Monday, January 26, 2015

Reaching Out, Reaching In: Welcoming LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ People at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR

Yesterday at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Rev. Jeremy Watson, Assoc. Pastor, preached.  The first sermon illustration he used was the protest of the Westboro Baptist Church while he was attending the Gay Christian Network gathering a few weeks ago.

I smiled outwardly and inwardly.  I wasn't preaching about it (though I used the reference earlier in the month): Jeremy was preaching about it.

There is something empowering when the two ministers--one gay and one not-gay--show solidarity in that preaching moment, talking about it slightly differently but nonetheless using the story as an affirmation of how we should follow Jesus.






Thursday, January 22, 2015

Protesting Westboro Baptist and Imitation Game

Imitation Game, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, had me transfixed toward the end of the film as I watched "Turing" twitching from the effects of the medication he was taken after he was sentenced with "gross indecency" in the UK.  He eventually killed himself rather than go through further pain of the medication and the depression of having to deny his humanity. This sentence "gross indecency" was also the bane of writer Oscar Wilde's life.

Gross indecency.

That's what the public in the UK and the US wanted those of us who are LGBTQ to feel: that we and our lives were guilty of "gross indecency."

The group from Westboro Baptist Church and their minions want to actually go back to the day and age in which I too could be sentenced and found guilty of "gross indecency." That I would be shamed.  That I would be given medicine to dull the God given testosterone in me.  That I would eventually kill myself. Die of cancer.  A heart attack.

The signs of Westboro play in my head.  Hopefully the songs like "We are one in the Spirit" will play in their heads.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Corridor of Love

This weekend in Portland, OR, we had a chance to witness to Westboro Baptist Church folks at the Gay Christian Network gathering.  I hadn't seen these folks since NC Pride Parade in Sept.

While it did rain a bit, it was powerful to stand in the embrace of love among the counter protesters. We created a corridor of love (corridor of hate to Westboro).

What was amazing was realizing that we were Christians addressing Christians. Because of baptism, we are sisters and brothers.

Here's an article that was in Huffpo:

Pax, B

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hillsdale News! Greetings from Portland, Oregon

I know, I know: I am SO behind on blogging.  Bad blogger.  Bad.  Yech.

So: this is the news:
* Got here on Nov. 28, preached on Nov. 30;
* Dean introduced during worship! A first!
* Made it through Advent AND Christmas BEFORE taking off to HI;
* HI was a blessed time of rest and letting the body be healed.
* Back in the saddle again in OR.

And this from the Hillsdale News:



Monday, December 1, 2014

Landed! New Interim Head of Staff of St. Andrew's Presby. Church, Reporting

After a week long pilgrimage across this magnificent nation--it really is stunning--stopping in Asheville, Jefferson City, Blue Springs, MO and Rawlins, WY, we made it to the land of "milk and honey" in Portland, OR. Yesterday, I preached my first sermon as interim Head of Staff at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR.

What was unique was the introduction: Jeremy, our Assoc. Pastor, introduced Dean as my partner, along with my mom Liz Mitchell, before 225 people.  That was a "first": in no other church has my partner ever been recognized. Ever.

Prayers for the pilgrimage ahead.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Mea Culpa for not writing this sooner.

OK: Catholic time: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I'm moving to Portland, OR to be the new interim head of staff at St. Andrew's Presby. Church, Portland, OR.

Dean is going to stay here in NC, taking care of our abode and land in Chapel Hill.  Adrianne and Scott are happily wedded and moving to Weaverville, NC outside of Asheville, while Parker completes his work in Wilmington, hopefully graduating in 2015!  There will be lots of trips back to NC.

Meanwhile, I will be finding a place to rent in 2015, a one bedroom or studio affair.  And my mom, who lives in Portland, OR, is thrilled.  Do come and visit!



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Weddings in October 2014

I've had the "honor" of being an officiant for two weddings in the month of October. The first wedding--a highlight of life--was marrying Adrianne and Scott in Massachusetts. The weather was great: it began rainy but at 2:00 the sun started to come out, and by 3:30, the time for the wedding to begin, it was dry and sunny. The father of the bride--moi--did not keep a dry eye as this lovely woman walked down the aisle with Dean and Pam--partner and mom--walking beside her.

The other wedding was yesterday: Janet and Fantasie! They got my name from a former student of mine from the days at Duke Divinity School who works at First Presbyterian Church, Durham. Outside of the Durham County Courthouse (the old one), we signed the papers and I officiated their covenant, with their children from previous relationships in tow.  It was my first legal same sex marriage.

It makes a difference!  While I have conducted over 100 weddings as a Minister, I grew resentful after I came out of the closet, realizing I could no longer wed, and I bestowing 1,300 laws upon this couple I could not enjoy as a gay man with my partner.

NC's laws finally changed, thanks to the Fourth Circuit Court.

A new day in NC!

Now, let's see who else I know who could get married...hmmmm....oh! ME!