About TMZ

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No, not that TMZ. I’m the other one.

I may not be as fascinating as those guys camping outside Lindsay Lohan’s dad’s former girlfriend’s house, but let me introduce myself nonetheless.

I’m a twenty-something writer, struggler, and wanderer named Thomas Mark Zuniga — or “TMZ,” if you will.

Or if you won’t, “Tom” works too; that’s what most people call me anyway.

I grew up outside Philadelphia with a phenomenal family and faith. Life and Jesus seemed perfect until I moved to Georgia at 12.

That’s when I first learned life and Jesus were kinda messy.

Throughout middle school, high school, and even college, I endured bullying and isolation. Even after graduating from the University of Georgia, I often despaired over where my life was going. A year removed from academia, I gambled on a life-altering cross-country move to southern California despite never having trod anywhere west of the Mississippi.

My four years on the west coast have changed my life. I’ve climbed out of introverted isolation and fully embraced passions for writing and youth involvement.

I’ve tutored kids of all ages and have worked at two stupendous summer camps in Wisconsin and North Carolina. I’ve started this blog, and I’ve even written a book about my struggle-laden journey.

I’m certain it won’t be my last.

I recently finished a nine-month cross-continent road trip. I called it #RunningTo, and it was the journey of a lifetime. For the moment I now call Charlotte, North Carolina home.

For more on my web space, check out my blog-in-six-words intro page. And feel free to contact me via your favorite avenue. I love hearing from readers more than little else.

It’s lonely but lovely out there; won’t you wander with me?

 

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  • Found your blog while perusing the web for competent articles on tonight’s election. Love your style! 😉

    • TMZ

      Appreciate it! I hope you’ll continue perusing here with me. 🙂

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  • Dare

    Tom, ‘Traveling Trout’, just stumbled upon your blog while researching the end of Exodus International. Ever done the MBTI (Myers-Briggs), a popular personality indicator? Cuz you sure seem like an INFP to me, which I share. We’re worlds apart—I’m a 53-year old (as of yesterday) psychologist living near Montreal, Quebec, married with two sons, 10 and 12—but we share in the “struggle”, and perhaps in other areas. Would love to begin a dialogue with you if you’re open to this. (I also sent a friend request to FB). For more about me, see my professional website: http://www.drjohnson.ca. As you explore and wander, remember what JRR Tolkein said: “Not all those who wander are lost”.

    • TMZ

      Darrell, appreciate your comment and friend request! I hope my story can bless you. I’ve never taken Myers-Briggs, so I don’t know about all the other letters, but I’m most definitely an “I.” That Tolkien quote is one of my favorites. Such a motto for my life!

      I’ll be checking out your blog; I hope you’ll continue journeying with me as well!

      • Dare

        Yeah, reading what you have to say, I’d peg you as an ‘I’ for sure, lol! You haven’t done the MBTI; let me offer you an instrument I developed that should produce a similar result, my Psychological Type Indicator: http://www.drjohnson.ca/typesorter.pdf Let me know what you end up with—and once again, my guess is INFP! Thanks for accepting me on FB, and just let me know where you’d like to continue our correspondence, Tom: here, FB, or email. (Mine is dj@drjohnson.ca).
        So you’re a runner as well, eh? Running has always been my best therapy. Ran 17km yesterday to celebrate turning 53. And my first marathon was at age 24. (Now I’ve run seven of ’em).

        • TMZ

          Email works great for me! My address is tmz[at]thomasmarkzuniga[dot]com

          And yes, running = total therapy. I’m with you on that one.

  • Patrick

    Hey Tom is Patrick from last year of camp asking if you are going to camp this year

    • TMZ

      Patrick! Hey! Unfortunately, Ridgecrest didn’t figure into my plans this summer. Super bummed about it, but enjoying some exciting new adventures here in California. I hope you have an awesome return to camp! Been praying for all the sessions this summer, and I’m sure God’s got some awesome things in store for you too! Thanks for reaching out, man. Stay in touch!

      – Your Favorite Counselor Ever (aka Not Streeter)

  • disqus_suWyPEbzos

    Proud of you as a young male on your search for freedom and Christ. Keep writing and learning and growing, you are on your way to being elevated by God for the right reasons.

    • TMZ

      Many thanks! I hope you’ll journey with me.

  • Quiet Time Dude

    I somehow stumbled upon your blog while wondering who the singer of the Oceans by Hillsong United was. I clicked on the highlighted “gay Christian” and I praise God and feel very blessed to have done so during my Quiet Time. I was in the middle of reading some Leviticus passages about sin offerings, wanted to go to worship and searched some hymnals on youtube, getting to some other non-hymnal worship songs as well. Wow. I can only praise God that I am able to call you my brother in Christ and that He is bringing you closer to Him, giving victory over our desires. Although I am not gay, I do struggle with other idols in my life, the desires I seek to have fulfilled, while realizing daily in every moment the Holy Spirit pulls me back to God that what I truly seek, what my soul seeks, is intimacy with God, a growing relationship with Him first and foremost. That our joy comes from God, and not other idols we feel or think would fulfill us. I hope you have a wonderful day and that God continues to draw closer to you in our new creation, our new identity in Christ as children and heirs to the Kingdom of God.

    Praying from Tucson, Arizona.

    • Appreciate the encouraging words, Quiet Time Dude from Tucson! I’m glad you somehow stumbled across my blog from that amazing ‘Oceans’ song, of all things. I hope you have a wonderful day and week as well, and I hope you’ll continue journeying with me! -Tom

      • Fumbling With Faith

        I found you the same way and my thoughts echo Quiet Time’s comment so much there was no need to retype it all. How awesome is that? 🙂

        • Very cool! Glad you wandered/fumbled your way over here. Hope you’ll fumble further with me!

          • Fumbling With Faith

            Should probably check my mail more often as I just saw this response. Glad to be a brother. We shall fumble on.

  • Emily

    UGA represent!! Joining the campus ministry out in Athens when I graduate soon! I’m so excited I found your blog. GOD BLESS!!

    • WOOF. Is that what UGA people say? I’m not the greatest UGA alum, but I am grateful for my time there! Thanks so much for stopping by, Emily. Hope you’ll continue journeying with me!

  • Jacob

    What do you think somoene has to do to get into heaven when they die? Ive been strugglign with that question for awhile. My friends and I also debate about losing salvation. Where do u stand, Tom?

    • Vicki Eve Roblin

      Jacop… it’s been 10 months since you posted your questions, If there is an answer here I can’t find it so I will answer you. Jesus says ‘ I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’. No man comes to the Father (or gets into heaven) but through Me. You must recognise that you are a sinner, confess your sins before God, believe that God sent His only son to die in your place and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and know that through Jesus you will have total forgiveness and eternal life with God.

      There are several debates within the Church regarding whether a Christian can lose his or her salvation. Jesus states that there is only one unforgivable sin and that is the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit. Many pastors state that this sin is to deny the truth that the Holy Spirit lays upon your heart in order to convict you of the truth regarding who Christ is and why you need salvation through him. In other words you know the truth and you deny the truth and it is God’s Holy Spirit that has revealed this truth to you. By denying this truth you are calling the Holy Spirit a liar.

      I believe that a person that is truly in Christ will not, cannot lose his/her salvation. If one could state that he lost it… perhaps he never really had it to begin with. There is a form of conversion which is called a false conversion. True converts will bear the fruit of the Spirit, will seek to evangelize the lost, and will demonstrate a changed life through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. False converts talk the talk but never really walk the walk.