Friday, December 18, 2015

One Year Anniversary!

It has been one year since I left NC and moved to my new/old home state of OR.  I was actually born in Brooklyn, NY and raised from ages 4-12 in Maplewood, NJ, but teenage years were in Portland and Beaverton.

After 25 years in Chapel Hill, it is good to be back in OR.  Though I miss friends and family, the land, the culture, of NC, I do not miss the politics and the sense of "stickiness" in my life. I felt stuck and unable to grow any further.  My sense of well-being was not advancing but slowing down mightily.

Oregon has been a place where I have thrived because of family, friends, the work I do, the people I work with, and the surrounding culture, both land and the arts.

Thankful, I am, for the good people of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.  While I am still the only out gay Presbyterian pastor in the state of OR, it is not so lonely here with great people, and a good group of gay men I hang out with from time to time.

Living a life of gratitude.



Family Tree Happiness! A Cousin (once removed/second) is Gay!

Silly feelings.

Caught up in a flood of feelings.

For the longest time, I thought I was the only gay person in my mom's or dad's family tree.  None of my cousins on my mom's side of the family tree-Ferguson-were out and gay.  They were either hiding or they are conservative and heterosexual for the most part.  On my dad's side of the family, he had no sisters and brothers, so that was that.

I just discovered today that my mom's brother's daughter's (my cousin's) son is gay.  Out and gay.  Fiercely so.

There are two (2) of us in this crazy tree.

It is biological, after all.

Neither of my kids are gay.

But a second cousin IS gay.

Of course, no one talked about it openly.  My second cousin was told by his mom, my first cousin, that I'm gay. She, my first cousin, has never talked to me about being gay.  Heck: none of my cousins or aunts or uncles on my mom's side of the family have talked to me about being gay or if I'm gay or happy being gay get the point.

A second cousin is gay. And out.




Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kim Davis, the Pope, and Me

As a Presbyterian pastor who is gay, and a dad, let me quickly say that I am not surprised at all about the latest dust up regarding this Pope meeting with Kim Davis, of Rowan County, KY fame, who denies same sex couples marriage licenses whenever possible.

The reason I'm not surprised?  The Pope, like his predecessors, is conservative and a traditionalist.  He understands that marriage is only between a man and woman, for the purpose of pro-creation.  It is natural law theology/philosophy, made part of the canon thanks to St. Aquinas.

His comment, "Who am I to judge?" was just a nicer packaging of the same old trope.

It is what it is.

And I'm not a Roman Catholic.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

No Conversion Therapy/Reparative Therapy in OR

Again: a difference between NC and OR.

In OR, Gov. Kate Brown signed legislature that banned conversion or reparative therapy in the state of OR.

In NC, the legislature is still trying to find ways to restrict the rights of LGBTQ people from marrying.

What a difference.

Here's the article about the state government's actions:



Welcoming ALL at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

Lee Ellis and Tom Galey, two men who are deaf and happen to be gay, joined St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Portland, OR, on April 12, 2015.

And more LGBTQ people are coming by and worshipping with us.

This is great!

You are ALL welcome.

Please say "hi" when dropping by. And stay around and visit in the Narthex afterward.

Pax! B

Monday, March 23, 2015

PCUSA Welcomes ALL Who Are Married or Wish to be Married

The PCUSA opened up the definition of marriage to include BOTH same sex couples and the language of "traditional one man and one wife," though the pastor has discretion over whom she or he will marry, and the Session discretion over whether or not the space will accommodate a wedding of a same sex couple:

Here's the link to the story:

Pax, B

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Difference Between NC and OR

The best way to say it? Get back to your closet.

The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Carrboro area feels so constrictive compared to Portland/Multnomah County.  I've enjoyed hanging around various places in Portland with no feeling of fear for being gay.  I meet more LGBTQ daily in my life in Portland than I do in Chapel Hill or Durham. I feel accepted for who I am more in Portland than I did in the RDU area.

Just taking notice.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

In Solidarity with Christ Church

In the last few days I've gotten to know Adam Philips and his wife, who with his church, Christ Church, an Evangelical Covenant Church plant in Portland, OR, has been kicked out of the denomination because of their support of LGBTQ people. Crazy buy true.

I've had the pleasure of getting to know Adam via emails, hope to have coffee with him next week, and read all about him in the mail.  I support him as a pastor, regret that they have to find another space, lost the money from Evangelical Cov. Church, and will be with him and his church in terms of solidarity of support.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kathleen Saadat! In the Presence of Our Ongoing Story

I was pleased and honored to hear Kathleen Saadat this morning.


She is an out lesbian black activist in the Portland, OR area.  From St. Louis, MO, she has been on the forefront of change in Portland, OR throughout the years.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Portland Tribune Interview: All are welcome in this house of God!

Honored to be covered in the Portland Tribune for being at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Portland, OR.

Here's a link to the article:

All are welcome--ALL--to St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.



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: