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Archive for March, 2009

Jake Herbert wins Dan Hodge Trophy

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From: Wrestling Insider News Magazine – via email group.

After turning in a near-perfect season of wrestling, Jake Herbert of Northwestern has been named the winner of the 2009 Dan Hodge Trophy. The trophy is co-sponsored by WIN Magazine and the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum, in Waterloo, Iowa.

On March 21 in St. Louis, Mo., Herbert defeated the defending NCAA champion, Mike Pucillo of Ohio State, to claim his second title at 184 pounds. Herbert finished the season 34-0 and did not surrender a takedown all year. Along the way, he scored 15 pins, four technical falls and nine major decisions.

Herbert is the 15th winner of the trophy, dating back to 1995. It is presented each year to the college wrestler who best represents the dominating style of Dan Hodge, who was an undefeated, three-time NCAA champion for the University of Oklahoma in the 1950s. Hodge is considered one of the three or four greatest pinners of all time, pinning 36 of 46 foes during his career, and 15 of 16 his final season, 1957.

“We have several criteria, including winning the national title and domination on the mat,” said Mike Chapman, creator of the award. “The Dan Hodge trophy was designed to be wrestling’s counterpart of the Heisman Trophy in football, and to reward wrestlers who go all out to dominate the opponent, either by pin or tech falls and major decisions. Jake is a great example of that philosophy.”

“Two things really impress me about Jake. First, he really goes out every match to put a lot of points on the scoreboard or get a pin. That’s what most fans want to see,” said WIN publisher Bryan Van Kley. “And when you take into consideration that he’s doing that at 184, that’s impressive. He’s a very worthy recipient of the award.”

A native of Wexford, Pa., Herbert was a four-time All-American as a Wildcat. He finished third in the NCAA in 2005 and was second the next year with a mark of 33-1. He was 32-0 as a junior, winning the NCAA title at 184. He then took an Olympic redshirt year to try out for the 2008 Olympic Team.

As a Wildcat, Herbert was an amazing 149-4, winning his last 66 matches in a row. His winning percentage of .973 is the highest in Northwestern history. He is second on the all-time Northwestern wins list behind Jack Griffin, who was 156-21-1 (percentage of .879).

“Jake has been the face of Northwestern wrestling for the last five years,” said Tim Cysewski, Northwestern coach. “He heads the list of guys that have made a mark on our program.

“Jack Riley was a two-time NCAA champion back in the 1930s and won a silver medal in the 1932 Olympics. We’ll have to wait and see on the Olympics, but I think Jake’s better than Riley was.”

Herbert was vacationing in California when informed of his selection as the Hodge winner for 2009.

“It makes me so happy to win this great award,” he said. “It’s a great way to cap off the season, and my career.”

Winning the Hodge Trophy was a goal he set for himself prior to his senior year. He approached Brent Metcalf, last year’s winner, and told him he wanted the Hodge Trophy this season. Herbert said that Metcalf told him to go for it.

Watching Metcalf lose in the 149-pound finals, Herbert knew he had to keep his focus for his finals match with Pucillo.

“I couldn’t believe Brent was losing,” he said. “I knew it was probably down to him and me for the Hodge.”

But Herbert didn’t feel any extra pressure himself at that point, he said.

“I felt like Mike (Pucillo) had more pressure on him, being the defending champion and his team still having a chance for the team title,” Herbert said. “I just had to focus and wrestle the best that I could.”

Cysewski, who was a Big Ten champ and All-American at Iowa, feels winning the Hodge Trophy will be a big plus for the Wildcat program.

“In the past, before the Hodge Trophy, wrestlers were focused on winning the Midlands, their conference and the NCAA,” he said. “Now, the Hodge Trophy is added to that list. It’s become a big deal, for sure.

“Jake winning the Hodge provides another sense that we’re doing the right things here at Northwestern. It’s important, and Jake knows


Hillary Clinton leaves flowers for Our Lady of Guadalupe, asks ‘Who painted it?’

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During her recent visit to Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people,” after asking who painted the famous image.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted by Mary on the tilma, or cloak, of St. Juan Diego in 1531. The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena, such as the appearance on Mary’s eyes of those present in the room when the tilma was opened and the image’s lack of decay.

Mrs. Clinton was received on Thursday at 8:15 a.m. by the rector of the Basilica, Msgr. Diego Monroy.

Msgr. Monroy took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been previously lowered from its usual altar for the occasion.

After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”

Clinton then told Msgr. Monroy that she had previously visited the old Basilica in 1979, when the new one was still under construction.

After placing a bouquet of white flowers by the image, Mrs. Clinton went to the quemador –the open air area at the Basilica where the faithful light candles- and lit a green candle.

Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “you have a marvelous virgin!”

This evening Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to receive the highest award given by Planned Parenthood Federation of America — the Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization’s founder, a noted eugenicist. The award will be presented at a gala event in Houston, Texas.


Monday Night…

Do you believe in Love

It is a good day today. I spent some time talking to God about Adam this morning and now we wait on God to make his miracles. I will take him to service tomorrow and set him on the altar. We are on the march to Holy Week and I will be attending services over the weekend.

I went to class early tonight so that I could go over my notes some more before the exam. It was the first time that I have ever taken a “group” exam. We had 38 multiple choice questions and 6 short answers to work on. We reached concensus on all of our answers and we took our time on the short answer questions. I think we did alright.

Now I have a final paper to write for this class which is due in a weeks time on top of my New Testament Studies paper that I am also working on as well. Thank God this semester is coming to an end. Next up will be Biblical Greek over the summer and this class is proving to be very exciting.

Take a few minutes out of your day to pray for Adam. It is crucially important that we give him all the support we can now, as he begins to look for new alternatives to his cancer treatment.

And so that is it for tonight. I need to go eat and work on my sermon on predestination for Curtis.

Stay tuned, more to come…


Effects – from Adam tonight…

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If you believe in the Power of Prayer, I call upon you to pray. If you are a cancer survivor or you know of scientific studies on cancer leave us a comment. This is what Adam had to say tonight.

Goodday Everyone,

My chemo had no effect on anything and although it died in one tumor, it spread to two new spots on my liver.  My HCG is as high as it was during my initial diagnosis and the new chemo regiment is a pill that is more about quality of life than actually beating my cancer.  I was given a timetable on my life and it was not fifty years, in fact it was not even five…two seems likely, months if it is left untreated.

I find out Monday if it would be safe to laser out the lesions (the liver is one organ they can literally burn cancer out of), then I go back on a drug I had a year ago and with good effect.  My cancer does not respond to platinum drugs, meaning all the main drugs they use to treat TC were voided.  This means I went through high dose for basically nothing and could have just had the other two with the same effects.

I am almost happy that I do not have to go through that chemo regimen anymore.  It hurt, it was miserable, and it beat me up.

I am not quitting, or accepting this, and overseas I have learned of some therapies that involve stem cells and other therapies that cure cancer.  I am looking into it because conventional medicide is just not doing the trick.  It is too strong for chemo.

This is starting to annoy me more and more, the consistant failures.  It is frustrating living like this, fighting hard and doing things right just for it to do nothing.  Well, I guess I have to take things into my own hands and research the unconventional methods.  They apparently work very well, and that is the next step.

Well, I was always unconventional…

God Bless,
Adam Frey


Kings review "Serenity"

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There is a sickness that the king [Ian McShane : King Silas Benjamin ] is being called away from the ballet for and the queen does all she can to keep him there with her at any cost. But the king’s team has a plan to get him away from her so that he can return to [Serenity] the code word that his team has put in place to explain his absences from the queen and company. It is all so cloak and dagger…

It seems King Silas has a secret that he has been keeping from the queen in that a relationship with a commoner and has a son who is sick. We find him getting away to [Serenity] to be with his son. Offering up a transfusion to keep him alive. We also find Silas calling on the good reverend preacher for advice as he seems to think that God requires a sacrifice from Silas, which in the end tonight is made [ the cost] as he walks out of the hospital.

The queen [Susanna Thompson : Queen Rose Benjamin] once played the “Borg Queen” on Voyager – does not think highly of David in saying that he is “not that virtuous.” The Queen has orchestrated a night to be with the king because she feels that is what the people want, to see the royal family. And she has worked to keep out her “undesirables” ala David and his new found fame in the kingdom. She thinks that David is taking up too much of the spotlight.

David [Chris Egan : David Shepherd ]gets [dis-invited] to the the Queens ballet production and ends up spending a night with his nemesis Jack, the bad boy. But not only do we see that Jack has brought some of David’s friends from the front, Jack has immense power that he has a command of in public places.

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It seems that Jack’s [Sebastian Stan : Jack Benjamin] story line is getting  juicy. Their first stop at a club finds a very good looking boy who walks in upon Jack and asks him if they can get together “afterwards” because he knows the drill. This young paramour says the words “I love you Jack” which sends Jack into an emotional rage. What about this love? Who is he and will we see more of him???

Jack quickly spurns his male counterpart. In opt for keeping up “straight” appearances for David’s night out. But Jack has ulterior motives – he gets David drunk and David finds himself in the arms of another woman, [ not the princess, Allison Miller: Michelle Benjamin] whom he has been linked to in the last three episodes.

As the night progresses Jack finds himself amid a fistfight in a bar – with his boy toy following him, there are words and the boy toy finds himself being thrown out of the club where Jack has brought his crew of horny and amorous young friends. It seems the Gay Story line is not over by a long shot.

Jack continues on his “straight” track, having one of his henchmen take pictures of David in a most unflattering position, kissing on another woman, and these pictures will be leaked the following morning to the web where the princess can see them and the queen as well, “not so virtuous is he?”

Silas is having to  make a sacrifice for God – David has been caught in a compromising situation and Jack has a skeleton in his closet. A very cute skeleton if I may say so myself.

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So David is not so virtuous and Jack is not so straight afterall. The King has to make a sacrifice for God [ the end of serenity] and the queen is working hard to turn her daughter away from the beautiful boy David. What will happen in next week’s episode?

Stay tuned for More “Kings” on NBC at 8 p.m. Sunday night.


Fifth Sunday of Lent…

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Jesus Predicts His Death: Jn 12:20-33

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

We get to see in John today the High Christology. Jesus is foretelling the death he will suffer to those around him. There are several things we can take from this Gospel. John is the most different from the other Gospels. Just reading the Gospel for reading sake is not enough. One has to engage the text for every word is a piece of information [in the Greek] texts.

The voice from heaven stating that “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again” In John everything happens at the cross. The cross is the signifying piece in the Gospel of John. The High Christology of John becomes apparent. Where the Son of Man meets the Son of God. Because for a Jew death on a cross is abhorrent, so the two Christologies come together and the Son of God is there to make good Jesus’ death on the cross.

“Now the prince of this world will be driven out.” this would be satan. “But I, when I am lifted up [ On the Cross ] from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” There is such a wealth of information to be gleaned from this Gospel when read at close hand. With the death of Lazarus, and Jesus raising him from the dead, Jesus seals his own fate. This was the final straw that drove the people to find a way to kill Jesus. By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus will be Glorified in his resurrection. [Jn. 12:32-33].

Everything happens at the cross. The Son of Man will die and the Son of God will be Lifted Up. Jesus the Son of man will be lifted up, the death of Jesus with his elevation is Glorification encapsulated in the crucifixion scene. It is a Realized Eschatology – at the Cross.

Moving to the 19th Chapter of John [ 19:30] Jesus gives up his spirit at the cross – the Spirit was given. The meaning – the Salvation of the world.

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Everything in John revolves around the person / identity of Jesus. Sin in John is “not believing in the person of Jesus.” John 20:30-31 believing “Jesus is the Son of God” The initial faith one has subjunctive case [in the Greek] faith is something that you continually do, continually believe.


Funk …

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Cue up some music: Sea 89.5 Worldwide.com…

So I have been in a funk for a few days. Kind of feels like a little depression I don’t know if I am working stages once again without knowing it.

It seems that I am suffering from an acute case of Applied Human Sciences student funk. The more one studies the topic of interpersonal relationships the more one changes because of what one is learning in the class. My mind races and all the baggage of the past few months is creeping up on me now. And I don’t have an outlet for all that insanity since I stopped going to meetings. That’s another problem in itself that I will explore further down.

I’ve been feeling the loss of people in my life in an acute way. And it bothers me still, and I am powerless over people, places and things. A few weeks ago one of my friends sucked me into working on our final paper for New Testament studies and it was going really well, we have been busting our asses over sources and writing the paper itself. And after our last jam session my friend started writing a final draft that I was included in working on, choosing our words carefully and writing a solid work. And then he went radio silent when I asked him to email me a copy of the first pages of the paper.

What happened was this: A few days later (last Thursday) he said to me after class that (with his arm around my shoulder) all buddy buddy and so told me that he did not feel right sharing what we had worked on together and to save face I nodded my head in assent not to throw him off because I’ve been cultivating this relationship very closely over the last year … and now he’s come to the point of push me – pull me .

After the fact I was really bent over this. I was a little resentful and angry. I chose not to attend the conference on Friday because I was in response mode and I did not trust my emotions. Yeah so he used me to get to a certain point and then dropped me like a bad habit once again. At least that is how I am processing this event. It is not sitting well with me at all.

I have a rough draft of the paper (on paper) that I was writing out as he was typing into his laptop and I can write the paper by myself – I have the same information that he does so why am I fretting over this like this? Because I am feeling bent over being treated this way. I imgined that once we started that we would take this to the very end together. I guess I was wrong.

Friday morning I got up out of bed and was sitting here checking my mail and hubby was sitting on the sofa and he blurted out that he was going to his parents over Easter and ………. I could have the house to myself (cue the internal conversation – I was not invited to go). It’s not I was expecting him to include me in his plans – but once again I am sitting here like saying what the fuck??? Does nobody care about my feelings? Or is this a big test from God to see just how I am going to react to these goings on. I know that my going to Ottawa would be “touchy” since there is bad blood between me and his brother – but it would have gone over better for me had he asked a question instead of making a blank statement of intent. Am I being too touchy here? He knows that I enjoy having time to myself when he goes to Ottawa, I’ve just got family on the brain right now. And the fact that I have none is rearing its ugly head right now in advance of the upcoming holiday…

This is another example of Applied Human science funk…

So I wrote the good Rev. Canon Joyce the other night looking to see if she was available and she’s been very busy working and now she’s leaving for a pastor’s retreat until Wednesday but she can see me after then. I need to get the parish schedule for the Holy Week events at the Cathedral. Since I will be home alone I don’t have to worry about hubby – because I will be going to church over the weekend. Once again, this year, I will be celebrating Easter alone. I am used to this now, one day someone will notice this little fact and it will change but until then so be it.

Meetings – I have been away from meetings for a month now and it is starting to affect me emotionally. Not having that weekly contact with people is starting to make me a little crazy. I know it is about time for me to start looking for someplace else to go to meetings – but I am weary about putting myself out there once again – I just don’t see the value in investing in another group after all the heartache that I have been through since December. I just don’t know if I can do this right now. But I know I have to because the longer I stay away the more crazy in my head I am going to get.

Not having contact with anyone is making me a lot crazy in the head. All the people I used to talk to on a regular basis are absent from my life and that leaves me sitting in the middle of the room all by myself. I converse with hubby when I need to – but it seems that all of my friends I relied on once are all gone from my life. There has been a dynamic change in my social life and it is starting to make me crazy and bitter. People are going to do what they do whether I like it or not and all of them forget that there are two people in this dynamic and not just once, and it seems that people do not pay attention to the collateral damage they create by doing what they did. And this goes for all the stories listed above.

I am aware of what is going on in my head a bit more because this is the process we are working on in Applied Human Sciences and I understand where I sit in the grand scheme of things. So I am going to talk to my prof on Monday after the class to sort myself out.

I am thinking about the future and what I am going to do after I finish this certificate and I investigated applying to McGill for a Masters of Divinity degree in the Fall and that is going to cost me $100.00 and secondly I am applying to Concordia for my MA in Theology which is another $100.00 in administration and application fees. I know that I can get into the MA program here at Concordia but I am not sure I can get into McGill with the GPA I had at the completion of my BA a few years ago.Everything costs money and there are no guarantees except in staying where I am.

Decisions – Decisions – Decisions…

So that’s where I have been over the last few days…


The Blessed Virgin Mary A Question…

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Was the BVM raped? that’s a good question. Was she forced to conceive? well, from my studies and reading side literature, i like side literature because it helps me form a picture that the bible does not intentionally give us…

I think that Mary acquiesced – that she was a humble woman who had a choice really, she could have said no. But I think the whole angel business did her in emotionally. What other choice could she have made, say no to the almighty – via the angel? Rape is a strong word to associate with biblical scripture. I guess if we look at it logically this big man comes along and says “hey you, the holy spirit is going to overshadow you and you’re gonna conceive and have a child and call him Jesus, what would you do? I get the notion from reading side literature that had she been branded a harlot or someone who was unclean or defiled by another that her life would have been in danger. There is literature out there that posits a man named Pantera a Roman soldier that may have fathered the child. That there was no Divine act taking place, but a human to human union. But I am not well versed on Pantera, or that side of any literature. You’d have to read scholarly work on the subject and not dabble in heresay or heresy. I’ve not explored the other stories about who might have fathered Jesus.

Mary to me seems to be a woman who was raised out of her poverty and elevated to the status as mother of the savior. I don’t think that biblical scholars have seen to attribute anything other than right thought to the biblical stories. When God spoke, you listened. I think that Mary listened. It does however raise the question, “what if she said no?”

Then you have to read ahead in the next passage about Joseph being visited to make sure he kept Mary and did not leave her as he had intended. And also the fact that Elizabeth and her husband were also visited by angels as well, kind of like an angel trifecta. With all that angelic activity, who was going to say no to God?

On the other hand, I think that Mary gave up her humanity to bear the savior and to follow and dote on him as she did. I have read several books on the holy family that give me a picture that Mary was the keeper of Jesus secrets from his childhood. You know she knew he was divine before he did. She knew what miracles he had performed as a boy and she kept those secret. There was immense pressure on her from the very start and including Joseph to protect the child Jesus.

She knew the real story and that at some point in his childhood she explained it to him, and that secret extends into Jesus’ adult life. Mary could not be a normal woman, because she bore the savior. God chose her to do this task, and she had only to say yes, which she did. I’ve never seen any writing that tells me that she ever thought other wise. or that others would postulate the possibility that she resented God for what He did to her. but we could discuss it. It is a real question.


The Annunciation

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Luke 1:26-38
The Birth of Jesus Foretold

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.


From Rev. Bryan Franzen

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Rev. Bryan Franzen
Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church Highstown
Read during Fall Presbytery meeting

At the root of this issue before us today is whether or not people who are gay be able to receive and be received fully into the Body of the church? Let us not kid ourselves. Full inclusion for Gay and Lesbian people means that churches would not patronize the individual but reach out to include them in all of its sacraments, ceremonies, ordinances, and offices.

This is where the issue of ordination, and marriage, enter into the dialogue. When we accept GLBT people into the church we must truly accept them as full participants of the Body, not a weak link since they bring their gifts which God has bestowed on them. However I must state that I really do not think that the underlying issue is the sexual acts performed (or perceived to be performed). Rather, it is a power issue.

Through my ministry both here and in Iowa, I have had many discussions with Gay and Lesbian youth and adults. From their stories and struggles I have come to see the importance of working with them in ways that are not patronizing, but real and honest. And I have come to see, it is as unnatural for a homosexual to be in a heterosexual relationships as it would be for a heterosexual in a homosexual relationship.

I believe that the position that many churches currently hold against sexuality has nothing to do with the actions, rather it is a label bestowed by the group in power upon the those who have no power. I believe that this is rooted in our society and learned at an early age. I also have suspicion that the debate has far more to do with differentness than sexual orientation.

Thinking back to the schoolyard, I start my argument with the asexual term “Gay” which is often brought into a child’s vocabulary long before the child has a clue as to the sexual connotation of that word. Often the label Gay was given to the child that did not fit into the mainstream crowd. Also labeled Queer or Fag, the titles given to the child on the playground did not denote a sexual orientation or really have anything to do with sexual acts; they were a mark of separation from the norm of the greater culture.

As a child begins to develop their sexual identity, if they do have natural homosexual tendencies, they are often forced to make a choice of denying the primal understanding of themselves or accept being different from the power community and possibly reap the persecution. Even if they accept their sexual orientation, most of the time their openness within a community has little to do with the act of sex; rather it has to with honest relationship. Unfortunately, the persecution which they receive is based on perceived sexual acts, Also known as the unknown. People have a natural fear of the unknown, but to persecute people for that fear is wrong!

I do believe that the church’s current stance on homosexuality has very little to do with the actual act of homosexuality. It is an issue of power over the powerless!

The real question before us tonight is whether or not Gay and Lesbian people are part of the covenant with God. The answer, looking at the whole of the Bible has to be yes. GLBT people are not singled out nor are they restricted. In fact they are not even discussed outside of orgies and sex worship. As a community they are standing at the doors of our church and I think the ultimate fear of the members of the mainline church is that they may change us, maybe even force us to be honest and re-examine our relationship with God.

As a church we need to accept them and stop letting the fears of this world guide the relationship we have with God.

I found this posted by The Pastor of Disaster on his new blog:
Open Doors/More Light Presbyterians – Where its at…


Shannon … Sydney Au.

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I know three things:

  1. I need a body
  2. I need a tan
  3. I really need a vacation somewhere warm and sunny…

Go visit Shannon’s Blog Here…


Boys and Cake

Do you have cable tv??? Do you like to watch cooking shows? We do. Especially around midnight weeknights, we have Food Network Challenge.

A show we watch all the time. And we have to talk about the boys who make cake. We often see Jason on Food Network Challenge with different partners and on some shows we have seen Jason and Joshua work on cakes together.

Jason Ellis – from New York and Cakes by Jay.

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Second we have Joshua John’s Cakes from Atlanta Georgia … The cake above is from Jason’s and Joshua’s Food Network Challenge.

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And finally James Rosselle from Los Angeles California you can find his Cake Page [It's a Rosselle].

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I guess you could say that we like the boys who make cakes. Each has their own style and perfection point in cake making. They are Masters at their crafts. Watch Food Network Challenge – CAKE !!! It is interesting when the boys can be found in the same kitchen competing with or against each other.


Monday Musings …

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Let’s begin with a little inspiration. Jake Herbert from Northwestern University in Top Form at the NCAA Championships. Here are a few more from Tech.Fall.com…

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

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YEAH !!! BABY !!!

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Northwestern University Sports Information
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Just as he did in March of 2007, Northwestern senior Jake Herbert completed an undefeated season with a 184-pound national title at the NCAA Championships Saturday in St. Louis. NU’s four-time All-American held off last year’s NCAA champ, Mike Pucillo of Ohio State, by a 6-3 decision to become just the second two-time national title-winner in school history and the first since 1932.

“They say college is the best four to six years of your life and I think I’m proof of that,” said Herbert, who has already earned his degree after taking a redshirt year in 2007-08 to train for the Olympics in Beijing. “College wrestling is an awesome lifestyle. I just have to thank (head coach) Tim Cysewski because I wouldn’t have done any of this without him. I wouldn’t have wanted to wrestle for anybody else and it’s a special kind of guy that can handle me for six years.”

With Herbert’s win, Northwestern separated itself as the only wrestling program in the country to have had an individual national champion in each of the past three seasons. Herbert, who ends his college career on a 66-match winning streak, won his first title in 2007 while Dustin Fox brought home the heavyweight title in March of last year.

“We knew Jake was going to be special when we recruited him and every year Jake has just continued to up the ante for us as coaches,” Cysewski said.

As a team, the ‘Cats came in 13th for the second straight season (46.0 points) to record their fifth consecutive top-15 national finish. Iowa repeated as the team champions with 96.5 points.

Herbert (34-0), the 2009 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year, used the NCAA Championships to put the finishing touches on a four-year varsity career in which he posted a 138-4 record, good for the fifth-best winning percentage (.972) among all Division I wrestlers since the 1974-75 season.

Saturday’s title bout marked the first time Herbert squared off against Pucillo, who moved up a weight class to 197 in NU’s regular season dual match versus the Buckeyes and who lost in the Big Ten Championships before he could meet Herbert.

Nevertheless, Herbert dismissed the possibility of there being any feeling-out period by diving at and grabbing a hold of Pucillo’s right leg just nine seconds into the match. After one restart, Herbert tilted the Buckeye and was on the verge of collecting back points when Pucillo managed to roll off onto his stomach.

Following an escape by Pucillo, Herbert distanced himself with a second takedown but Pucillo continued to hold strong, pulling to within 4-3 in the second on another escape. With Herbert leading 5-3 in the third, Pucillo got a great hold of Herbert’s left leg with 30 seconds remaining but was unable to finish the move as Herbert completed his season without surrendering a takedown. His 1:53 of riding time brought his final winning margin at Northwestern to 6-3, setting off a celebration among NU’s coaches and contingent of fans in the stands at the Scottrade Center.

“I thought it went well,” Herbert said of the much-anticipated matchup against Pucillo. “I did what I needed to do but he made me work for it. He wasn’t going to hand it to me and he wasn’t going to roll over. I didn’t give up a takedown which was good but I think Mike’s a great wrestler and I can see him winning another national title.”

Herbert concludes his career as one of the most decorated Wildcat wrestlers in NU history. He is the program’s only four-time All-American, three-time Big Ten champion and three-time Midlands titlist and ranks second all-time in wins with 149 (including his redshirt season).

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It was a quiet weekend. Not much going on here. The weather has been just dandy although a little on the cold side. We are in the final push for the end of the semester now – and we are all working on papers now.

I don’t have much to say at the moment. I just thought I should put something up here because it has been days since my last post. I will try to get over to the Cathedral for service tomorrow. I am not sure that Joyce is back from New York. So we shall see.

Stay tuned for more later.

Congratulations Jake for a job well done.


Romans and James

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The cafe was packed tonight with people and their laptop comupters. They do good business with all the students who come to work. The Dr. Gagne team got together this evening to work on our ‘Romans and James’ paper, Luigi doing the typing on his laptop and I writing on paper, we got a good portion of our paper written. He is the thinker and I am the writer. We still have a ways to go to finish the paper. We sat for over three hours writing and thinking, drinking coffee and eating muffins.

They were playing some good music. It seemed that the music was played in a certain order from instrumental to pounding vocals, you could see the mood change in the cafe as people were working as the music rose, the talking rose and it almost was frenetic at one point. The music was coming from the speakers and the room was packed with people, then as the music died a lot of the non-students did not hang around long.

We are down to the final few weeks of class, and major papers will be due in the coming weeks. I still have a paper to write for AHSC and I am procrastinating on it terribly. UGH !!! It’s gonna be a nightmare…

that was the day …

stay tuned, more to come later…


Thursday thoughts…

Do you believe in Love

We mourn the passing of Natasha Richardson. Actress of the stage and in film. Because this tragedy happened here in Quebec, there is a lot of talk about prevention in the future of such accidents and over the past three days the discussion of mandatory helmets on the ski slopes has risen. We send our thoughts and prayers to Liam and his sons and family. It was such a tragedy and the people of Quebec feel a greater sense of loss because she was injured on our watch.

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Eternal rest grant her and may perpetual light shine upon her.

Obliquity writes:

“Yesterday’s loss of Ms. Natasha Richardson was a very sad one. Her accidental death has left me in a fog of melancholia I just can’t seem to shake. Such a vibrant, larger-than-life woman was taken from this realm way too early. She had a joie de vivre that was infectious–and a hearty laugh to match. She had numerous memorable film and television roles (’Patty Hearst’, ‘Asylum’, ‘Widows’ Peak’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘The Comfort Of Strangers’), however, it was on the grand stage where she really shined. Her Tony award-winning turn as the inimitable Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’ was a definite iconic moment. But, her range was wide and she gave enthralling performances in such varied works as ‘Anna Christie’, ‘The Seagull’, ‘Closer’ and ‘The Lady From The Sea’. It was on the stage where Ms. Richardson dared you to take your eyes off of her. It was, of course, a futile proposition. She commanded the entire theatre’s attention and she gave back a sense of humanity and spirit that was indelible.

Beyond her obvious beauty and numerous talents, Ms. Richardson was a doting mother, wife and humanitarian. She gave of herself freely for many charitable causes and endeavors. She was one of the rare few who just didn’t use her prestigious family and fame to raise money, but instead volunteered of her time and experience in too many causes to name. But, it was her enduring work on behalf of the Foundation For AIDS Research (amfAR) that will surely stand as a testament to what a remarkable human being she was. HIV/AIDS remained a personal issue for Ms. Richardson after the death of her father Tony from AIDS-related causes. Mr. Richardson was openly bisexual. In addition to her work for amfAR, Ms. Richardson participated in numerous other AIDS charities, including Bailey House, Gods Love We Deliver, Mother’s Voices, AIDS Crisis Trust and National AIDS Trust.”

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It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood once again – we seem to be on a warming trend. It is (4c) today which is really nice. The sun is shining and people are starting to bike, skateboard and roller blade here in the downtown core. Almost all the ice has melted on sidewalks and gardens here and there. They are saying that next week we might get some rain and possible flurries. We are being tested by mother nature, she gives us a few good days then she rains on our parade… not fair !!!

Other than that, I am working on my papers for AHSC and New Testament studies. Things are coming along nicely. I finished my business with my ex-home group on Tuesday. Rick warned me not to stay away too long. I told him I wouldn’t.

I am just not ready to go out and have to deal with all the bullshit from other members in this city. I know many of them and they can’t seem to get past me being gay or out in the open like I am. I just don’t know that I want to put up with that shit again. I’ve got enough time banked and my spiritual life is just as good as it has been so, I am in no rush to reconnect. I may never reconnect. Who knows. Getting reconnected is not at the top of my list of things to do right now.

Someone sent me an email yesterday asking about my profile and bio here on the blog. So let me put it to rest right here and now. Yes I am Gay and Yes I am married to another man. It’s called a same sex union, we have those in Canada. I did not approve the comment because this is an incendiary topic and I won’t entertain incendiary conversations. I choose my battles wisely.

So stay tuned more to come later …


Grappling with scandal

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By Stan Grossfeld – Boston Globe Online

EDINBORO, Pa. – Wrestling had been Paul Donahoe’s life since he was 6 years old and pinned his first opponent in a mere six seconds. In high school, he was chosen Mr. Wrestler for the state of Michigan in 2004. In college, he was a two-time All-American and a national champion at the University of Nebraska.

And then, in less time than it took him to pin an opponent, his life was tangled up in blue.

Donahoe and teammate Kenny Jordan were dismissed from the Nebraska wrestling team last Aug. 12 after a campus blog posted pictures of them taken from a website that features photos and videos of naked male athletes for a gay audience. Nebraska, citing NCAA rules that prohibit the use of an athlete’s image for commercial gain, also accused Donahoe of additional violations.

Donahoe was shattered.

“It was very stressful,” he says. “It was two weeks before school started.”

But with the help of his Michigan high school coach, Donahoe transferred to Edinboro University and was reinstated by the NCAA after sitting out a semester.

This season, the 5-foot 5-inch senior is unbeaten (32-0) and ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 125-pound class. But he has been stung by negative publicity and what he perceives as a double standard in sports.

“I didn’t do anything illegal,” he says. “I didn’t hurt anyone. I don’t think I did anything wrong. Who should I apologize to?”

At Saturday’s NCAA wrestling championships in St. Louis, Donahoe plans on being a national champion again, just as he was in 2007. There’s a fire in his belly.

“Being dismissed motivated me a little bit,” he says. “I’m a competitive person. But, realistically, 32-0 doesn’t matter. The regular season is just preparation for the NCAA.”

Bruce Baumgartner, the Edinboro University athletic director, is a four-time Olympic medalist in wrestling. He was chosen to carry the US flag in the 1996 opening ceremonies in Atlanta. He saw a trembling Muhammad Ali light the Olympic torch decades after refusing to fight in Vietnam. He believes in redemption and took a chance on Donahoe.

“We’ve all made mistakes,” says Baumgartner. “Not that I condone what he did, but there are players all across the country on college teams that actually have broken the law or harmed people that are still competing.”

“We decided we would give him an opportunity to get an education at Edinboro University while competing, hopefully, for another national championship. To me the graduation is more important than the title.”

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Publicity and ridicule

Edinboro is in northwestern Pennsylvania, nestled in a triangle roughly 110 miles from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo. For Donahoe, it might as well be heaven.”They obviously gave me a second chance to wrestle again,” he says. “I’m thankful for that. It’s everything to me. I think the new coaches and new workout partners really helped me.”

At a news conference at Edinboro when he arrived on campus, Donahoe’s eyes filled with tears when he was asked about the scrutiny following him to his new school. He also lost 24 credits in the transfer and won’t graduate until July.

He has been the butt of many jokes and ridicule on the Internet.

“I am straight, but on the forums people make a lot of gay jokes about me,” he says. “I’m not too concerned. They can talk about me all they want, it doesn’t matter. If a guy wants to be with a guy, who cares?”

He’s telling his story now because he believes college wrestling needs more exposure, no pun intended. Some programs have been eliminated, while others are threatened by budget cuts.

“I want people to watch the sport,” he says. “It’s not like other sports. It’s not something that you go out and do for fun, because if you go out there and someone’s tougher than you, you’re going to take some whipping. But once you become a wrestling fan, I’m pretty sure you’ll always be a wrestling fan.”

Tim Flynn, the Edinboro wrestling coach, took some advice from Donahoe’s Davison (Mich.) High School coach, Roy Hall.

“He said he’s a great kid, but he doesn’t always make the right choices,” says Flynn. “He needs guidance, which they all do, but he’s going to be the hardest-working kid in the room, which he is.”

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Complex persona

Donahoe’s friends say he’s complicated, that his life is a dichotomy.

For example, he agrees to pose nude and appear in a porn video but has trouble giving a simple talk in front of his speech class at Edinboro.

“My biggest fear is public speaking,” he says. “I get so nervous before I go on. I don’t know why. Isn’t that funny? I can wrestle on ESPN and it doesn’t bother me.”

Donahoe always has been different. When he was 6, he begged his parents to sign him up for a wrestling match.

“I pinned a kid in six seconds,” he says. “That was my first match.”

Donahoe’s parents had five children, but then went through a messy divorce. He says his family is lower middle class. He wears ripped jeans and drives an old white Grand Am with directional signals that don’t work.

“I’ve basically been on my own since I was a freshman in high school,” he says.

Jennifer Hall, the wife of Roy Hall – Donahoe says they are like parents to him – was even blunter.

“There isn’t any money to be had,” she says. “He’s a great kid, but complicated. He’ll do whatever it takes to survive.”

“Obviously, I did it for the money,” he says. “We kept thinking no one would ever find out because it was a gay website and we really wanted that money.”

He says it started when he received offers on his Myspace page.

“They left me a lot of messages, so I thought, ‘What the heck?’ People do worse for money, so . . .”

His expenses were covered for a trip to Los Angeles and he was paid several thousand dollars. He was given the name “Nash” and identified as being from New England. He and Jordan were shown DVDs of naked women.

“They were very professional,” says Donahoe. “But me and Kenny both thought it was weird.”

He doesn’t consider what he did pornography.

“Maybe the site, yeah, but me personally, no,” he says. “I don’t think so.”

Once the video was posted, Donahoe was initially identified by the letter “N” and the word “wrestling” tattooed on his left thigh.

“They were supposed to cover it up but obviously they left it,” he says. “Gay kids in Lincoln [Neb.] wrote, ‘Hey, nice website. I saw you.’ I wrote back, ‘Don’t tell anyone,’ but with word of mouth, people found out.”

Donahoe was tossed off the team but not out of the university. Nebraska self-reported the violation to the NCAA.

“They said I promoted my image,” says Donahoe. “That’s illegal in the NCAA rules. I had to pay all the money back, a couple of thousand, to a nonprofit.

“I believe it was unfair for Nebraska to dismiss me from the team. For one, there’s plenty of athletes throughout the University of Nebraska who have had DUIs and who have been in fights and are still playing. But I guess that’s OK. Posing nude, I guess, is worse than someone drinking and driving and risking someone’s life, in their eyes.”

At a news conference last August, Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne denied that the wrestlers were railroaded. He said the university had notified the NCAA about another issue involving Donahoe last March but declined to be specific.

Donahoe says it was over an iPod.

“We get gifts at the Big 12 tournament,” he says. “We got a touch iPod and I sold it because I already had one, and that’s an NCAA violation and they turned me in for that. They just threw that in there to make it sound like I was worse, probably.”

He also was cited for having a disorderly house party and having an open container of an alcoholic beverage.

“They didn’t want me on their team, and they have no shot at winning the NCAA this year,” says Donahoe.

Last year, Donahoe finished third in the NCAAs despite a dislocated shoulder. Nebraska’s wrestling team is currently ranked fourth in the nation. Edinboro, a Division 2 school with a Division 1 wresting program, is 14th.

Support is out there

Edinboro teammate Gregor Gillespie, a national champ himself, says his teammates admire Donahoe.

“He’s really cool,” says Gillespie. “Before the season, a lot of people were talking bad about him. Like, ‘We don’t want him at our school.’ Right now, he’s proving people wrong. He’s had to switch coaches, schools, friends, that had to be a pain. He’s heard people yelling stuff like ‘homo,’ but none of that bothers him, he just brushes that all off.”

Donahoe says the reaction to him is “way more positive than negative.” He has more than 1,400 friends on Facebook.

“I’ve had a ton of people Myspace me and say, ‘I hope everything works out,’ ” he says. “I read them all. I’m thankful for people supporting me.

“The plan is to win this weekend. Watch ESPN. I’m pretty tough. Just say I’m a survivor.”

He also plans on attending USA Wrestling’s World Team trials in May and then making the Olympic team.

Some producers from New York contacted Donahoe about starring in a new reality show, he says, flashing a smile.

“I never got back to them.”


US endorses UN gay rights text

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By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on Wednesday formally endorsed a U.N. statement calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, a measure that former President George W. Bush had refused to sign.

The move was the administration’s latest in reversing Bush-era decisions that have been heavily criticized by human rights and other groups. The United States was the only western nation not to sign onto the declaration when it came up at the U.N. General Assembly in December.

“The United States supports the U.N.’s statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and is pleased to join the other 66 U.N. member states who have declared their support of the statement,” said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

“The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world,” Wood told reporters. “As such, we join with other supporters of this statement, and we will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora.”

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the administration would endorse the statement.

Gay rights groups hailed the move.

“The administration’s leadership on this issue will be a powerful rebuke of an earlier Bush administration position that sought to deny the universal application of human rights protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals,” said Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality, which promotes equal rights for homosexuals.

“This is long past overdue and we are encouraged by the signal it sends that the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will now be considered human rights,” said Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Human rights groups had criticized the Bush administration when it refused to sign the statement when it was presented at the United Nations on Dec. 19. U.S. officials said then that the U.S. opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but that parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.

According to negotiators, the Bush team had concerns that those sections could commit the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In some states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military.

But Wood said a “careful interagency review” by the Obama administration had concluded that “supporting this statement commits us to no legal obligations.”

When it was voted on in December, 66 of the U.N.’s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration, which backers called an historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with anti-gay discrimination. It was endorsed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia and Mexico.

But 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality — and in several, homosexual acts can be punished by execution. More than 50 nations, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, opposed the declaration.

Some Islamic countries said at the time that protecting sexual orientation could lead to “the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts” such as pedophilia and incest. The declaration was also opposed by the Vatican.


Sources: US to sign UN gay rights declaration

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By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that then-President George W. Bush had refused to sign, The Associated Press has learned.

U.S. officials said Tuesday they had notified the declaration’s French sponsors that the administration wants to be added as a supporter. The Bush administration was criticized in December when it was the only western government that refused to sign on.

The move was made after an interagency review of the Bush administration’s position on the nonbinding document, which was signed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Congress was still being notified of the decision. They said the administration had decided to sign the declaration to demonstrate that the United States supports human rights for all.

“The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world,” said one official.

“As such, we join with the other supporters of this statement and we will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora,” the official said.

The official added that the United States was concerned about “violence and human rights abuses against gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual individuals” and was also “troubled by the criminalization of sexual orientation in many countries.”

“In the words of the United States Supreme Court, the right to be free from criminalization on the basis of sexual orientation ‘has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom’,” the official said.

Gay rights and other groups had criticized the Bush administration when it refused to sign the declaration when it was presented at the United Nations on Dec. 19. U.S. officials said then that the U.S. opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but that parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.

According to negotiators, the Bush team had concerns that those parts could commit the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In some states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military.

It was not immediately clear on Tuesday how the Obama administration had come to a different conclusion.

When it was voted on in December, 66 of the U.N.’s 192 member countries signed the declaration — which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with anti-gay discrimination.

But 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality — and in several, homosexual acts can be punished by execution. More than 50 nations, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, opposed the declaration.

Some Islamic countries said at the time that protecting sexual orientation could lead to “the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts” such as pedophilia and incest. The declaration was also opposed by the Vatican.


“Kings” Warps the Story of David and Jonathan

This article contains major plot points from Sunday night’s episode of Kings, as well as minor spoilers for the next two episodes.

The new NBC show Kings that premiered last night in a two-hour movie is supposedly a modern-day retelling of the Biblical story of David. Sure enough, the main character defeats “Goliath” – which, in the case of Kings, happens to be a tank.

And the character of Jack, the prince and “true” heir to the throne that David is destined for, is gay – just as his biblical counter-part, Jonathan, probably was.

But that’s just about the only gay element that Kings gets right.

In the Bible, Jonathan definitely loves David – and it’s literally love at first sight. “When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul,” says the Bible’s Book of Samuel of Jonathan and David’s first meeting.

Later, Jonathan is a strong ally of David. He’s the one who warns David that King Saul is plotting to kill him, because Jonathan “took great delight in David.” Even though he’s the actual heir to the throne, Jonathan recognizes that David is the true king, chosen by God.

But in Kings, Jack is mostly a villain – and a pretty stereotypically gay one at that: pretty and perfectly groomed, self-centered and vain, bitter and entitled, scheming, yet ultimately cowardly.

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Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack

It’s familiar gay ground, in movies such as such as Cruel Intentions and in virtually every vampire movie ever made. Indeed, the actor who plays Kings’ gay prince, Sebastian Stan, even played a similar role before, in the 2006 film The Covenant.

In the first four episodes made available to AfterElton.com for preview by NBC, Jack isn’t an ally of David’s; instead he repeatedly tries to undermine him. And he does all this in his scheming, mostly cowardly way.

He’s a rich, complicated character, but he’s still a bad guy, the “dark” entitled prince up against the “light” chosen prince, competing for the affections of the current king: think Val Kilmer’s “Iceman” in Top Gun versus Tom Cruise’s “Maverick.”

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Ian McShane (left) as King Silas and Christopher Egan as David

In addition, while there are several hints that Jack might be attracted to David, he seems to be motivated not by love, but by jealousy because David loves his sister, the princess, and not him.

But by far the biggest difference between Kings and its Biblical source material is the fact that in the Bible, David is probably gay or bisexual too, and he loves Jonathan back.

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“David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground,” the Bible reads. “He bowed three times, and [he and Jonathan] kissed each other, and wept with each other. David wept the more.”

When Jonathan is killed, David mourns him, saying, “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”

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Whether or not David and Jonathan were actual lovers is the subject of debate, but many scholars interpret the relationship to have been a romantic one. Indeed, unless you’re blinded by anti-gay prejudice, it’s almost impossible not to see it as such.

In short, the biblical chronicle of David and Jonathan is one of the Bible’s few gay love stories. It’s also one of very few positive gay elements in the entire notoriously homophobic Bible.

Despite Kings’ claims that it is a “retelling” of David’s story, a gay love story is clearly not the direction the show is going. In the show, Jack may yet express his open love for David, and might even assist him somehow. But it seems pretty clear that David is thoroughly heterosexual and will almost certainly never love Jack back.

In other words, Michael Green, the creator of Kings, has chosen to keep the Bible’s likely-gay aspect of the character of Jonathan, but then turned him into a scheming villain, while at the same time, completely eliminating any “gay” element to the story’s primary hero, David.

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It’s part of a long history where characters based on gay figures from history or legend – people such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Achilles, Gilgamesh, Alexander the Great, and the ancient Spartan warriors – are “de-gayed” for movie or TV adaptations. In addition, Hollywood has a history of turning gay characters from fiction into heterosexual ones for the film versions, in projects such as Fried Green Tomatoes, and the plays of Tennessee Williams.

“I think what you might be concerned about, or what your readership might be concerned about is that we’re playing into the cliché that the straight guy is great and the gay guy is evil,” Michael Green, Kings‘ creator, tells AfterElton.com in an interview in response to this essay. “I don’t think we fall into that cliché at all. I think if you give us your time and attention, you’ll be very surprised at what both of those characters are capable of in the positive and in the negative sense. No one in our show is clearly good. No one in our show is clearly evil. They have far, far different journeys to go on.”

Green admits that the character of Jack’s homosexuality was inspired by the interpretation that the biblical character was also gay, but promises that the character is no cartoon villain.

“My goals are to take my characters and put them in the most interesting situation and then see how they behave, so I can’t give Jack any special protection because he’s gay or straight,” he says. “I think that would be the more backwards way of looking at it. There are times [Jack] does incredibly noble things. There are times he does incredibly shitty things. And he is a character, and this season perhaps more than any other, who is struggling between his better and lesser angels, or his angels and demons, if you will. And a lot of that has to do with the world he was brought up in. I am much more interested in Jack as a character who, if he had been brought up in a kinder family, might have been a kinder person. He might have been a happier person. But he was born into a family where the presumption is that power is an inherent good that you must want more of, and that colors his personality far more than his preferences.”

Read the entire interview with Michael Green here.

There’s no denying that Jack is an interesting, multi-dimensional character. But in the first four episodes at least, David is very clearly the hero, and Jack is just as clearly his adversary, and pretty vicious to boot. Meanwhile, while Jack is gay, David is not.

Kings is a great show, and these may even be great storylines. But as in so many other retellings, Kings is almost the complete opposite of its historical source, the Bible, at least when it comes to the gay parts.

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As a Theology student we can take a look at scripture and read for ourselves about these things. If you are interested in these passages you can read from 1 Samuel chapters 18 onwards through Second Samuel.

First: 1 Samuel 18:1-4

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

Let us look at Scripture once More: 2 Samuel 1: 17-27

David’s Lament for Saul and Jonathan

David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan,  and ordered that the men of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):

“Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights.
How the mighty have fallen!

“Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

“O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain .
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

From the blood of the slain,
from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.

“Saul and Jonathan—
in life they were loved and gracious,
and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.

“O daughters of Israel,
weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

“How the mighty have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.

I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.

“How the mighty have fallen!
The weapons of war have perished!”


NBC's 'Kings' takes up gay interpretation

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Found on: Bilerico Project:
Filed by: Matt Comer

Well… at least slightly so, that is. I watched the premiere of NBC’s allegorical “Kings” over the internet last night. Work at the paper on Sunday evening kept me away from the debut and my favorite weekly viewing pleasure, “Big Love.”

“Kings,” a modern-day retelling of the classic David story of the Hebrew Bible, is set amidst the backdrop of a modern metropolis, complete with a New York City-style skyline and contemporary issues — modern warfare, healthcare issues, the paparazzi, the “free press” and, yes, homosexuality.

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The David and Goliath, David and Jonathan, and David and Saul stories flow onto the TV screen from the pages of scriptural history (excuse my obvious Southern, evangelical phrasing — it’s the way I was raised). But NBC’s modern-day take doesn’t completely align with the stories (mainly from Samuel 1 and 2 and Kings). Despite the presence of a gay character (which the Bible also has, unless you’re reading it from an definitive anti-gay bias), “Kings” shifts the plot and story lines a bit, but what else is to be expected from 21st century media? (Picture above: King Silas and David Shepherd.)

In the TV drama, King Saul becomes “King Silas Benjamin” (a throwback to the fact that Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin). David becomes “David Shepherd” (how cute) and Saul’s son Jonathan becomes “Jack.”

But unlike the Biblical story, there’s only one gay or bisexual character. In Scripture, one can easily interpret David and Jonathan’s love for one another as a romantic relationship. In “Kings,” it is likely the main character won’t have any gay trysts. But that doesn’t rule out any longing Jack might develop for the young David.

Critics have called out NBC’s choice to portray Jack as a villain. That view isn’t entirely correct. First and foremost, the show, like the Biblical story and life, have no clear cut “heroes” or “villains” — each of the characters are complex.

While no one can argue that the character isn’t portrayed as a spoiled, royal brat, there are plenty of scenes in which Jack shows some humanity. He is a capable military leader who is tripped by the scheming and plotting ways of his royal father. He feels pain and loss after the death of his military comrades. He tries desperately to please his father, the only man he wants to please, despite having the respect of the entire military.

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Previews from critics made privy to the first four hours of the show and those who interviewed the show’s creator say give the show time: each character will have their own unique journeys. Perhaps we can attribute Jack’s seemingly villainous ways to the forced double life he must lead. In the two-hour premiere, Silas tells Jack, in no uncertain terms, that if he is to be king, he cannot “be what God made you to be.” (Picture above: King Silas calls out his son Jack on his late-night activities with other boys, after his “shows of skirt-chasing.”)

I’m excited to see what the show holds for the future. I’ve always loved the story of David, even before I came out and heard of its obviously gay interpretation. NBC’s “Kings” has promise.

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I happen to see this episode and found the show to be very compelling. It will be interesting to see where they take the characters in the future.


St. Patty's Day

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Are you wearing green today?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day … Off to school for me…

Until later…


The Gerasene Demoniac – Close reading

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Mark 5:1-20 – The Gerasene Demoniac

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis (Ten Cities) how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

  1. Where is Jesus before he arrives in the country of the Gerasenes?
  2. Look at a map of Palestine (of that time) from your bibles, and locate Garaza in the Decapolis. How does the location of the city complicate matters?
  3. In what way is the evil spirit described?
  4. What “Titles” are attributed to Jesus in this story?
  5. Does this text recall other texts found in the Biblical tradition?

If you are up for the challenge and you have your bibles handy, take a few minutes and do the assignment. And see HOW we are to read this passage from scripture. Do we read it Literally or Theologically?

Mark has a problem with geography in his gospel as this story will demonstrate if you take the time to find the map and answer the questions.

Answers:

  1. Jesus is in Galilee (on the Western side of the Sea of Galilee).
  2. Geraza is 35 km from the Eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee, in the desert. If you read in Matthew (8:28-34)  and Luke (8:26-39), they offer other cities in their stories. It is all about location. Gadara is about 9 km from the Eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee. Still if we read the story, Jesus gets out of the boat and immediately meets the demoniac. And the story takes place by a lake because that is where the swine meet their demise.
  3. Legion, Unclean Spirits (Legion – referring to the Roman contingent of soldiers), for we are many, demons, evil spirits
  4. Jesus, Son of the Most High God (Christological, Messianic title)
  5. Yes, from the book of Exodus when the Egyptian soldiers were following Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea, the soldiers and horses were drowned by the waters that Moses had parted. Exodus 14:21-31.

David – Revisited … My memory

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Above (in the header) as well, you will see this most beautiful mural, which hangs above the altar in the chapel of Saint John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. This is the altar. The Chapel is built in the configuration of a cross if looked down from above. The altar is located in the center of the transept with seating to the left and right of the ‘transept,’ confessionals also line the walls of the transept arms. The sacristy is located in the ‘chancel’ and the main congregation sits in the ‘nave’ of the chapel. It is a most beautiful building with high walls, murals and stained glass, and floor to ceiling glass doors line the 5 sides of the transept and nave.

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The year that I was in Seminary, I spent a great amount of time in this chapel. There are several smaller chapels located on the grounds and in the common living space, in the resident hall next door to the main chapel. If you look to the right of the altar hangs the blessed sacrament candle.

I tell the story of David, my best friend. He died in the Spring of 1987. I had spoken to him prior to his death and I knew he loved me. On the night of his wake, at the funeral home, the priest had a seizure and I had to finish the prayer service for the attendees. Upon my arrival back at the seminary, it was stormy outside. I was bereft in my sadness and grief. It was really not pretty. I was kneeling in the front (right) pew in front of the altar. It was late, and dark outside.

I heard one of the confessional doors open and close in the right of the transept. I heard footsteps come around the altar stones, the floor is stone and marble. The foot steps stopped in the center of the main aisle in front of the altar. The Altar Candle exploded and lit up the mural you see behind it, it was a most glorious vision. David was standing there before me, and told me not to weep, that he was ok, and that he would watch over me. To this day, I have his Glorious Mary Medallion which I never leave the house without. It hangs on a chain I wear with my other medallions.

Every time I look at this picture, I am reminded of this story…

So in his memory, I share it with you…

I love you David…

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The Doughnuts and the Bears

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So you all want a story? ok. I will tell one maybe two.

David and I were young then. And we were tent mates. This trip forced us to go without certain items for a period of days. We had to carry what we ate, so we did not shop for junk food or munchies. We all had huge packs that we carried our tents, supplies, clothing and our bibles.

Each night one of us had to prepare a Bible Study for the group. I need to tell you that there were some very strong personalities on this trip. And I was the littlest boy there.

So on the hike we had access to a store once. John attempted to keep me level headed and sane by limiting my access to sugar, because I was totally hyperactive. David and I usually found ways around that. And on this particular day we got around that problem. We spent a good amount of cash on goodies, sugar items and doughnuts.

Every night we had to sack our food and hang it from a tree limb so that the bears would not get our food. There was a group of scouts a few days ahead of us on the hike that kept getting hit by bears. I never saw a bear on the hike.

David and I hid our stash of sugar in our tin pot kits that we could eat out of – they were two piece pan that had space inside to put stuff. We were in our tent one night (that night) and bears came lumbering through the camp. The food was all up a tree, but we had sugar there on the ground. So what do you do to make sure that the bears dont find the sugar?

YOU EAT everything that was in the stash – licking clean the paper wrappers and licking the pots clean so as not to attract a bear to get into our tent. We laughed so hard, but it really wasn’t funny. David was a hoot…

Story two

There were little rest areas on the hike where there were shelters and one one particular day we came across this shelter and next to it was an out house. Now an outhouse on a trail was much better than shitting in the bush…

And we all took our turns in the out house. On the floor in the corner of the outhouse was a small bundle of stuff. You never knew where animals will pop up on the hike. And so I was sitting on the throne of thought and this little bundle of stuff began to move. I raised my feet off the floor and did my business and left the outhouse and its little foreign occupant.

One of the girls went in to do her business and a mouse came running out of the bundle of stuff across the floor of the outhouse and scared the shit out of her. I never saw someone come out of an outhouse so fast in my life. It was hysterical.


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