Monthly Archives: January 2009

Good Soil

Each of us is a Word of God spoken in time.  We each have a mission, something that we are to do, someone only we can touch.

In order to be a good Word, in order to thrive and to do what we are meant to do, we must be planted and nourished.  We need to be rooted.  Like the seed that falls on good ground and produces abundantly, I have to ask myself, what is the “good ground” in which I am planted?  What wells do I go to to be filled and nourished, to care for the growth of the seed within me?

I know in my own life that if I begin to skim time in reflection and meditation, some time in good, solid spiritual reading, some time given for others, I quickly begin to whither on the vine.  It’s like the Life Force within me literally begins to fade and die – and then I am good for nothing or no one.

In order to thrive, I must continually connect with the Source.  In order to thrive, my environment needs to be one in which the seed can grow and mature.  I know too, that for me, there are times when I must leave my normal environment and retreat to an out of the way place in order to gain perspective, to stop, think and simply listen.

What does the seed of Life within you need right now in order to grow and thrive a bit more?

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Religious Violence and “Prayers for Bobby”

 This past weekend I watched the Lifetime Premier of “Prayers for Bobby,” a movie about a young man who tries to come to terms with being gay in a religious family.  The movie is based on a true story.  It portrays well the religious messages that the boy receives in his church and, from that, in his family.  The messages that he absorbs are these:  I am an abomination.  I am evil.  I am sick.  I am not worthy in the eyes of God.  I will NOT get to heaven.  I will be hated by my family.  This is a young teenage boy, kind, sweet, bright, loving; a young teenage boy, no one knowing he’s gay, trying to change, but not able, who is made to grapple, silently and all alone with questions as to whether he even deserves to exist.  Can you imagine such a hell?  Can you imagine the pressure that this places on such innocence?  And to think that his suffering is caused by well meaning, upright religious folk – convinced they are speaking in the name of God!

 

I will not say what ultimately happens in the movie, but suffice it to say that the Mom’s eyes are opened and she makes it her life’s work to speak out against the violence inherent in religions toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.  I highly recommend a viewing of this movie.

 

Can you imagine the hell this boy went through?  Yes.  Any of us who are gay were once this boy!  Any of us who are gay and who grew up with any semblance of religious practice remember being children, knowing that we were different, suffering in silence and fearing rejection by God, society, friends, not to mention our very own family.  We were all once this boy.  I have often said that it’s a miracle that any of us who are gay make it to adulthood with any semblance of sanity given what we had to psychologically endure.  Most of us are well adjusted, good, responsible people.  To me, that is a testament of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of God alive at work, holding us close and whispering words of love to our hearts in the midst of the noise of condemnation.

 

I am again reminded of the very real violence done to young GLBT people through absorbing such religious messages.  And I am grateful for those faith filled voices that extend a welcome hand to GLBT people.  Voices like Epistle.us, MCC Church, New Ways Ministry, the strong open stance of the United Church of Christ, the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, GayChristian.net, Soul Force, Bishop Gene Robinson and many others.

 

Despite these voices out there, still hundreds of young GLBT people commit suicide each year, largely due to the pressure inherent in family and their community of faith.  It is important that each of us do something to get the word of God’s love and delight out there!  I think of the mantra of The Equal Rights Campaign and what Harvey Milk used to say:  Come out, come out, wherever you are!  In doing so a face is put to the words “gay,” “homosexual,” “queer,” “faggot.”  It’s no long “those people,” . . . but my uncle, or cousin, or sister, or co-worker, or friend.  One person at a time, not only do attitudes change, but lives are literally saved!

 

What’s one thing you can do today that speaks a word of hope and love to those who are suffering and alone?


The U.S. Cabinet and Resolution Check In

Read Mark 3: 13-19

Sound familiar to recent events?  (Kind of synchronistic that these readings appear in the Common Lectionary at this time!  Doo, doo, doo, doo . . . You‘ve entered the twilight zone!)

Jesus picks his Cabinet.  They are to go out and spread the message of his administration; and it’s good news!  Notice too, they are given authority to “expel demons.”  I suppose in a manner of speaking that that’s what the US Cabinet members are to do in their various areas of concern, expel demons, fix what is broken for the good and benefit of all, whether it be the economy, foreign relations, poverty, education, terrorism and the like.  No matter what our political affiliation, I think we all would like to see improvement in our world.

Now let’s bring it home.

What about us?  What about you?  Remember those New Year’s resolutions?  How are they going?  Those resolutions are about “expelling demons,” . . . in a manner of speaking.  Is it beginning to happen?  Are you doing or not doing some the thing or things that you said you would like to work on, for the good of yourself and others around you?  If not, what’s a step that you could take today toward freedom?


Obama – Savior of the World?

Read this passage:  Mark 3: 7-12

Does is sound familiar to the events of a couple of days ago?  People come from many parts and from great distances because they have heard of this Jesus and all that he does and can do.  They press around him to hear him, get a glimpse of him and, if they’re lucky, to actually touch him.  It’s funny, it even seems like Jesus has his entourage, his “Secret Service” as it were, as he asks them to have a fishing boat ready for him so he could avoid the press of the crowd around him.  Sound familiar?

I certainly wish President Obama all the best in his administration.  And although a part of me hesitates at the amount of money spent on it during these hard economic times, his inauguration was indeed one of a kind, bringing together people of every race, background, lifestyle, economic bracket etc.   I hold out great, but realistic hope for what can be done, under his leadership.  I fear though that many look to him as the savior, the one who, single handedly, is going to lead the world out of its mire of economic woes, poverty and violence to the promised land.  I sincerely hope for that possibility, but I think it’s good for us to keep in mind the consistent message that we’re hearing from his administration:  it can’t be done alone.  We all must take responsibility and do our part to make things better.  If anything, he stands as a beackon, a light that is energizing many people to realize their OWN power and their possibility of making a concrete difference in the world.

In some ways I think Jesus did the same.  Did he “save” the world?  Was everything better after he died and rose?  No.  But what he did do is stand as a beackon, a light that pointed to what is possible for those who BELIEVE that they CAN be healed, that hungry masses CAN be fed and that new life CAN come from seemingly death dealing situations.

So what am I saying here?  Sometimes we have a tendency to look to someone to lead us out of our darkness.  We look to a savior to take us by the hand and give us everything that we want or need.  I truly believe that there is a Power that can carry us and do unimaginable things within us; but I also believe that we must cooperate with that Power and do what we can to take responsibility for our lives and those of others – leading from darkness to light and new possibility.

What within me or my world needs to be “saved?”  What action can I take to be a “savior” in those situations?


Winter’s Secret

Humans must be among the very few creatures who do not slow down in the Winter.  We keep running about, full speed ahead, even though the cold and the darkness beckon our bodies to rest.  For some, Winter creates an emotional hibernation, a depression which leaves them without much energy.

Whether our Winter leaves us physically tired or emotionally drained, it’s important to remember that Winter’s silence, Winter’s stillness holds a secret.  If an alien came to our planet in the middle of a land’s Winter season, would they have any idea that the seemingly dead branches, the frozen plants and brown grass would, in a short while, burst into life?

In the dead of Winter, sometimes we feel as if the lethargy of our bodies or spirits will be without end.  In such a time, we need to look to Spring, realizing that what seems dead, what seems lifeless will burst into life again.  Sometimes this very thought is enough to reverse a downward emotional trend.

I think of the line in the famous song “The Rose,” sung by Bette Midler some years back:

“When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long; and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong. . . . Just remember, in the Winter, far beneath the bitter snow, lies the seed, that with the sun’s love, in the Spring, becomes . . . the rose.”


Come and See

John 1: 35-42

Did you ever feel totally unconscious in life, like you were just going through the motions with little internal inertia?  Perhaps the early followers of Jesus were feeling like that.  Obviously they were seeking something, searching.  Were they dissatisfied with where their life was?  Jesus notices them following him and asks them:  “What are you looking for?”  Now, you would think that they would have responded with various requests, dreams for their lives, meaning, healing or whatever.  But they don’t.  What they say is:  “Rabbi, where do you stay?”

I’m not sure that the disciples had a clue of what they were looking for.  But there was something about this man that beckoned them, something about him stirred something within them.  What they did do is act!  Jesus says:  “Come and see.”  And that’s what they did.  They put one foot in front of the other and spent time with him – having no idea where it would lead.

Sometimes life is like that isn’t it?  Something just isn’t quite right, we’re not quite satisfied, yet we don’t know what it is that we seek.  Perhaps in times like this what we need to do is act, put one foot in front of the other, walk outside the closed doors of our being and try something, something healthy for our bodies, minds and spirits.  Who knows where it may lead?


Hibernate A Little!

After a long stretch of days taken in work and interuptions, I finally had a day yesterday to myself.  It was a day spent in catching up on laundry, cleaning the house, taking down Christmas decorations and putting the house in order.  I also took the afternoon to do some reading and the evening to make some phone calls and connect with some people I haven’t talked to in a while.

I suddenly felt human again!

This sacred space of “no-thing” held within it an energy that renewed my life force, which of late has been greatly drained.  Without such spaces in life, I am less present to people emotionally, get less done in more time and find myself “restless, irritable and discontent” (RID as they say in 12 Step Programs).

I am once again reminded of not only the value of, but the necessity of taking such times if we are to live and love well.

Why not hibernate a little this winter?