Yesterday evening, I willingly set foot in a Baptist church for the first time in 10 years in order to see author and blogger Rachel Held Evans at Asheville’s First Baptist Church. I first became a fan of Rachel’s work when I stumbled upon one of her many insightful blog posts about the relationship between the church and the LGBT community. I admire her bold stance on the subject (in short, she believes the church should welcome its LGBT neighbors with open arms), the blend of humor and vulnerability with which she approaches this and many other loaded topics, and her ability to present even the most intricate workings of faith and the Bible in layman’s terms.
Much of Rachel’s talk yesterday was about her most recent book, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood,” which documents her year spent attempting to adhere as closely as possible to what many Christians and Jews believe to be the “proper” behavior for a woman. In it, she uses her disarming humor to dissect the church’s treatment of women, though this is so much more than a women’s-lib book. For starters, it encourages both women and men — regardless of their faith — to be people of valor. But beyond that, Rachel presents the Bible not as a hard and fast blueprint, but — as she so astutely put it yesterday evening — “a conversation starter, not a conversation ender.” In fact, last night she stressed that the best way to truly understand the Bible — or any topic at all — is to surround yourself with people who have different interpretations of it. The latter is something that we’re all woefully remiss at, whether it be talking religion, politics, social issues or what have you.
And this is why I have such a great deal of respect for Rachel Held Evans. She encourages thoughtful dialogue between the church and people who feel marginalized by it, whether it be because of their gender, sexuality, race, political affiliation, age or any number of characteristics that don’t fit within the tiny, unyielding mold of a “true Christian.” She (and other authors such as Justin Lee and Chris Stedman) can play a vital role in bridging the harmful (to both sides) “us-vs.-them” gap that’s growing deeper and deeper. Speaking as someone who grew up gay in the Southern Baptist Church and has had a distaste for any kind of church for many years, I appreciate the healing power that her brand of dialogue and attempts at understanding can provide. Thanks, Eshet Chayil!
the code…decoded network surfing the web for news and entertainment to share with our LGBT+ community: What This Activist Wants You To Learn From His Tragic Story.
Via: HUFFPOST Watch it HERE
Shane Bitney Crone, the subject and producer of the documentary "Bridegroom"premiering Sunday night on OWN, became an accidental activist for LGBT when the unthinkable happened: He lost the love of his life, Tom Bridegroom, in a tragic accident.
The couple had been together for 6 years and shared a mortgage, a business and a pet — but without the legal protection of marriage, Crone could not stop what happened next. “I received a phone call from one of Tom’s relatives and she wanted to let me know that I was not welcome to attend his funeral — because if I do show up, his uncle and his father had planned an attack,” Crone says in the film.
In the above video, Crone talks about the documentary and the broader message it sends in the battle for equality. “Growing up, even at my church they were teaching us in youth group that being gay is a sin and that I am going to spend eternity in hell just for being who I am,” he says. “People don’t see the negative effects that this has on youth — even people in their 60s and 70s that still have not come out because there’s just so much shame.”
For anyone struggling to come out, Crone encourages you to take the time you need, but to know there are people who will support you. “I think that if you are struggling, you would be surprised that for the most part, people will accept you — and you will feel so much better when you have that weight lifted off your shoulders and you can just be who you are,” he says.
Though he was ostracized by his partner’s family, Crone doesn’t want people to come away from his story feeling angry. “I hope that they walk away feeling inspired and wanting to change things,” he says.
Marriage equality is one of those changes. “Bridegroom” shows what can happen when two people are legally barred from having equal rights and equal protections under marriage laws, and Crone no longer feels domestic partnership is the answer. “Until we are able to get married like everyone else, people will just continue to look at these alternatives as a second-class version of marriage,” Crone says.
"Bridegroom" airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET as part of a special night of programming onOWN focusing on being gay in America.
(Source: mycodedecoded, via lifeofagaycollegeguy)
Lie down, lay your head on a bed of leaves, and go to sleep, homie.
I admittedly struggle with lay vs. lie, and this is a fantastic summary.
I just received the very sad news that Doña Nena, the kind, charming lady I lived with for a month while I studied Spanish in Mérida in ‘06, passed away on Tuesday. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with her a few weeks ago. At 92, she was still mentally spunky, although her voice was a bit weak and she was moving at a more careful pace. I left thinking that may we all be so blessed to be in such good health – both mentally and physically – at that age. Apparently she contracted pneumonia and went quickly and peacefully. Again, may we all be so fortunate….
Doña Nena (pictured above on the left) was a fantastic storyteller who taught me a great deal about life in Yucatán – and life in general. She taught me about the history, music, language and culture of this beautiful place, and I’ll forever cherish our conversations about literature, politics and religion. She’s one of the four people I credit with instilling me with the deep love I have for this part of the world.
I’d planned on doing a staycation this year and saving an international trip for my 40th birthday in 2014, but when I found out I had enough frequent-flier miles for a trip to Mexico, something deep inside me said “Go.” Not only did it result in the best vacation I’ve ever had, but it allowed me to spend one last bit of time with this dear woman, whose last words to me were “Te quiero.” Rest in peace, Doña Nena.
21 Habits Of Supremely Happy People -
This is an excellent article. And I’d like to add that being happy doesn’t mean you have to disconnect from reality, but it does mean taking control of how the pervasive negativity in the world affects you on a personal level.
- They surround themselves with other happy people.
- They smile when they mean it.
- They cultivate resilience.
- They try to be happy.
- They are mindful of the good.
- They appreciate simple pleasures.
- They devote some of their time to giving.
- They let themselves lose track of time. (And sometimes they can’t help it.)
- They nix the small talk for deeper conversation.
- They spend money on other people.
- They make a point to listen.
- They uphold in-person connections.
- They look on the bright side.
- They value a good mixtape.
- They unplug.
- They get spiritual.
- They make exercise a priority.
- They go outside.
- They spend some time on the pillow.
- They LOL.
- They walk the walk.
Crumbs from the Communion Table: Questions from Christians #3: “Why do you have gay pride parades? We don't have straight pride parades. (And isn't pride... -
Part 3 in my series of questions Christians ask about gay people.
Gay pride parades/marches are popular for a number of reasons:
- They provide a sense of community to people who have sometimes been isolated and outcast, even from their own families.
- They bring attention to political or…
Well said, Justin.
This article on the Huffington Post is gut-wrenching. Every parent needs to read this, especially those who think there’s zero chance their children could be gay. An excerpt:
"Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, whom I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by faith instead of by fear. Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan’s gravestone.”
Ding Dong DOMA’s Dead! http://bit.ly/DOMAsDead
It’s a good day.
Following several of its most well-known faces — including President Alan Chambers and former poster boy John Paulk — expressing regret for the harm its attempts at “praying away the gay” have had on countless people, Exodus International is closing its doors*. I had to read that linked article twice before I believed it, as I never thought I’d see this day.
When I was in my early 20s and my struggles with my own sexuality were coming to a head, I looked into enrolling in an Exodus-sponsored program. I was too ashamed to tell people why I’d be going away for however long, so I never pursued it. Thankfully. I have several friends who have gone through such programs and somehow ended up sane, happy people who embrace their sexuality, but I’m not sure I’d have been so lucky.
I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I’d gone through that program or otherwise never accepted the fact that I was gay. I truly believe I’d still be living in the town I grew up in and married to a woman who’d be the greater victim in it all, as I’d most likely be having clandestine trysts with other men by whatever means possible.
When I came out to my parents last year, my father offered to pay for me to go through an Exodus International program. I told him there was nothing wrong with me and I didn’t need to be “cured.” I’m hoping he hears the news of Exodus’s shuttering and realizes the walls of the Southern Baptist Chruch’s anti-gay theology are crumbling around it. I doubt that’s likely, but I’m hoping he’s relieved I didn’t take him up on his offer, as I doubt Exodus International has much of a money-back guarantee, or else it would have closed its doors long ago.
*The last line of the linked article does give me some pause. We’ll have to wait and see what this new, “more welcoming” ministry is all about.
My friend Matt has been blogging a series of interviews with his friends Joe and Dan about their journey to the altar. Part of the discussion touches on the subject of why many people in the gay community are averse to long-term, one-on-one, committed relationships. You know…the dreaded M word: monogamy.
I know several people — straight, gay and bisexual — who have what society would consider non-traditional relationships, whether they be open relationships, polyamorous or what have you, and it works for them. If they’re happy and not hurting anyone else, be happy for them and leave them the heck alone. I also know many people — again, straight, gay and bisexual — who are happy in their monogamous relationships.
However, I’ve taken a lot of heat for wanting a lifelong, one-on-one relationship. Most recently, I was cornered by a straight acquaintance who told me that my being gay gives me the liberty to seek out as non-traditional a relationship as possible. “The last thing you should want is heteronormativity,” he said. And I bristled. I despise being called heteronormative, as it implies that I think something that mimics the “traditional” (quotes intentional) male-female relationship and gender roles is the only option. I don’t think that at all.
Seeing as how we GLBT people are judged and vilified on a daily basis, we should constantly examine our attitudes toward others — especially those within our own community — in order to squelch our own tendencies to judge. Every human has those inclinations, and in the gay community they might take the form of criticizing someone for being too femme or too butch, making fun of bear culture or twinks, mocking our transgender neighbors, wanting a relationship that’s not what we see as the ideal…the list goes on and on.
So, yes, I am ultimately looking for a long-term monogamous relationship. It’s something I rarely bring up in conversation because it often elicits eye rolls, and I didn’t have The M Word on my (now-defunct) online dating profile for a long time, until I realized it was the best way to filter out people who aren’t seeking the same thing I am. And it doesn’t mean I’m a prude when it comes to sex. Sex is a fantastic thing (from what I recall — heh) and sexual compatibility is vital in a lasting relationship. It simply means I know what I’m looking for in my own relationship.
Call me deluded, call me an idealist, call me Pollyanna, call me whatever you want — just don’t call me heteronormative and we’ll get along swimmingly.
Click here to follow Joe and Dan’s story, and scroll to the bottom of the linked page for the first entry.