Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

An early Sunday Sermonette: “Gay people have never been the enemy”; to suggest otherwise “makes Jesus cry”

Jan
12

“The institution of marriage is not under attack as a result of the President’s words. Marriage was under attack years ago by men who viewed women as property and children as trophies of sexual prowess.”
Full text of Rev. Otis Moss’ letter to his colleague

“Console and strengthen the living; avenge the dead”

Jun
15

I’ve gone back to lighting good solidly built pull-out candles for GLBT folks who are still worn down and heavy laden by needless shame, bad preaching and teaching, bad laws and bigotry.  This one is tender pink, dressed with with all sorts of balmy blessing herbs — and then rolled in Fiery Wall of Protection and black wax. So, yes, a reversing candle.

The great civil rights activist, Bayard Rustin  — who was also a gay man — watches over the work.

Behind the flame is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; off screen is Frederick Douglass.

You will also note that there are two little pictures of Jesus nearby; and he had precisely bupkes to say about homosexuality.

I’ll be burning this for an hour or so each night — that way it will last for at least two weeks, maybe longer.  My nightly prayer is: Console and guard the living, and avenge the dead.  And it would be wonderful if I had some names, the names of real people, to put under this candle.

And it’s not just the civil rights movement that owes a huge debt of gratitude to LGBT people:

“It’s hard to have any conversation about this brilliant cultural production — gospel music — without affirming the prominent role that same-gender-loving people have played and continue to play.”

via Gospel Music Book Challenges Black Homophobia – NYTimes.com.

Sunday Jubilee Time (and Brain Candy Sampler): Study War No More

May
26

“If we believe that human misperceptions and misconceptions and incomplete and thus inaccurate comprehensions are mainly due to sin, then we’re tempted to conclude that anyone who is fallible is therefore evil”.

Fundamentalism thrives on isolation from and opposition to the world — isolation from and opposition to the rest of society, to other people, to The Other, to everyone else.”

And here’s a church that got welcoming right! — Click through on this one — you won’t regret it. I’ll wait.

Feel better?  Let’s finish with a glad jumping hymn from Sister Rosetta:

Halloween and/or Christmas!

May
10

Folks, I can’t decide whether it’s Halloween or Christmas here today! Two different conjure friends of mine sent me grave dirt from:

Caroline Dye … and Frederick Douglass!
 

Adam Smith and Butch Comer, thank you about a million times!

Sermonette by John Shore: “Playing the kazoo at a requiem mass”

Mar
28

Once again, the work has been done for me.

Why this white Christian “leader” was silent about Trayvon Martin | JohnShore.comA question that’s lately been raised in the blogosphere (here; here; here) is why more white Christian leaders haven’t spoken out against the death of Trayvon Martin. Putting aside the question of whether or not I’m a Christian leader (I’m not), when the story broke of young Martin’s death I did receive a number of requests to write about it.

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A feast day for angelic troublemakers

Mar
17

St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t get much play in the chapel. We celebrate Bayard Rustin Day instead —

Brother Outsider — ResourcesNow available on DVD for home viewing from our online store.Click here to buy the DVD Educators and educational institutions can order Brother Outsider through our educational distributor, California Newsreel. Click here for the Brother Outsider Discussion Guide:guide.pdf Download the discussion/curriculum guide produced in partnership with Frameline’s Youth In Motion program.

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via Rustin

How we celebrate Bayard Rustin Day

  • By all means get the DVD if you can — it’s wonderful.
  • Print and frame a picture of Brother Bayard and welcome him to your table with a vegetarian feast. I think we’re going with red curry noodles (no fish sauce, please) and Thai Corn Pancakes.
  • Then place him on your angelic troublemaker ancestor angelic troublemaker altar — if you don’t have one, you’ll start one tonight, I bet.

I also like to give him a vegetarian treat every Saturday, and listen for any directions he might have for me.

So Happy Bayard Rustin Day, everybody — and do feel free to post any good links you find!

 

 

What is lust?

Feb
23

It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally, at the Crystal Silence League, I see a prayer request to remove or cure homosexual desires.

Now, I was raised in the Western Scientific Tradition, in the far-out 1960s, in Hippie Town, USA, no less. So, despite a decades-long detour into conservative Christianity, it is fairly easy to understand why I would be unwilling to pray for these requests.

But I do. I do place them on my altar.

Whether you are “struggling with same-sex attraction” or celebrating it as a nourishing part of your personality and daily life, you are probably aware of the “liberal” interpretations of the Bible’s few verses that are commonly interpreted to forbid homosexuality. I will only list a few of the less theology-geeky links:

GLBT folks in conservative Christian churches are not the only people who are tied up in knots about sexual desire. That’s worth another series of posts in itself, but the work has been done for us:

How the Modesty Doctrine Hurts Men, Too

These folks are caught in a double-bind: on the one hand evolution — or the Creator — made us with seemingly unconquerable sexual desire and capacity for arousal. Even after we get old and start to dry up, we notice sexual signals constantly, even where they are not intended. 

The question that these guilt-ridden folks don’t get to ask is: How sinful is this, anyway?  And the larger question: what is lust?

Resorting to the dictionary is supposed to be a specious argument, but honestly, I really think the meaning of the word lust has drifted  farther than is accurate or useful. So:

lust  (lst), n.

1. Intense or unrestrained sexual craving.

2.

a. An overwhelming desire or craving: a lust for power.
b. Intense eagerness or enthusiasm: a lust for life.
3. Obsolete Pleasure; relish.

intr.v. lust·edlust·inglusts

To have an intense or obsessive desire, especially one that is sexual.

[Middle English, from Old English, desire; see las- in Indo-European roots.]

The third definition, mere pleasure or relish, is obsolete. But, as near as I can make out from the Oxford English Dictionary, it is the original definition of the word, and was so innocent back then that it was applied to Jesus himself!

He [Jesus] is feyr and bryht on heowe…Of lufsum lost of truste treowe.

I’m having trouble finding a translation for this couplet, but I think it means something like: “Jesus is fair and bright on high [?] … Of lovely lust, of true trust.” (We could now digress into a fascinating discussion of Christ as the Ideal lover — and maybe we will, another day.)

You see the wiggle in her walk, or the fem in the black leather jacket, because you were made to express love and innocent pleasure in the flesh. It’s only when you lose your grip on the Golden Rule that corruption enters your world through lust the glamor of sexual pleasure.

So I will print out your prayer for release from evil desires, and I will pray for you.

I pray that your desires bring you only love, splendor, and abundant life.

I pray that these desires bring happiness to the others you encounter.

I pray that god heals you of needless shame.

I pray that the truth of the Love Supreme will set you free.

Weren’t you, after all, born in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?

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Sunday Sermonette: God Bless the Child

Feb
19

Have you ever heard someone say a song or Scripture is “ministering” to them? I had that experience yesterday:

Like everyone else, people active in progressive politics consciously desire health and happiness in their work, and strive to achieve their mission while enjoying the fruits of health, love, pride, and joy. At a less conscious level, our normal desires for health are at war with less healthy beliefs and fears that we’re not really supposed to have good things or take care of ourselves.

This conflict is extremely common. Our hope is at war with our fear, our optimism with our pessimism, and our aspirations with our cynicism. We consciously seek the light but unconsciously default to a belief in the darkness.

One of the fundamental discoveries gained from studying child development is that children regard the reality in which they find themselves as equivalent to what is supposed to be. In our childhood minds, minds not yet steeped in left-brain adult reasoning and the rational logic of cause-and-effect, we experience our emotional and social worlds as the way things are supposed to be. If our families are unhappy, stressed, dysfunctional, or neglectful, we don’t think: “Boy, are they screwed up! I’m sure glad I’m happy and safe and not part of that culture!” Instead, by osmosis, the awesome authority of our parents and families to define reality and morality leads us to take their story, the one unfolding around us, as the only real story, despite what is said or consciously intended.

This universal fact of psychology has an extremely important consequence. When we violate, reject, or otherwise leave behind the unspoken norms and patterns governing our family lives, we feel conflict. Sometimes it takes the form of guilt; other times, anxiety. Both tend to operate behind our backs, affecting our choices and behavior in ways that are not conscious. For example, maybe your parents aspired to provide you with a better life than they had. And you have always been consciously determined to do just that. But when you separate from people to whom you are attached, and on whom you’ve been dependent for survival, your healthy conscious intentions have to contend with what it means to reject or surpass them.

via Being Progressive Shouldn’t Be Hazardous to Your Health: Here’s How to Avoid Our Culture of Overwork | | AlterNet.

This article isn’t just for progressive activists: this is a condition that afflicts everyone except — maybe — the One Percent. This is what the New Thought people are talking about when they tell you to visualize, to “name and claim it,” when they tell you that “all you have to do is want it.”

It’s more complicated than that — and at the same time, it’s simpler than that.

One of the conceptions of magic that’s floating around is that you should be able to do it all with one magical word and a bulge flash of your eyes. I have a sneaking suspicion that that kind of manifestation appears only in fairy tales and dreams. Almost everybody, when they try to do in waking life, in one leap, exhausts themselves and ends up having to white-knuckle it.

It’s much easier to do it incrementally — step-by-step. Begin where you are, where this article begins: with one little improvement in your situation that you can believe in. Don’t just say you deserve a living wage, sufficient food, sufficient rest, strength, joy in your work. Do whatever it takes, perform whatever thought experiments you require, to prove it to yourself.

Now, I may be straying afield from the original intent of this article. But I believe all the greatest hopes and all the greatest movements began in just this way. In our country, in the 1950s and ’60s, the great hopes of Martin Luther King and all his allies were expressed by high school and college kids at drugstore lunch counters. Yes, there was sacrifice; yes, there were martyrs; but whether in the political struggles of the present, or the world-spanning evangelism of old, it was never meant that everybody should be a martyr. Nor was it ever meant it every martyr should be a martyr every day.

God gave us the gifts of music, laughter and bad puns for a reason.

I thought of this good old, weary song while I was reading this article, and I am still not sure how they are connected.

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