell, James Dobson or any

religious leader. Its not about Pastor Troy, Darian or Clientel.

IT’S ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD ALONE AND WHETHER YOU TRULY BELIEVE IT IS HIS WORD!

And the question still remains, if you call yourself a Christian how can you seek to change the meaning

of God’s Word. And if you can’t agree with God’s Word which is your right by way of freewill, why are

you a Christian?

My suggestion to Pastor Troy, Darian, myself and to anyone else reading this reply is to get into the

Word of God and get the Word of God into you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Let the

Teaching of the Holy Spirit be the answer and not man, because man’s opinions are just that…man’s

opinion. But God will show you His truth if you open yourself to it. Just read His Word and pray for Him

to show you his truth. Don’t try to read into the Bible what you want it to say. Try to get out of the

Bible what God intended to say.

Pastor Troy, I see the kindness of your words through your post but I am put off by a man that presents

himself as a pastor and teaches things that are antithetical to the true Word of God. Your title

“pastor” means you are, or at some point will be leading a flock, presumably God’s flock? You will be

judged by where you lead them. I pray that God shows you the truth brother, because with all you

Biblical Academia, your biblical conclusions are not simply faulty but dangerous to the eternal souls of

our gay brothers and sisters.

Let God be True and Every Man A Liar!

Sincerely,
Clientel

THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD NOT MAN’S!

THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORDS FOR MAN

2 Tim. - 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,

for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly

furnished unto all good works.

2 Pet. 1:21- For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men
of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 3:18- But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His
prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

Rom. 15:4- For whatever things were written before were written for
our learning, that we through the patience & comfort of the
Scriptures might have hope.

1 Cor. 2:4&5- And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive
words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit & of power
that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of
God.

1 Cor. 2:13- These things we also speak, not in words which man's
wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual
things with spiritual.

1 Cor 14:37- If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual let
him acknowledge that the things I write to you are the commandments
of the Lord.

Gal. 1:11&12- But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which
was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it
from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of
Jesus Christ.

1 Thess. 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of

God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,

which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

1 Pet. 1:11&12- searching what or what manner of time, the Spirit of
Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand
the sufferings of Christ & the glories that would follow. To them it
was revealed that not to themselves, but to us they were ministering
the things which have now been reported to you through those who have
preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-
things which angels desire to look into.

February 06, 2009 1:44 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow Clientel you just don't seem to get it brother. I really do feel for you and wish you nothing but the best on your life journey. Thanks Darian for allowing Pastor Troy to post on your site. His words were a blessing to me and a welcome change from what I usually hear from black ministers. Please don't ever stop writing.

February 06, 2009 3:14 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

@Clientel: What do you feel you have gained from being celibate all this time? What do you feel you've lost?

February 08, 2009 8:28 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I don't think of it as gained or lost. I think of it as trying to live within the Will of God. Prayerfully, I will gain the kingdom when God establishes it. That is the hope of every Christian. It is simply about following the ideals that my Lord and Saviour established for me to live by. If I didn't believe in God, I would have a man right NOW!

But I believe in God and his Word of God (The Bible). That's All!

February 11, 2009 3:02 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Clientel,
Don't even try. I appreciate your thoroughness on the subject, but in the end it is a lost cause simply because you cannot fit a square peg into a round hole.
I people are determined to let their feelings drive the interpretation of the Bible and the way they live their lives; there is nothing you can do to stop them.

I am of the firm opinion that to look at the Bible and try to extract support for same-sex relationships is to butcher the Bible.

It simply does not work.

Honestly, people who believe that same-sex relationships are just as valid as opposite-sex relationships should simply abandon formal Christianity.

What is wrong with that?

You certainly do not have to be a Christian to be spiritual or believe in God.
Also believing that same-sex relationships are on the same moral footing as opposite-sex ones is a very, very reasonable position to hold. You don't have to feel bad about holding that belief.

But to say that Christianity is compatible with that belief is an innovation of epic proportions.

So that leaves us with a choice. Isn't life about choices?

Anyways, good on you Clientel. Do not outsource your theology to people who hold themselves up as experts and tell you what you want to hear. You have to give account for the way you live your own life--every one of us does--and on judgment day, when we have to give account for our actions; Pastor Sanders will not be able to speak for you.

February 12, 2009 5:37 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Anonymous said...
Wow Clientel you just don't seem to get it brother. I really do feel for you and wish you nothing but the best on your life journey. Thanks Darian for allowing Pastor Troy to post on your site. His words were a blessing to me and a welcome change from what I usually hear from black ministers. Please don't ever stop writing.

February 06, 2009 3:14 PM
---------------------------

Maybe he got it but did not agree with it?

February 12, 2009 5:39 PM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have only just learned of you - I saw you on Anderson Cooper - and I have to do a lot of research to know if I would follow you or not - But -- All that aside - I felt I needed to let you know you were great!!! I am sure you fully understand the reason behind the response from Haggard, but still, wanted to express support. \

I consider myself a recovering Catholic. With the many negative experiences I have had with the church, when I see someone who seems to represent the heartfelt and positively driven message that it seems from historical record Jesus was actually trying to get across, it gives me a little bit of hope again. I don't know how hypocrisy came to overwhelm the messages - or why those who supposedly have comes to terms with themselves will still be so defensive and therefore deflective in their words, - but -

long story medium - You rock!

September 24, 2010 4:19 AM

 
<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

So, how I can get in touch with Pastor Troy? Im in Sydney, Australia

November 06, 2014 9:15 PM

 

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