Saturday, August 30, 2008
That's why we were all created in God's image: to glorify, to worship God, and enjoy God and the life and world God has given us forever.
This holds true for all people, straight and LGBTQ alike; able-bodied and disabled alike; women and men, young and old, rich and poor, universally, because we are all created in God's image.
At the Church where I've been called to be their interim pastor we are wrestling with what it means that I am a pastor who is an openly gay man in a 13 year-old relationship, with two children, two dogs, a mortgage, cars, land, debts, salt-and-pepper hair, and still runs marathons and leads pilgrimages around the world. The Church--which currently has other gay and lesbian members though closeted--is struggling with abounding grace to come to terms with what the 21st century is looking like: a place where we who are LGBTQ are no longer living in closets of Don't Ask Don't Tell. It will take some time for us at this Church. After all, this is another moment of "coming out," and it takes some people longer than others to get used to the very idea of being an out gay pastor.
Who is leading the way? The One who welcomes the weary outsider.
The hope? That we will be a Church well-known in the geographical for our inclusivity of all God's people.
Behold: God is doing something new in northeastern North Carolina!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Yes. I've learned again that the Spirit of God will blow wherever the Spirt wills. Such is the Spirit of Love.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
We were all gathered around the television--Philip, Jason, Dean, Wayne, and I--and the shout-out came from Sen. Obama:
“I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.”
He said it! He included us! While we would all have liked him to say more about same-sex marriage, affirming it of course because this is the 21st century, and LBTGQ relationships--be it civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage--are here to stay, that he mentioned us was truly amazing.
You guy, Barack!
Along with Sen. Kennedy, President Clinton, a.k.a., Bill, a.k.a., Bubba, who brought us DADT, had a shout-out to gays in his speech last night. He also suggested that along with stepped up efforts to stop the spread of AIDS/HIV in foreign countries, we step up efforts in this country. I guess abstinence-only sex ed. programs just don't seem to be doing the job the Bush Administration proposed...a big thanks to all the conservative religious zealots who pushed that idea upon this Administration, much to the detriment and loss of life of hundreds of thousands of young people now infected with a STD.
And there are stories of LGBTQ gatherings with Michelle Obama, with my LGBTQ and straight friends who supported Hillary Clinton trying to reconcile Obama's win.
With the shout-outs and presence of the major players of the Democratic party hobnobbing with LGBTQ folks at the DNC gathering in Denver, CO, it will be interesting to see what the RNC gathering is like next week in two of my favorite cities, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. I'll be listening, much to my family's consternation.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Psychologically, I am aware that what I was writing about people with disabilities in the Church could easily be translated or generalized to people who are LTBGQ.
I noticed this announcement about Seven Straight Nights and Jay Bakker (son of Tammy Faye and Jimmy of Heritage USA fame). It is a ministry of welcoming and bringing together LGBTQ people with straight people. The much-pierced and tattooed evangelist is trying to bring a community together through the act of welcoming.
Click here for more.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
While watching last night's television coverage of the Democratic convention (Hi, I'm Brett. I'm a newsaholic), we were all agog when Sen. Ted Kennedy mentioned "gays and straights" in his remarks! What was also interesting was the deafening silence after including us in his speech. There was no roar of the crowd, or uptick in applause. Yet he did mention us!
On queerty.com and towleroad.com, there was coverage of Andy Tobias, the openly gay treasurer of the Democratic party. And there have been other visible signs of the LGBTQ community at the Democratic convention in leadership and speaking positions, though you have to go to CSPAN to capture many of those moments--darn you other cable shows and MSM. Click here for Andy Tobias comments.
It is time to be seen, known, and heard.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Along with Matthew Mitcham and a few athletes who have got to be gay (and they do wear Speedos, don't they...), there is news on 365gay.com about some great out lesbian Olympians. When Andrew Sullivan forgot to mention them in his drooling over Matthew Mitcham, I was eager to put them on display.
So: here they are!
Enjoy the article by clicking here!
I raise my coffee mug (it is Monday morning) and scone (ditto) to the wonderful out Olympian lesbians!
This goes back to lifting up role models that closeted LGBTQ children, teens, young adults, adults and older adults can look at and gain a little more courage to be the people God created them--well, us--to be. It is only by putting our story in the life-stories of others that we start to gain courage that we can be the people God created us to be in all its wondrous glory and complexity.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
So what is interesting is this: the rights and privileges of partnership-marriage of LGBTQ people is wrapped up in employment issues. Even though I was denied tenure because I am gay at Duke University--because each department and School has its own choice of faculty members--there were benefits for LGBTQ couples.
Now I find out this morning, re-reading queerty.com and towleroad.com, that the federal ENDA bill does not repeal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)! ENDA has to include DOMA--which defines marriage as between a man and a woman--because it is part of the federal laws of the land.
Not even Barney and Tammy (Frank and Baldwin) can change that!
Click here for more.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Click here for more!
And for all those other out-lesbian players...yeah!
Come on NBC! Show us ALL the Olympians, gay, bi, lesbian, trans, and straight alike!
...as I give Parker (son) money to go out with his high school friends for dinner at Armadillo Grill, reminding him to cut the grass in the backyard (we have four acres), talk to Adrianne (daughter) on the phone, who is happily off to her third year of college, talk to my mom about my dad's condition (he is slowly dying), put the dogs outside to play, while saying "see ya' later" to Dean (the partner) while picking up the phone call from my former wife about Parker's first day of school (Monday)...the homosexual agenda (?) has been put on hold again.
When I read about the law-makers of Arkansas working to ban all gay (LGBTQ) couples from adopting children--and we tend to choose children in foster kids and adopt kids with disabilities that no other "straight" couples choose--I want to ask this question: what gives? What is it about our family(s) that you find threatening? Again: read the story above. We look like every other American, middle class, very white-bread family, where the dad in this picture is an ordained clergyperson in the Presbyterian Church (USA, 25 years!) save for the fact (and it is a fact) that I am in a 13 year relationship with another man. And that man and I love each other "through thick and thin" times.
Click here for more about Arkansas.
Also note: that Gov. Jindahl of LA. has let lapse protection of LGBTQ folks in terms of discrimination policies in the state, while letting the usual--race, religion, gender, social economic backgrounds--stand.
Laws matter. And getting those LGBTQ people, and straight allies voted into office, matters, from the school board to the leadership post of Church and Synagogue...to the highest offices of this land.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Role models matter.
I've decided that I am going to start being considered and voted as a Commissioner to the next General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from New Hope Presbytery, which will then make me eligible to run for Moderator of the General Assembly of the PCUSA as an openly gay candidate.
And I hope to run for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board the next time there is an election.
Role models matter.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
There is this little bit of etiquette advice for those of us contemplating a wedding (thanks to John Leonard for this list), along with a wedding card from Hallmark:
Updated Etiquette Rules for
1. On the day of the wedding, it's bad luck for the two grooms to see each other at the gym.
2. Superstition suggests that for good luck, the couple should have: something bold, something flirty, something trashy, something dirty.
3. It's customary at gay & lesbian nuptials for the parents to have an open bar during the entire ceremony.
4. Gay wedding tradition dictates that both grooms refrain from eating any of the wedding cake, given the high content of carbs and sugar.
5. It's considered bad luck for either of the grooms to have dated the priest.
6. During the first dance, it's considered unlucky to use glow sticks, flags, whistles and hand-held lasers.
7. For good luck at the union of a drag queen, the bouquet is always thrown in the face of a hated rival.
8. The reception hall must have a disco ball and at least one go-go dancer.
9. The wedding singer is NOT allowed to play or sing: 'Let's Hear it for the Boy,' 'It's Raining Men,' or 'I Will Survive.'
10. The father of the bottom has to pay for everything.
I think Andrew Sullivan makes many good points about marriage and gays in his latest entry on andrewsullivan.com, though I wish he would include his partner's name and not just focus on his own name and identity. Most married couples--straight ones at least--do mention their spouses name at least once.
Anyway: Sullivan is right in these ways:
* Marriage gives people another name to call those of us who are LGBTQ and in relationship: spouse. We are still partners, lovers, and even, at times, friends, though that is something harder to attain.
* Weddings: straight people, and those of us who are LGBTQ who have been performing weddings, know all the rites and legends about weddings.
* Why are we calling them "gay" or "lesbian" weddings? Isn't a wedding a wedding? Or do the two we are seeing wed who are gay all that different from the straight couple being married?
Questions abound after reading the essay.
More questions will come soon...
Click here if you want to read it.
Best of wishes, Andrew and ______! Well, Best of Wishes, Mr. and Mr. Andrew Sullivan!
My father is slowly dying. We know that we are going to bury his ashes at the National Cemetery in Portland, OR. My mom has made it clear that she is going to be buried next to him when she dies. My grandparents are buried there, side by side.
From England comes this news of the re-interment of the remains of Cardinal Newman away from his long time "friend," and "roommate" and "intellectual colleague" and, well, you get the drift, Fr. Ambrose St. John. Newman, a convert to Catholicism, whose intellectual strength has spawned the many Newman Centers at many secular and private colleges and universities, was best friends with Fr. Ambrose, a fellow convert to Catholicism. Newman is on his way to sainthood, and there is a suspicion that the powers that be in Rome don't want there to be a whiff of "moral questioning."
So what if they were partners relationally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically? They weren't the first or last of their kinds in Victorian England...just ask Oscar Wilde. As much as my parents and grandparents wanted to be buried by their betrothed, and I with mine, why can't these two simply be left alone?
Of course we all know that this is all about the "love that dares not speak its name."
Click here for more.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
First Portia and Ellen got married. After both of them had been in several public relationships (Oh, Ms. Heche, where are you? Who are you? What are you?), they both found each other, and took advantage of the new liberties in the state of CA. "Good on you!" as they say in my family.
Then the other headliner was Rachel Maddow, that wonderful, smart, announcer/pundit/politico, a Rhodes Scholar no less, who has her own show not only on AirAmerica, but now on MSNBC! Way to go!
Having such open and transparent celebrations and promotions helps us all, giving those of us who are still in the DADT closet permission to realize what life could be like outside of the closet.
It also helps my children see what LGBTQ people are doing in the world too!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The California Supreme Court decision overturned a lower court ruling in favor of two Christian doctors who refused fertility treatment to a lesbian citing religious grounds.
The woman, Guadalupe Benitez, successfully filed suit against the doctors and their medical group in 2004 on the basis that their refusal to treat her violated California's anti-discrimination laws.
However an appeal court in San Diego ruled against Benitez, a decision that led to the supreme court ruling.
In an unanimous decision the justices ruled that Benitez was entitled to be treated like other patients with the same condition, and that constitutional protections for religious liberty do not excuse unlawful discrimination."Click here for more.
First, let it be known that this is more than about "equal rights," but about "freedom to" have a baby, regardless if someone is a lesbian, or because of race, ethnicity, religion, economic class, etc.
Second: discriminatory walls abound for LGBTQ people, and one by one they will have to be taken down--or blown apart.It is time to change.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I was struck by this article on towleroad.com re: the act of vandalism of the monument to LGBTQ people in Berlin. It is a solid grey block with a movie showing inside of it with two men kissing.
Click here for more.
This blog entry made me think of the monuments and memorials to LGBTQ people in our country. In the Castro area there are lots of plaques and reminders of the LGBTQ movement; NYC; D.C....yes? Should our monuments and memorials be made of stone and metal, or living monuments, donations and funds of money given for people to express the legacy of the people who made our lives possible.
I met a young man who was a student at Duke Divinity School, gay, and he told me that when he started to ask the tough questions re: LGBTQ people and theology, some people (faculty?) remembered me and said he would be the same kind of person...trouble?
Our legacy lives on only if we keep on telling our stories.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
For four days we have seen a few of the many films there: "Were the World Mine" dealt with a young man struggling to be gay in a prep school, which was similar to "Ready? OK!" where a young gay boy wants to be a cheer leader in a prep school. "Save Me" was about a young man coming to terms with being gay in a reparative therapy center in NM, starring Chad Allen, while "Newcastle" had one tangential gay character set in an Australian city near the beach, with great surfing scenes.
This morning? "Boystown" which is about gentrifying neighborhoods, and "3-Day Weekend," which is "Love, Valor, Compassion" goes to camp.
Off to the movies!
Friday, August 15, 2008
This is amazing. Again: in the state of NC I don't know when we are going to see an anti-bullying bill passed in the state legislature.
While my immediate family is here, this kind of news makes me think of moving. I enjoy the city of Portland, OR to know end, grew up there, and could stand to live in a blue-state...
Now the family is bringing charges against the school because they allowed him to wear "feminine clothes," etc., which made him, of course, stand out at the school.
They're blaming the school?
Lawrence was clearly expressing himself how he felt and thought and knew about himself with make-up and clothing. It was a choice. He had every right to express it, without fear of being discriminated against.
Ideal? Yes...real, no.
Click here for more.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Greg Louganis. I could never get enough of Greg diving in S. Korea during the Olympics. I would watch and swoon. I was shocked when he hit his head and blood was flowing, and secretly people talked about the possibility of being "infected, you know, AIDS..."
What a body! What a man! What an inspiration for people who happen to be gay, and also happen to be HIV+.
They are role models. I wouldn't say heroes per se, but these people changed the face of how we are known, seen, perceived, and celebrated...and sometime derided.
Matthew Mitcham is doing something similar as a diver from Australia. "Good on 'im," would say my friends from NZ and Oz (that's his image above).
I'm not sure who the other Olympians are who are LGBTQ. I know who I would like to be the other Olympians (they are swimming right now in men's relays and individual events, or getting on mats in gymnastics, or training for a trace and field meet, playing basketball, baseball, fencing, karate...).
As I was told years ago, "come on out, the water is fine!" And so it is.
List more LGBTQ Olympians...Pace, B
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Every year, or twice a year, the local YMCA has a blood drive. For awhile, one of the staff--who knew I was gay--would ask in a chirping voice, "Are you going to give blood?" "No," I said in a frustrated voice.
The reason I cannot give blood is not because I've been overseas recently, or because of any medical malady within me, but simply because of one thing, and one thing only: because I am a gay man...a practicing gay man.
Even though I have a rarer blood type, and the blood banks used to come to me often during the year, I cannot give blood anymore because of the answers I would give to the nurse or technician to certain questions.
It feels and looks and smells like discrimination.
There is a man in Australia who is fighting it. Click here for more. Perhaps more of us should fight it in the States.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
My son did not make the soccer team this year. This is not great news, but his world is slowly being re-built, thanks to his mom, sister, and Dean and I. It reminds me that being family is more than about having money and insurance, or some of the other legal protections. Love is the major component, along with self-control, friendship, goodness, courage, desire, and a few other virtues that are a component of the kind of character we are. A family is shaped by the very virtues that are as old as Aristotle, Jesus, and Oprah.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
This is a positive development: with more couples and children having babies and raising children, we are influencing the wider society's image of how good we are in raising children...just like our heterosexual peers.
Enjoy the article: click here!
The nice thing? It leads people away from a "booze and bod" environment. Many of the people we know who are gay are many times people in which alcohol is a central part of our gatherings. Going to a "gay bar" when I am visiting a city is a place that I know I will meet other gay men. Alcohol, in moderation: good thing. But there has also been a history of many gay men who are also alcoholics. We've also been aware of a rise in smoking among many of our gay friends.
Nice alternative! Click here for more.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
This truth was brought home recently in this article from 365gay.com, in which Hyett and Eric--who were a couple, and adopted Jedidiah--separated, with Eric taking off with Jedidiah without telling Hyett. The messy court case is now going on.
Lesson? Our families are similar to every other kind of family.
Click here for more.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
"'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free...we'll come round right!" Archbishop Rowan Williams Coming "Round Right" on LGBTQ Marriage
Rowan Williams believes that gay sexual relationships can “reflect the love of God” in a way that is comparable to marriage, The Times has learnt.
Gay partnerships pose the same ethical questions as those between men and women, and the key issue for Christians is that they are faithful and lifelong, he believes.
Dr Williams is known to be personally liberal on the issue but the strength of his views, revealed in private correspondence shown to The Times, will astonish his critics.
The news threatens to reopen bitter divisions over ordaining gay priests, which pushed the Anglican Communion towards a split.Click here for more.
The article continues: In the correspondence Dr Williams wrote of his regret that the issue had become “very much politicised” and was treated by many as “the sole or primary marker of Christian orthodoxy”.
Asked to comment yesterday, Lambeth Palace quoted a recent interview in which the Archbishop said: “When I teach as a bishop I teach what the Church teaches. In controverted areas it is my responsibility to teach what the Church has said and why.”What is happening here is simple, having lived in a world of neo-orthodoxy and liberal leanings, which bump heads all the time (Duke was useful in so many ways): there was this weird bifurcation between emotions and feelings and gut instincts, a.k.a., "emotivism," which was considered a "bad," and thinking "logically, rationally, and being aware of the tradition and rituals of the Church, Scripture, and reason," which were seen as a "good." So here's the dilemma and quandary and way things work for neo-orthodox folks: even if I like (emotion) you as a friend or brother/sister in Christ, and/or want to be open to your position and who you are, say, as a gay man, but because the traditions, rituals, and Scriptural reasons point to the incongruity of homosexuals in the Church, many neo-orthodox people will thus dismiss the very person who is gay, even though they like them emotionally, because of the reason of Scripture.
Those who follow this logic? Read Richard Hays' "The Moral Truth of the New Testament" (HarperCollins), one of my old colleagues at Duke Divinity School. Read in here why he "likes gays" but doesn't believe they should be ordained. It is painful...oops! That's an emotion.
Williams is stuck in this very dilemma...and the neo-orthodox folks count him as "one of them."
Hagiography is the study of saints.
Fagiography, according to a paper presented in 2003 at the American Academy of Religion gathering, is the study of the "beloved" people who have led the LGBTQ community for several years, and have literally "stood out" because of their witness to living truthfully and honestly.
My friend Brian brought the term to my mind recently, and when reading about the upcoming movie presentation(s) on the life and times of Harvey Milk of S.F., I've thought about the beloved people who have lived life largely, broadly, and fabulously.
And who are the LGBTQ parents who stand out? Dan Savage has done a remarkable job of "putting truth" out there in my estimation as a gay parent. There are others who have written books on the subject, and they stand out. Lots of lesbian parents stand out, who published and pioneered the way for adoption, in vitro medicine techniques, and day care programs.
Monday, August 4, 2008
The study supports the theory that we learn what it means to be a "girl or boy," or "man or woman," or "female and male," from the world, the context, the home, in which we live, grow up, and are nurtured by. This stuff isn't innate: it is learned behaviors.
Enjoy the article: click here.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
This is good news! Even though the shooter went into the Church in hopes of shutting it down for business because of its liberal, progressive message, e.g., it accepted LGBTQ people, the Church remains open the very next Sunday.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
And plenty of eye candy!
What was fascinating was my son Parker's observation of how Dean and I talk between ourselves. He is watching and listening carefully. So far, when we agree and laugh, as well as when we disagree, talk rationally about our feelings, and then keep moving on in the relationship once everything is aired, he is seeing how two people in love communicate, agree, disagree, and care for one another...whether they are gay or straight.
By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea...
We don't understand how a blog can be spam, even after reading the instructions, but for 24 hours we were blocked from writing anything.
We're back! And we're off: we're going to the beach for the day with the kids!
"Ta" for now!