Where can you get over $600.00 in MX gear for cheap? EBAY … You never know when something is gonna hit that you can’t pass up. I’ve been looking at race gear to go with my boots that I got for Christmas and everything I have come across runs $100-$150.00 per pant and $50 – $100 per shirt to buy them right from a dealer or professional site.
So I jumped at the occasion to buy this lot of gear for a mere $55.00 plus shipping which is a steal. I am planning some new things for the summer here in Montreal and maybe take a trip to do some motorbiking in a foreign country, I’ve been mesmerized by ENDURO videos on You Tube from all over the world as of late, and I want to do something exciting this year. I guess you could say that that is one of my resolutions for the new year.
I had lunch with my mentor yesterday and we talked about my Grad Student career and he gave me some good advice that I have been following up on today. He said that I should get in contact with student services on campus and see when they will offer grad student writing courses, to help me work on my writing.
The second piece of advice was to consult the campus vocational director to see if there are any work possibilities for the future since I do have my two degrees. I also put in a call to the Monsignor yesterday to go talk to him to find out if I could get a break into diocese work.
I am still seeking answers to the question – What am I doing here? I need to sit down with my program director since I haven’t seen him since classes ended in December. Last night I went to class and we had a guest presenter to do a presentation on Hermeneutics and Biblical Scripture in Africa. What is the meaning of scripture in a contemporary setting. It was good. My friend Judy was the one to present her work to us. She is going to Kenya next month for a 4 month sabbatical to work and teach. THAT is Amazing … I want to do stuff like that.
We’ll see …
That’s about all for now … More to come. Stay tuned …
As I write this I’m sitting in a garage waiting for my car to be done, so please forgive my spelling and short words.
I’ve been talking to God about you, for you, since I received your letter. It seems like a very difficult spot you are in right now, very discouraging for you.
I think its wise to use these times to confirm that we are going in the direction God has for us to go. Sometimes we get moving along and don’t hear the subtly of the spirit so he uses heavy shots across our bow. Is this where he wants you to be? Doing what he wants you to do? Apart from the financial necessity of keeping going, is there a sense that he wants you there right now?
He could provide for you differently if he’s asking you to do something else. But it takes great courage to face that question. Great courage and faith.
Maybe he desires to make your education more experiential rather than academic.
The more I think about and pray for you the more it feels to me like he wants to do a deep work in your heart. these “deep works” are often preceded by crisis times. These times are invitations to go deeper in faith. Like Moses at the red sea he invites us to faith by positioning us in a place where we are unable to accomplish it ourselves. We can lean into him and trust him to do in us what needs to be done, or we can turn away because we are not ready for the invitation.
This work actually changes our insides, our spirits. We look more and more like Christ Jesus and less like ourselves.
These times come to help us, deepen us, create real faith in us. If they did not then all we would have is a head knowledge of religion. If we are going to be used of God, our faith needs to be real.
I know on one hand it sounds cliche but to lean into Christ for strength, support and direction will not be a waste of time.
He may say you’re done this part of your education for now. He may give you super strength and clarity to accomplish the task. He may help you with friends and support systems that sustain you for years. Or he may give you just what you need for any given day. But whatever happens, you will deepen in your walk with him, if you lean into him.
Use it as a discernment time, as an invitation to go deeper, as a possibility for Him to work the faith into your spirit.
And I shall pray.
Use what is good from this email and toss the rest and may Gods will and blessing and peace rest with you Jeremy.
My response tonight:
It’s almost over, and I think it is important to look back over the last year and see what happened over the last 12 months.
In January I began another set of classes to finish my Pastoral Ministry Certificate. It was a tough semester with Applied Human Sciences and the New Testament and my Pastoral Ministry Practicum, which I excelled at. January was a big month. It was all about Barack Obama, and the Audacity of hope that was coming to America.
My friend Sam was very pregnant with James. And his birth would come on inauguration day, January 20th. He has grown into quite a good looking boy almost a year after his birth.
Bishop Gene Robinson caused a fruckus because he was to give the invocation at the Grand Inaugural Concert – which was not shown on the HBO telecast, which caused a great deal of consternation to the LGBTQ community. Where +Bishop Gene goes, controversy follows.
On January 31st we buried a long time member of AA in Montreal, Sylvia was a fixture in Montreal sober circles and it was a grand day at St. Monica’s she was remembered well.
In February I learned that family members were on Facebook, and after several failed attempts at communication – that door remains closed. It was quite a drama for me in sobriety. That was a bitter pill to swallow.
March was up in the air… I want to share some writings from Adam during the month of March. This comes on March 29th 2009 …
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…
On April 25th 2009 we lost Bea Arthur – at age 86.
The month of May was a tough month for me, as things in my medical circle began to change and I was diagnosed with Type two Diabetes. It was quite a shock, I got real sick and began to loose my vision. After some serious doping by my doctor they got my numbers under control. My diabetes is quite in check today.
Here is a letter from Adam – from May the 17th 2009 …
You know, I think things get darkest before they dawn. I just wish I knew how dark things would be. Until a few days ago, I was pretty bitter. Bitter, angry, frustrated, just pissed off at the situation. I am sure you can understand.
Then it hit me. Who am I to hold grudges. If God can forgive and let things go, why have I been holding grudges, some for years, some with poeple that do care about me. Some over things that are sort of outlandish. I had a moment in prayer and I vowed to let it go. I got the notion that God came in right there and a calm fell.
I told him I was sorry for my stubborness and rage and that I in fact wanted to be a miracle…for surely I cannot spread hope and love in a box. By days end I started feeling better. I started having night sweats…which is the number one symptom of a REGRESSING cancer. Maybe I needed to change my
goals and path to what he wants it to be.
From the little I know about you, you have been declared terminal and changed your path and seem to be doing ok. I think I needed to change mine, and maybe I just needed to be pushed to the breaking point and past it to realize that.
The month of June brought a spate of deaths …
On June 25th we lost two powerhouse people, Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett. We watched a lot of tv that day, it was all about Michael. That same day was the last time we had a torrential rain/hail storm in the city.
I also applied to the Department of Theology to pursue my Masters in Theology, and was subsequently accepted into the MA Program.
In July the world lost an Icon of Television broadcasting. Walter Cronkite died at the wise age of 92.
I turned the ripe old age of 42, without pomp and circumstance on July the 31st. It was a very sedate affair. My fourties has been all about hindsight.
August 24th was the 3rd anniversary of the death of my great aunt Sister Georgette. On August the 26th we lost the a lion of the senate U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy died after battling brain cancer.
I finished my studies over the Summer of 2009 – ending my pursuit of my Certificate in Pastoral Ministry with my massive missive of working in Task Groups for professor Bright.
With the start of the Fall Semester I became a Graduate Student in the Department of Theology. Do I regret that today? NO, but I am unsure of the future.
I started going to the gym at the new EV building something I enjoy doing and something that I haven’t done in a while because of school.
The month of September brought illness to my hubby who ended up in the Montreal General with intestinal issues. And after 48 hours spent in the ER and massive doses of morphine and being poked and prodded by this one and that one we brought him home with medication which seemed to be the ticket to good health. He hasn’t had another problem since then.
My friend Carmi lost him father on September the 22nd. The funeral was here in Montreal at Paperman and Sons. I went to pray with Carmi’s family and about 200 friends and family. The chapel was packed. His dad was well loved.
October brought another death to the world, that of Stephen Gately of the boy band BOYZONE. He was only 33 years old. So young and gone from the world.
In November the fear of Swine Flu invaded the airwaves worldwide and clinics were opened to inoculate as many people with the swine flu vaccine as possible to circumvent a world wide pandemic. I got my shot on November the 9th.
On November the 19th the world was shocked to find out that Oprah Winfrey told us that she would end her long running television show in September of 2011. The world took a collective gasp and television stations began to ponder how they would fill the void after her television departure.
December was a very rough month. I finished my first semester as a graduate student and I did not do as well as I had expected. In fact nothing I wrote was acceptable to either of my professors and now I have to rewrite all of my papers that are due in the coming months.
Christmas came and went – it was a quiet holiday here at home. Everybody got what they wanted for Christmas and fun was had by all.
Adam went into the hospital with breathing problems and ended up on a ventilator, he died on Boxing Day at 2:21 in the afternoon. Such a bright light gone so young.
Much happened in the year 2009. I learned a lot about myself over the course of three semesters in two disciplines. Pastoral Ministry and Theology. I learned a hard lesson from my Applied Human Sciences professor. I hated that class. I worked all summer in finishing my Ministry Certificate.
I hit a lot of meetings and worked my program. I celebrated 8 years of sobriety on December the 9th. I took my cake and it was all well and good. My academic career needs to be stepped up for the next semester so that I don’t make another failed attempt at a graduate degree. I can’t afford another fail report because I will be dismissed from the program if I don’t do better this term, not to mention rewriting all that work from the fall semester.
It was a year of highs and lows. We lost some good people from show business and we lost family and friends this year. So that is a brief overview of what happened this year…
Let us close with Adam … and pray for his soul…
True to his word, Adam went down swinging. 21 months after his car crash in March of ‘08, Adam passed at 2:21PM December 26, 2009.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
After I posted this to the blog over on Adam’s site and here, I have been informed that Adam has passed. We pray God’s blessing upon him.
Adam, has taken a turn for the worse, phone calls have been made, today we pray for Adam as the journey looks to be coming to an end.
For Adam …
Now is the time to say all those things that need to be said. Now is the time to let God be God. Now is the time that we pray for mercy. Now is the time we give permission to Adam to do what he needs to do with the understanding that he is not alone, and that all of us are here with him and with you. We all live on borrowed time. And if this is Adam’s time, then Let go and Let God. He has been a champion and a fighter for so long. Now may be the time we tell him that it is ok to let go now. If we give him that permission he may hear us and the end won’t be so far away.
We pray God that Adam’s life not be forgotten and that we all may take away some lesson for ourselves. We pray that the angels will protect him and carry him to the altar of God in heaven where there is no more sickness and no more pain. We know that God is merciful and that God hears the cry of the poor, blessed be the Lord. We pray that Adam is where he needs to be and will be going to where he needs to go. The fight has been long and arduous and those of us who have walked with him over the years, like I have myself, can say that he fought the good fight. But sometimes you can’t fight disease, no matter how hard we pray. Sometimes when we pray God says – no, I have other plans, but this is a time of learning and of faith. Now is the time to commend Adam to God and to allow God’s will be done. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want …
We pray God’s blessing upon Adam and upon his family. We pray that God will bless him and make him whole once again in heaven. And we pray for strength to allow God what he needs to do to take Adam home. This is what, ultimately, faith asks of us, to know when it is time to die and to go to that death with the ultimate knowledge that God hears us and is with us even in the darkest of times.
We love you Adam, and we have been blessed to walk this journey with you. God’s peace to you on your journey. We will not forget you and neither will God.
Holy Holy is the Lord God almighty.
Here is to 2010 may it be new, bright and exciting…
Last night I had a monster of a headache. Not sure if it was hunger driven or illness driven, but it was pain nonetheless. So I was in bed very early – I got up to get some food around 11 and went back to bed. I had an early call this morning.
I don’t do mornings – usually… But today I had to be at the diabetes clinic by 9:00 a.m. to get into the patient queue. There are always at least 20 people waiting at any given hour of the morning. I got in line and they took me quite quickly – a very smart looking and cute looking intern did my triage. He went over my numbers and took some notes of things that I had observed over the last few months and he also looked at my test numbers. They have been steadily coming down.
It seems doctor George used me as a guinea pig with the medications that I am on now. Because at one point the young intern went to get him and he told me so much. He said that most doctors wouldn’t have done what he did to me – medications wise, but it seems that I respond very well to medications.
They decided to cut my Diabeta in half for my lunch and dinner pill taking. From 5 mg to 2.5 per meal, along with the Metformin and the Januvia. It seems that the Januvia is doing the bulk of the sugar work, as in, bringing the numbers down. I have these wonky moments here and there and they were noted in my file. Doctor George was very pleased with my numbers, he was actually bouncing on his toes, apparently pleased with what he did with me.
So they tweaked my meds a little bit and gave me a 6 month return appointment. That was a good morning.
I came home and went back to bed. And I had the most interesting dream. It seems that in this dream I had been adopted into a family of religious people, it was a very “Seminary” dream. That’s the best way to describe it, because that is the feeling that I took away from it. There was a huge house. A mom and dad, and three siblings. There was a big party and lots of spiritual things going on in the dream. It was very spiritual – they say that you should observe the dream and if you can – are awake – during your dream, take as much information away from it that you can, visually, emotionally, descriptively and physically. There was cake, and celebration. There was prayer and communication. I haven’t had a dream like this in like, forever… then it ended abruptly and I woke up.
And now for the best news of the night… Remember that I had that exam in my Gnosticism class last week, and I was angry about the fact that I studied like a madman and most of what I studied was NOT on the exam. And I posted the questions I answered earlier, let me go find them… Here they are:
- Who was Simon Magus and why was he important to Gnostics?
- Why is it so difficult to define “Gnosticism?”
- Who is Sophia and what role does she play in Sethian Gnosticism?
- Describe the socioeconomic, religious and political atmosphere in early Alexandria that led to Gnosticism in Jewish diaspora Jews? (I nailed this question)
When class started tonight the prof told us that nobody failed the exam and he was quite pleased we all did so well. I just shook my head. I wasn’t sure what i was expecting in him saying “he was pleased we did well!” We had our lecture on the Gospel of Philip and a discussion about Jesus and Mary Magdalene which was entertaining and informative. At the end of class he handed out the exams and I was afraid to look at mine. I got a ( B- ) … Holy Fuck !!!
I pulled a ( B – ) out of my ass …
I thought about this on the way home tonight. Thinking about what everyone had said to me after the fact when I was fretting about my work… I knew the material. I studied it all. I took it all in and when I sat the exam, I wrote everything that came to mind on every question. And it wasn’t about how much I wrote on each question, but WHAT I did write on each question that mattered. Because on a few of the questions, I only wrote half a page, not a whole page, and in those cases, that was enough. I had hit the nail on the head.
So that makes the following: I got a ( B ) on my bibliography and I got a ( B- ) on the exam. Which puts me in good standing as a graduate student. I have a book review due in a couple of weeks and I really need to finish this 245 page text on What is Gnosticism by Karen L. King. It’s a nightmare … But doable…
Well, now I really need to eat. Then to bed …
That was my good day…
More to come, stay tuned …
I was waiting for my batman ring, or my superpower to make itself known or maybe there was a secret handshake to take place… None of that happened tonight as I attended my first class as a Graduate Student. The class is Gnosticism and is cross listed as a 300 level undergraduate class as well as a 600 level Graduate course in the department of Theology.
The syllabus was “THICK” and our prof, the esteemed “Teacher of Teachers” Professor Andre Gagne was our leader. He is a man, a scholar and an all around great professor. Most of the class is made up of veterans of his past classes. It seems his admirers run in packs.
He had two sets of syllabuses for us, one for the undergrads and one for the grads. Our grading structure for the grads differs a little and we have extra work to do for the term.
- A Bibliography 10 titles/10 articles
- An 8 to 10 page Book review from a list of sources
- A Midterm exam in October
- A 20 page final paper
Tomorrow I have my second Graduate class – Christology in Early Church. It’s not about egos and attitudes. I know most of my classmates and we all hung out after class walking back to campus – the class is in a building off the main drag of the campus itself.
I’m a little intimidated – but I hope that will dissipate over time. My friend Luigi had nothing but good things to say to me seeing that I am now a graduate student and he is still an undergrad. He joked, “hopefully you will still be my friend, even though you are a graduate student…” of course I will.
I didn’t get to the gym today. Maybe tomorrow.
More to come, stay tuned…
It is soooo HOT today. This morning I sorted out my financial aide FINALLY and I am OFFICIALLY a GRAD student. I am registered for classes in the fall. Yes, it really happened, and I am really a GRAD student. Can you believe it… I’ve worked very hard to get to this point in my academic career.
Then I set off for church where it was so sweltering that I was sweating like a whore in church, literally !!! I came home and hung out for a couple hours before heading off for the Gym.
It was eerily quiet today. The muscle bunnies were all on the weight side. There were only a handful of people on the machine side. The boys were all absent. “sad” So I did my thing and got on the treadmill for a bit, then I did a mile on the elliptical. It is so hard … There is more work on the elliptical than the treadmill. I did my weights and finished up and packed it in.
Came home and took a cold shower. I’ve been taking cold showers for the last week, several times a day because of the heat and humidity. I don’t do well in the humidity. My body just doesn’t want to move, and I have to force myself to get up and work.
The drama that is Big Brother is going to be good tonight. If you haven’t gotten the scoop on the latest drama click here : The Prime Time Dish run by my friend Dustin.
So that’s all for now. Stay tuned, more to come …
I met with the director of the M.A. Program at the Department of Theology this morning. We discussed the requirements for admission and what I needed in the way of recommendation letters and my own two page letter of intent.
As it stands, I was told that as long as the letters of introduction were positive and I followed the administrative route to apply, that in essence I have been accepted into the M.A. Program for the Fall.
It looks like I will be following this option for my studies.
M.A. with Applied Project (45 Credits)
- THEO 603 Method in Theology 3 credits
- THEO 604 Seminar 3 credits
- Elective courses in Theology 18 credits
- THEO 691 Research Paper 12 credits
- THEO 692 Applied Project in Theology 9 credits - We spoke about the mentor circle and he thinks that my community experience will translate well into the applied project.
Full time studies – will be 6 semesters and run a maximum of 4 years to complete, although one can finish in less than 4 years. The deadline to apply for the Fall semester is July the 1st.
A reading from the Gospel of Mark: 10:17-27
The Rich Young Man
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
What is it that man can judge another man? There is a lot to be said about Pride. For Pride cometh before the fall. I am very careful in writing here because I know that every word that is written here is scrutinized by a chosen few men and women who seem to think that it is their job to judge me.
I’ve never been one to sit on pride. I’ve never been one to be prideful to the extent that I have committed a sin or sinned against anyone that I know. A person in recovery knows that pride is one of those sins that can take someone down faster than most. So let us review the seven deadly sins and let us explore together how we avoid them and why we talk about them today.
There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
The Seven Deadly Sins are: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride.
It was brought to my attention today by a commenter that I was Prideful and that I should read my own posts to see that truth. I beg to differ. I take pride in the fact that I hold a B.A. in Religious Studies and a second Certificate in Pastoral Ministry. And if I am not reminded daily that I am a sinner and that I have fallen short of the Glory of God, that would be a sin.
I have no need to be
(1) Lustful because I own the love I have for another and he for me. So I think I have cleared lust off my list of sins. I am not a
(2) Glutton, in fact I believe that I am just the opposite. I’ve never been a big fan of
(3) Greed because what does greed get you but pain? It does not get you further in the game nor does it bode well to be a greedy human being.
(4) Sloth, I have not been in the pit of misery for many years. This sin has been called the sin of sadness and despair. It had been in the early years of Christianity characterized by what modern writers would now describe as melancholy: apathy, depression, and joylessness — the last being viewed as being a refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world he created.
I do enjoy every day that God gives me because lets face it living with AIDS you never know when your card is going to pop up on the dashboard of God’s choosing.
(5) Wrath, Wrath (or anger) may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. These feelings can manifest as vehement denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self -denial, impatience with the procedure of law, and the desire to seek revenge outside of the workings of the justice system (such as engaging in vigilantism and generally wishing to do evil or harm to others.
Well I think I have my own truth. And I know God’s truth. And I do work every day to live in that truth. My truth may not be your truth and what a bore it would be if I owned your truth. I don’t believe that my brand of Christianity is any better than the next and I do preach my truth with precision and here I am covering all the bases just to make sure that no one can say I have spoken wrongly.Envy, for sure, I don’t envy anyone in my social circle. Like greed,
(6) Envy is characterized by an insatiable desire; they differ, however, for two main reasons. First, greed is largely associated with material goods, whereas envy may apply more generally. Second, those who commit the sin of envy desire something that someone else has which they perceive themselves as lacking.
I really don’t desire anything that anyone I know owns or has. And i don’t think I am lacking in any of the creature comforts of house and home, my spiritual life is in tact and is very well thank you. So let us talk about the last deadly sin, PRIDE.
(7) Pride In almost every list Pride ( or hubris or vanity) is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to give compliments to others though they may be deserving of them, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God).
Dante’s definition was “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor.” Pride is the deadliest of all the sins and leads directly to the damnation of the titulary famed Parisian doctor. In perhaps the best-known example, the story of Lucifer, pride was what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. Vanity and narcissism are prime examples of this sin. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the penitent were forced to walk with stone slabs bearing down on their backs in order to induce feelings of humility.
Hubris, that was the word that my commenter used this morning… If you think that I am as vain as some seem to think, I believe you are sadly mistaken. I do not and never have desired to be better than anyone else, I don’t believe that I set myself above anyone, lest I really sin against God.
I wish that some people who come to read this blog were stricken with a terrible disease that is fatal and that they try to live within that space for a period of time to see just what it feels like. As a person living with AIDS I can tell you that vanity and hubris went out the window years ago.
A fatal disease removes all these sins from you in ways that you the normal well reader could never imagine. I don’t know what you believe if you think that disease has not taken its toll on my physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and I find it incredible that someone would have the desire to point out that I have sinned in the way I live my life, what I do with this life and what I chose to print on this blog. Because I am damn well sure that You do not know me and I have no earthly desire to know you or believe like you.
I will say this again… I don’t have to prove myself or justify myself to anyone and you don’t have to agree with me or my spiritual practice. You may not agree with my brand of Christian belief, and that is your problem, not mine.
They say in recovery that IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ANYONE THEN YOU NEED TO LOOK INTO YOUR OWN SELF AND FIND THAT WHICH IS THE PROBLEM WITHIN YOURSELF. Then you must change that which is within yourself.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
I slept in today, UGH! But I did get to my evening class with Sara, my Celtic Christianity class, which I totally enjoyed. Sara’s classes are comfy and warm and cozy that you come in and you sit and allow the feeling to wash over you that “all is well in the world.”
That doesn’t speak of an easy ride mind you, but one of conscious thought and work. I have been reading the course pack and through tonight’s discussion we have learned a few things. That there is more to Celtic life than we may have known. That each reading in the book is set in its place for a reason.
Imagine standing before a forest, you boys out West can better understand this than I can paint a picture, but Sara used the forest imagery tonight. And I remarked how each reading, if laid upon the one prior paints a picture in successive layers of reading, and information. And the readings tease you to walk into the forest and turn leaves over looking for further clues to the real truth of the Celtic.
We are invited to start exploring the forest for clues to our study for this term. It is not all so easy, and reading about the past – we must use our lenses of hermeneutic suspicion, to read each text and article with a critical eye. I used that term tonight, and Sara giggled to the rest of the class, “oh Jeremy, you are so clever, aren’t you!” I had to explain this strategy with my fellows.
It’s all good…
And my young warrior from the West came to visit! You can check out his blog, The Life of Robert Wesley, he is a very special friend that I have known for some time. Joy of joys he has decided to continue writing!! YAY!!
On the way home I hit “Came to Believe” in time for the second speaker, just so I had some time to sit with myself and be quiet and listen to another speak about his trials and tribulations about recovery. I just wanted to sit and listen, which is always a good thing to do when possible.
Over all is was a great night. Now I am gonna hit some dinner and chill out…
A photograph from the Portfolio of Robert Wesley from B.C.
I got some mail from London today and in it was a really wonderful gift from my Big Sis, needless to say I was amazed and overjoyed. I have really great family and friends, all over the world. It is far easier to love one another than to criticize or be hateful. So this little note starts off my gratitude list for tonight. Thanks Sis…
- I didn’t drink today
- I hit a meeting
- I had a great day in class this morning
- I saw some new friends
- I did some writing earlier
- I have great friends
- I have a great life
- Tomorrow is my Home Group
- And I am right, and I am happy!!
”Oh to be this young and beautiful – again…”
So I was trolling my reads today and I ran across this picture over on DAN NATION, it seems he’s got a new job in the valley and I spied me some Chad Fox, isn’t he a cutie? Kinda makes me want to move out to the coast and join the Sunday Brunch Crowd! I even got an invitation from Dan the man himself!! I love me some CHAD FOX!!
What could be better than a room full of beautiful men on a Sunday morning? I don’t know about you but we don’t have that many good looking men here in our fair city! OMG!!
The Forest, I love the forest. If you get a chance go over and take a look see at COOPER’S CORRIDOR, he has some beautiful writing and photos of his family from an outing this past weekend. Cooper is another fantastic read, no one should go without every day. He breathes such joy and wonder into my day, because he is such a gifted writer. I think this weekend we shall take a meander out to the green space and take some photos of our forest in the middle of the city (we call it Mount Royal). The real forest is far, far away from here up North.
From Cooper’s Blog: one of his favorite words, Forest:
“Because it is full of promise … because it is wild … because it is fragile … because it is strong … because it sings of simply being … because it is part of my bones and blood … The forest is in my heart”
You can go read my friends and show them some love. First we have Steve, we call him Dr. McCoy, because he’s a Trekkie! I wrote a piece earlier for Arkano, he lives in South America and he is new to our little “Bubble of Love.” My read list, over on the Blog Roll is getting ‘closer’ by the day, as I noticed that many of my friends here, read over there and they comment as well. So please, if you like to look at beautiful men, and you are interested in fantastic reads, check out my read list. I have updated all the links and I am sure everyone will appreciate your visit.
Fall is on it’s way, it is 19c here and rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days! AS is the custom here in Montreal, the weather cools off, the rain comes, then we have our fist cold snap “in the city” then the leaves start turning in earnest. This photo above is a wishful prayer for Montreal in the coming weeks.
Tonight’s meeting was an experience. I heard what I needed to hear. I spent an hour doing nothing but be present and to live in the moment. My Monday night commitment to support “Came to Believe” persists. Things I heard tonight:
- It’s all Good
- Live in the Moment
- Stay in the Now
- At any time of the journey, you are right where you are supposed to be at any given location and at any moment on the time line
- There are no mistakes in God’s time
- Live and Let Live
- Easy Does It
- But for the Grace of God
- Think, Think, Think
- First things First
I took a resentment to a meeting, and I left her there. But I will close with this little blurb on the Blog Nazi!! If you have a complaint about anything you see, read or perceive on this blog, please, by all means, let me know. If I have misrepresented Concordia University in any way, I haven’t heard that from any one. My disability and my student status is between my doctor, myself, my husband, my department, the government and the University and NO ONE ELSE! What I do with my education is my business. If you don’t like something on this blog, there are certainly other blogs for you to read. I am not changing my presentation or writing for anyone, even YOU Rebbecca.
They say in AA that acceptance is the KEY to all of my problems, and if someone has a problem with you, that – that is a direct signal that someone has a problem with themselves. And what YOU think of me is none of my business. If I have a problem with you then I need to look at me and find out what’s wrong with me. So you got a problem, first ask yourself what that problem is, and then fuck off…
I’ve never EVER had anyone complain about something I have shared on this blog, nor posted to this, my personal web log. AND I am not going to take horse shit from some chick who has an axe to grind with me so get the fuck off my blog! Oh, that felt good!
DO YOU GET THE PICTURE???
“May I speak freely Miss?”
“It’s just one fuckin’ thing after another…”
It was a quiet day. The weather turned hot and muggy, as Montreal waits on a saving rain to cut the humidity from the air. On hot miserable days, all that I want to do is blast the AC unit and stay cocooned inside my blankets, which is what I did today.
You will be assimilated, Resistance is Futile… My body is reverting back to its old sleep schedule. For every six days of action, I have to give up one day to sleep. It is a fine trade off because I enjoy my sleep, especially when I get the lucid dreams that go with them. As for the rest of the day, I did a little shopping for dinner and now I am sitting here trying to write something worth while, and I don’t think it’s going very well…
I don’t feel inspired tonight, so I will call it a night.
More on this topic later this evening.
The Class is amazing. Many of my friends from last term are in the class as well. I really like my professor, because he brings real life stories from his visits to Tibet and surrounding areas of that far land to the classroom, so this isn’t just class, but it is a real life educational trip to a real place not only read about in a text book.
I’m tired so I shall write some more later. I don’t have class on Friday’s so we are back to regular schedule now. I get my 3 day weekend now, with Friday being cleaning day at home.
Talk to you soon…
Krystalnacht – The Night of the Broken Glass…
The Beginning of The Holocaust
Work Makes You Free …
A Survivor from Buchenwald
Yad Vashem – Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial
Auschwitz – Concentration Camp
The Red Ribbon – Synonymous for AIDS
The Pride Flag – Proud Symbol for all things Gay
The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt – For all those who died from AIDS
My friends,My family, My brothers and sisters…
The JEW – The Star of David used during the Holocaust …
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
Survival in Auschwitz
The Homosexual – Also Used during the Holocaust …
A Young Man – Hungarian Jewish Boy -
From Fateless, the Motion Picture
The Label Chart Used By the Nazi Party within
the Death Camps and Concentration Camps to
Location, Ethnicity, Area, Orientation, Religious Affiliation
There weren’t only Jews in the Camps…
The ACT UP slogan for Gay and AIDS circa 1980
What Would Jesus Do???
This is my Label – I earned every hour of it, with Pride…
We Should Be Proud, but we should remember what labels have done to millions world wide over the Decades. I think it is time to move past them, to stop labeling and Outing people. I think we need to learn to live together PEACEFULLY in order to stop the killing of ALL people around the world…
THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER – SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET!!
Hello, my name is Jeremy and I am a Graduate Student in the Department of Theology at Concordia University… Try that one on for size…
Today was a big day … My first day of school as a Graduate Student. The beginning of the Fall semester is always fraught with drama long lines and insanity. This morning brought with it some sad memory, as my Monday-Wednesday morning class is in the Mother House in the West end of the house which has been transformed from living quarters of former nuns to classrooms and offices. I wanted to go visit the chapel this morning and spend some time in prayer, but that wasn’t in the cards today.
Christian Origins is my first class of the week, and it seems, because of certain technical problems, [read:no internet connections or electronic availability] in the room we are using, means a room change is in the offing soon. I saw some familiar faces from my summer as an independent student.
Thank God that none of the witches from the religion department are in any of my theology classes! There IS a God!!!
I took the afternoon to do some power shopping for books at the Diocesan Book Store in the core after class, and I even treated myself to a BK Lunch, Woo Hoo!! The Eaton Centre food court is really interesting at lunch time lots to see…
The Textbook for Christian Origins, Theo: 206 is called The Shaping of Christianity, and can be purchased at the Diocesan Bookstore at Place Cathedral at the McGill Metro. The book ran me $33.87.
I came home from my journey to the “Core” and took a short power nap before my evening class, hubby decided to join me for a nap… [he just can't nap by himself when I am home] … I had 3 hours to nap, and I was in the middle of this fantastic adventure dream, it was action packed and I was really into it, when the alarm clock went off at 5:15 and it startled me so bad and I was so groggy that I could not hold onto the visual to write anything about it… I know I was in a town with a above ground subway system, it was dark and I was running all over the place. So I washed up and left for class and I couldn’t raise the dream in the light, I hate when that happens…
This evening I went to my Theology 204 with Fr. Ray was quite interesting. I saw many of the same faces that were in my morning Christian Origins class, which was great because this class is a lot smaller – with about 45 students in a smaller intimate lecture room. I think it is going to be a great semester…
The University Book Store also has the course packs for Theo: 204 Christian Ethics with Fr. Ray. The texts books are available and are on reserve in the library.
We had some really great discussion, and it is really nice to have Fr. Ray teaching the course, since he is one of my spiritual advisers, on the Catholic side. I told him that I had one foot in the religion of my family [Catholicism] and one foot in the Anglican Church, having been given a green light by Bishop Barry. So now Fr. Ray calls me the Anglo-Catholic. I am hoping that I reach some place new in my spiritual journey.
We are going to play Word Association now:
Your three words are:
Ethics — Morals — Christian
We talked about Religious Studies being a study in culture, society, history and tradition and Theology having a different Methodology, it is faith seeking understanding. Will we agree on all issues in Theology, probably not. Especially with a GAY, HIV+, Married, Catholic Queer in the classroom. This should be an interesting semester. I can look into my crystal ball and see much discussion and choppy waters ahead.
We all introduced ourselves in class and shared our majors and reasons for taking that class, many of us are in Core Studies for Theology, though, many of the students are from many other departments like Psychology [YAWN] Applied Human Sciences [Double YAWN] and others… If today’s discussions were indicative of what’s to come, this class should be incredibly enjoyable because of the varied beliefs, opinions and ages of students in the class. There are a few Graduate and Master’s students in the class, which is really cool…
Tomorrow should be even better with Religions of Tibet. I have high hopes for this class because I have been studying Buddhism and other Eastern Religions over the past four years, last academic year I took Buddhism and Jainism [at the same time] which was a real challenge. I did better in Jainism because it was more writing and academic study into a tradition that is labor intensive, because of the scarcity of primary source material. I flubbed on my Buddhism final exam, which hurt my grade. I hate huge multiple choice exams with very little writing!!! I perform better when I write.
See I did learn something in University! I learned how to write Good Essays and I learned how to write academically sound papers. It took me four years, but I was successful in my writing career. Writing here as well, has enhanced my academic writing because I can work out my ideas here before I add them to a paper.
In The Montreal News:
The Strike at the Notre Dame de Neige cemetery is OVER!! Thank Bloody Christ, it is about time – for Pete’s sake! Now gravediggers go back to work on Monday and they have over Seven Hundred and Fifty Caskets to bury, that have been in cold storage for Months!!
I talked to Fr. Ray about this on the way home tonight, we walked to the Major Seminary where he was parked just up the hill from home, The Bishop of Montreal got involved to try to end the strike, we all admit he was a little late with his word, but it seems to have worked! The Religious Authority has some sway over our community thank God for that!
So we are at 1042 words… Have I gone on too long here???
Ok that’s all for tonight. More tomorrow from the world of Tibet…
Oh, I forgot to mention that I am listed as an ALUMNI Blogger on the Concordia University Website!! Very Kewl!! We are also listed on the Religio Scholasticus website as well. I am really grateful for the support of my peers at Religio and as well from the University.
Today was a busy and exciting day for students across Montreal, as I am sure, in many other cities across Canada. It is Frosh week here in Montreal. Students are moving into dorms and the stores all over the downtown core are busy.
We spent the afternoon shopping like mad women. I started at skool to buy textbooks which are never cheap, but this semester a few of my books I was able to buy used which saved me a chunk of cash.
Theo 204/AA Christian Ethics:
1. Living with Other People – Melchin
2. Reason Informed by Faith – Gula
3. Course Pack – not available yet
Reli 398P/AA Religions of Tibet:
1. Religions of Tibet – Samuel
2. Tibetan Civilization – Stein
3. Religions of Tibet in Practice – Lopez
Theo 206/A – XT Origins:
Texts not available yet…
I noticed that there were many Holocaust texts on the shelves so I found a new copy of “Night” by Elie Wiesel, Elie is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I have wanted to read this text to put into my collection of Holocaust writings on my bookshelf, since I took Holocaust Studies last fall.
Hubby and I set out for a shopping trip to Alexis Nihon Plaza, which is pictured above, the mall is just up the street from home. I wanted to get some new clothes, since we’ve been wearing the same duds for months. I have to say that Zellers is a great store – which is where we get a lot of clothing for the year. $85.00 bought us 5 new shirts in assorted colors and prints, which was fine with me. We also needed folders, pens and paper.
Don’t you love – back to skool shopping?
We bought a new printer for our computer, The HP Desk Jet 4160 model. It is sleek and quiet and really nice. It has all these great printer capabilities with bells and whistles. It came with an extended warranty which was on sale, all in total the printer cost $70.00.
We have all that we need for skool now, hubby still needs to get some books, and next week classes begin. I have resigned from The Common Ground and shut down the blog, because I’m not going to deal with school girl drama. So that’s that for today. Maybe I will write some more later tonight, I haven’t done my reads yet today.
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
I make no bones about WHO I am, I make no bones about WHAT I am. I will not argue about sin or homosexuality again. I should have never engaged you in the first place, that was stupid on my part, but enough is enough. If you don’t agree with me then please, by all means, get the fuck out, I invite you never to come to this blog again.
I invite you, the Evangelical Christian, to choke on the scripture you read and I invite you to call God on the phone and ask him personally what He thinks of me, and I invite the first person who gets access to God to come and share with me what Almighty God has said to him or her about me. There is plenty of writing in my pages for you to consume, think about and understand about what makes me who I am and what I believe and how men of faith supported me when many of YOU condemned me. Who was right, and who was wrong? I am still here and my faith is all I have and that alone sustains and keeps me.
We shall agree to disagree on Sin and Homosexuality. Because until God drops out of his heaven to tells me to come home or stop, I will live my life, as I have lived my life, as it has been for years. I will stay sober, I will stay clean, I will continue my Theological Studies and I will be respected for WHO I am and not discriminated based on WHAT I am.
I have meditated on yesterdays writing, and So I publish an abbreviated portion of that post for you all to read. Summer is at an end. And I am going to re-group and pull back my commitment to work with others, based on recent goings on. I am not pleased, but I will deal with it, like any sober member would. I stick to my base. I pray and meditate and I remember that I cannot help everyone, lest I loose myself in the process.
I’ve decided to add more academic courses to my schedule and that schedule is as follows:
- Theology 206 Origins of Christianity – Mon-Wed 10:15 to 11:30 a.m.
- Theology 204 Introduction to XT Ethics – Wed 6:00 – 8:15 p.m.
Fr. Ray La Fontaine
- Religion 398P (Special Study) Religions of Tibet – Thursday 6:00-8:15 p.m. Marc Des Jardins
I thought that I would add another class to my schedule because it is a special study section in the Department of Religion, and add to that Marc Des Jardins has spent time in the field during his Summers and I happen to like him as a professor, and I look forward to this class. I am taking care of me now.
What is said, has been said. What is done, is done. What is in the past is in the past. I have made my decisions, and thus my post written last night. Suffer the little children, they now rest in the hands of God. I am not going to suffer any longer.
When I stay in my day and put the principles of AA into practice, I know that I am not alone in sobriety. This second chance at sobriety gives me insight/hindsight into the first attempt which failed. The first time I was living life – yet I was going to meetings. Both were mutually exclusive. With learning to live with AIDS back then, as life taught me, I did not incorporate the two worlds well enough.
This time around I did the right thing. I invested in my sobriety much more. I engaged the program like never before. When I came to Montreal, I had to invest time and life into staying sober because here you had to travel nightly to different places for a meeting. There aren’t many multiple meetings in the same location every night. They don’t exist except for two meetings, 7 a.m. Wood and 5 o’clock shadows.
I found a home group and I invested in that group. An investment that I honor today. When I got sober in Montreal, people invested in me, took care of me and gave me right guidance. Today I give back to that meeting. I invest my life around my sobriety. Life is worked around my home group and other meetings.
I do nothing during the hours I attend meetings. I do not usually make any decisions without first passing my ideas past another drunk. So it goes. Because I am invested in my sobriety, I usually stay ahead of the wave. And I have a bank of time and knowledge to draw upon when I need it.
I work with others and I invest in new comers. But I do not force my way into their lives, I have learned that force feeding an infant is pointless because they will only choke and throw up on you. I choose my battles wisely in sobriety. I hand off my number and my counsel wisely. And I sure as shit do not waste my time with people who don’t want it.
It is a waste of my time, talent and knowledge to try and work with someone who doesn’t want to get sober. That’s why I don’t have sponsees at the moment. I work best in the field where everyone has access before, during and after a meeting. I go to a handful of meetings and I serve others. I never say no to sobriety, because you must give it away to keep it.
With that said I have made a decision.
I can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. I can lead a horse to water, but I cannot make it drink. I can lead by example, but faced with current situations, I should have taken a more cautious approach. I was put into a no win situation. There are just some things I know in sobriety that translate into the world I live in like ENABLING.
Abuse is unacceptable. Lying is unacceptable. Pushing someones buttons to see how far they will lurch is unacceptable. If we allow people, children, and spouses to run rough shot through our lives with no concrete action of circumstances, then we end up being victims of the situation we participated in.
If we enable a child to run riot through the house and we enable a child to be disrespectful and ignorant, then we have failed them as parents. If we enable a spouse to abuse us, and we don’t extricate ourselves from bad situations, then we suffer the consequences of our choices and indecision to act wisely.
If a wife allows her husband to abuse her, and she does nothing, then she suffers. If a partner allows their significant other to abuse drugs and alcohol or us and does nothing then we call that enabling them. We also call that insanity.
I cannot help anyone out of a hole if I am in their with them.
I was invited to invest time, talent and experience into a project this summer, that has disastrously backfired. So I am going to apply the rules of sober engagement to this situation. In order to keep me level headed. I gave freely of what I had, and I invested hours, days, weeks and months into working with others, and what did that get me?
Lies, Deceit, Abuse and Disrespect.
I was asked to take on a challenge that has occupied me for some time. And I gladly did it, in the hope that I would affect change, what did that get me? Heartache. If we allow children to run riot through our lives and abuse us and disrespect us, verbally, physically and emotionally, then we have failed at good parenting. We have failed to be good stewards of our children.
If we enable our children to run riot and we enable them to continue disrespectful behavior then that child will grow up into a disrespectful and abusive adult. If we cannot step up and demand that things change and set the rule of law in our home, thereby allowing children to abuse us, then why bother being a parent in the first place?
If we spend countless hours teaching our children right from wrong, good from bad, acceptable from unacceptable, and we spend hours trying to figure out their motivations for lying, cheating and deceiving and we fail to stop that behavior, then we have failed to be good examples. If our children learn that they can run riot and be disrespectful and ignorant and petulant, and we do nothing, but sit and let them run riot, it is our own fault.
Brilliant gifted children who know the law, know the truth and know that there are consequences for bad behavior yet STILL they push us up against the wall and test our resolve to be good parents, role models and authoritarians, they have failed at learning where they fit into the family dynamic. I can only lead by example.
Alas, I have failed to be a good example.
Like new comers in the room, they think they know it all, yet they stumble. And it sometimes takes years to teach them the same lessons we learned ourselves. And with those lessons we offer them “quickie passes” to avoid the pitfalls, yet many choose to take the long and hard road instead of the learned road. That is why I stay away from newbies because they are usually fucked in the head for the first few months of sobriety.
I allow them to see me exist, participate and share experience, strength and hope with others, in the hope that they will want what I have and in time, they may accept me into their lives and at that point they choose to engage, I did not force them to engage.
Henceforth, I am not wasting another moment working with others, who disrespect me, do not listen to me nor want to change their lives for the better, even if they are challenged. My investment of time and talent came at a personal price, my sanity.
And my sanity is worth more than I get paid for.
When you want my help – you let me know, and only when you want to change. Because I am not wasting any more time, placating you or enabling you either. Kelly never called me back. So I guess I am not that important.
God’s Warriors – CNN Site
Tonight on CNN – Christiane Amanpour began her series called “God’s Warriors.” I happen to watch the second showing late tonight here in Montreal. This first part covering the Judaism portion of the documentary was very enlightening.
Having grown up with World News as a nightly dinner time fare, I have watched the world change in my lifetime. Wars have been fought, millions have died and still to this day there is conflict in the Holy Land. I am only going to address this first portion of the program as Islam and Christianity follow tomorrow and Thursday. You can visit the site above.
I make no bones about this fact that I am pro-Israeli. This conflict, it is said could be tempered by the “correct political agreements” for all parties involved, if you watched this episode of Christiane’s report. She chronicles the debate, the conflict and the war that rages between the Israeli and Palestinian people to find, colonize and legalize states.
There is a great divide when it comes to the Holy Land as the three major world religions those being Judaism, Islam and Christianity are literally on top of each other in the old city. All three religious groups share common holy ground and all debate the rights of others to visit certain holy sites. This is made clear by the Jews who pray at the Western Wall and are not allowed to ascend to the Temple Mount held by the Islamic faith at the Dome of the Rock. The hallowed location – it is believed that the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.
I am not known for my politics or my political writings because I don’t feel that I own the right to write political commentary on subjects that I am clearly not a master at. I guess I could write my observances as a writer to what I see. The battle for land has been going on since before I was born and this conflict will continue until leaders take the time to negotiate a proper settlement over land, holy sites and statehood. Leaders have come and gone, the few peacemakers of the past were assassinated by their detractors.
It just seems to me that there is enough land in the middle east to go around. The factions of Jewish warriors have made it their life’s goal to see Israel turned back into the land that they say “biblically” was theirs from history as the Torah speaks of. They take their stance from the Book of Ezekiel 37:14
I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ “
I have spent my entire undergraduate career in University studying the world’s great religions from Christianity to Judaism, Islam to Buddhism and the far east Jainism back into my own back yard, religions of Canada and Native Studies. I have been granted a scholars gaze at the conflicts that spread around the world. Each major religion, speaking here of Judaism, Islam and Christianity hold certain biblical passages a doctrine and this, in my opinion, as well shown below is the basis for the ongoing conflict. Whether that be Jewish zealots and Islamic and Christian fanaticism. We are not immune to religious debate at Concordia University and we are not immune to religious conflict either.
There is a calm uneasiness on campus during the school year on the Mezzanine when groups rent tables to promote their views and clubs. In studying world religions, I was granted access to the many faiths on campus. I visited the Ghetto Shul for Passover and I attended Friday Prayers at the Concordia Islamic Prayer space in the Hall building. Attendance of these religious ceremonies was part of my studies and I am fully aware of what the facts are concerning land, statehood and jihad.
The conflict between the Palestinians and Jews is long standing. With the rise of Islam and the sad fact of jihad and terrorism, we stare down the gauntlet every day of our lives in many places in the world. This fact was driven home to me when I moved to Canada and began my immersion into community here. Montreal is a cosmopolitan city of millions of people who span the bredth of religious beliefs. I was forced at one point to make my choice of where I called home. I chose to become a brother of the True North Strong and Free. My education in religious conflict began when the United States declared war in Iraq. Living in Montreal gave me perfect vision of inner conflict in my own community.
Do you think that we all took this all is stride? That we did not march in the streets and did we not have continuous dialogue on campus and within all the campuses across Canada dealing with the common threat of war, revolt, terrorism and fanaticism? We faced all these things and much more. People in the United States, namely the south where I grew up did not see Islam make their presence known. I did not know a Muslim soul growing up but I had friends from other parts of the world.
Coming to Montreal was an earth shattering experience. I started university and began my journey into the world of Religious Education. It has been said of me that had I not been born a Christian, I would have been a Jew. And I contemplated conversion more than once during my university career. I love the three great traditions. I studied Judaism and Judaic History. So I am familiar with all the conflict in the Holy Land. We live with that inner conflict here every day. I am part of that conflict, representing the Christian branch of religious scholars now graduated. I use the term “scholar” very lightly, I am still a student of religion, yet above the fray, my degree grants me this title.
I took a unit on Islam, yet I failed the final exam and in turn I failed the class because I was stupid. That was the only “F” I have on my transcript. But this failure was the greatest opportunity that I ever had to learn something form the ashes of my failure. I met the most amazing man of faith – the professor of the class on Islam. He was a Sufi mystic. And he changed my life in ways that I cannot explain, but Islam is for tomorrow nights writing. Suffice to say, there is more to Islam than jihad and terrorism. I will expound on these ideas tomorrow.
There is always a solution, if all parties can come to the table and work out the fine minutiae and details of peaceful coexistence. It can be done, but in my lifetime?
That is the question the three faiths must approach, ask and solve…
You can read the report from News day.com:
We haven’t seen Christiane Amanpour in quite a while – in, oh, like 15 minutes or so. Flip on CNN and there she is, somewhere, though usually somewhere over there, in the war-torn world and far away from our safe, tethered and generally anesthetized lives. Outside of Anderson Cooper, Larry King or maybe Lou Dobbs, she is CNN’s most visible presence and someone who has amassed a pretty amazing body of work at this network over nearly 25 years.
If this doesn’t sound like a reasonable buildup for her six-hour tour of religious fanaticism that begins Tuesday at 9, then the fault is mine alone. “God’s Warriors” is an estimable achievement, even for a subject that has been relentlessly worked over by hundreds of scholars, journalists and book authors in recent years, including Amanpour herself. (It’s even hard to say how much of “God’s Warriors” has been strip mined by Amanpour before, although “Struggle for Islam,” which won her an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2002, addressed similar themes.)
But what’s special about “God’s Warriors” is the sheer totality of it. Over six hours, Amanpour and her team seem to capture the essence of a hugely important moment in world history, and with the exception of the title, do so without hyperbole or histrionics. It’s really the best of Amanpour – and really, dear, old, battered and much-maligned CNN, too.
“God’s Warriors” is about three world movements – though as you watch, you will probably want to come up with a better word to describe them. It’s about the religious zealotry that has forged so much of the global political landscape since the end of the Cold War. These “warriors” are fighting over radically divergent views while bound by some similar ones, too. In a paradox that unfolds over these hours, they are blood enemies on some obvious level yet strangely allied on another.
But Amanpour’s broadcast is far from comfort food. In a style typically restrained though never diffident, she explores the historical roots of these views that have become more pinched and close-ended over time. Offering no all-encompassing or compassionate solutions – at least in her reporting – the religious extremists are instead steeped in dogma and intolerance. Some of these “warriors” abhor violence. Others, of course, resort to it as a matter of course.
“What they have in common – Jews, Christians and Muslims – [is] the belief that modern society has lost its way,” Amanpour says in voice-over. “They say God is the answer.” (Tuesday’s broadcast is “God’s Jewish Warriors,” followed by “God’s Muslim Warriors” Wednesday and “God’s Christian Warriors” Thursday.)
What else do they have in common? Apparently an abhorrence for Britney Spears, who is made to represent Western culture’s over commercialized and oversexed ways. But West Bank militants are probably not deeply concerned about Spears’ recent car-ramming episode, although the “Christian Warriors” – evangelicals – haven’t exactly been advocating her album sales. The title itself is a silly stretch, too, placing under one all-encompassing catchphrase the kids at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University with the kids at some madrassa in Pakistan learning how to lock and load AK-47s.
Get beyond these superficial flaws, and a richly layered broadcast unfolds. Tuesday and Wednesday’s programs are the best, and “Christian Warriors” is the most dispensable. Much of the material in that installment has been reported so often – from Falwell, whose interview with Amanpour was the last before his death, to Ron Luce’s Battle Cry, the evangelical youth crusade. – that it’s already numbingly familiar.
But Iranian-born, globetrotting, battle-hardened Amanpour is at her best in the Middle East. She seems intent on interviewing everyone – patiently, at length, and pointedly. Tuesday’s Jewish “warriors” were inspired by the Book of Ezekiel (“Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers”) and refuse to be pried loose from their West Bank settlements spread out over 26,000 square miles. They’re fighting rear-guard with Palestinian militants and a frontline battle with much of the rest of the world, while some of their biggest allies are America’s evangelicals.
Amanpour also interviews author and historian Gershom Gorenberg (“The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements”) who questions the settlements’ legality. She presses Theodor Meron, former counsel of the Israeli foreign ministry, on a “top secret” memo he had once written claiming the settlements violated the Geneva Convention. (He sidesteps the question.)
Wednesday’s Muslim Warriors” is filled with dozens of interviews, too (former President Jimmy Carter appears throughout) and a long historic perspective. It begins with Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian religious leader who inspired Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri and died in an Egyptian prison 41 years ago. She tracks the story of Ed Hussein, a former London jihadi who later published a book on his experience (“The Islamist”). She also travels widely in Iran, where she attends a passion play with Shiite Muslims who weep openly over a 1,400-year-old story.
And her journey ends up in America, with a New Jersey social worker, Rehan Seyam – born and reared in Islip – who insists on wearing a hijab (veil) in public. Like many others of her generation, Amanpour reports, Seyam is more orthodox than her Egyptian-born parents.
But one of God’s warriors? Hardly. She’s squarely in the middle of society’s struggle between the secular and non-secular. The punch line to Amanpour’s story: Seyam and millions more like her are growing in number and have no intention of backing down.
Part 2 – Islam, Wednesday Night… Stay tuned…
I have asked this question of some of the ministers that write for our sphere. For many years I have searched for the “Perfect Church.” Growing up in a predominantly white, middle class neighborhood gave rise to attending church with my friends. And that served me very well for most of my young adult life.
Labels had not been applied to us in this period of our lives so we were free to worship wherever we chose to. And in most cases our parents followed along, because the church was not only a religious landmark, but also housed Youth Ministry that everyone was part of for several years through high school and junior college and even for myself, Seminary.
After leaving seminary with a bad taste in my mouth for Catholicism, and Church, I walked away from God and his church. I thought that I had been slighted by clergy and I was pushed against the “choose us or get out” wall. It took me many years dealing with the truth to walk back into church.
This was always my childhood home, the Church I called home. It was the place that God and I communed. And after my leaving seminary – this was the church that I returned to many years later, as a weary, AIDS suffering sinner. I was sick, and I had been away, and I met a man who changed my life when I saw him say mass in this space with his crutches and MS. I vowed never again to complain about things in my life. And I have kept that word so many years later.
Being Gay, had its issues with Church. But not to the men who led this church forward. I was a part of this church and this is where I would find prayer, support and salvation.
As I grew into my 30′s I hit several questions in my life about faith, recovery and living with AIDS. I’d like to say that I found all my answers in “church” but that would be false. I was living in an area of town that did not afford me the ability to get to church any more. So I was not attending “church” where I had been for so many years. It was just logistically impossible to get there in time for mass.
During my second recovery, I was seeing a therapist and I had friends who were talking care of me at the time. I was having my visions and spiritual experiences outside the church I may have left the church “physically” but not emotionally and spiritually.
Faith is like a garden. Each one of us inhabits the garden of our own making. We tend that garden daily. In the morning we walk through misty, dew covered flowers and plants, and as the day wares on the sun tracks across the sky as we sit in that garden. I believe that everyone is born into some kind of spiritual tradition, more than most may speak of but nonetheless, someone puts the seed of faith within us at some point.
If you were like me, you were baptized, first communion ed and confirmed in the Catholic faith. Some were baptized in the baptist faith and others were raised in the faith of their parents or extended families. But we all carry that seed within us.
For many, being Gay and Christian or Being Gay and Catholic was something we battled with because of the politics of the church. Now in my 40′s I can tell you that I will not walk into, better yet worship in a space that does not welcome me fully into communion. I used to compromise my ethics and my politics because I was attached to the Catholic faith by an unbreakable umbilical cord that still exists today.
When I got sick, the priests told me to come to church and I did because they were 21st century men in an archaic world of Catholicism. That lasted as long as it had to to keep my in line with my faith and connected TO my faith. God was in the church, praying with others took place in the church. Mass took place within the church. And I was ok with that way of life.
When I got sober in 2001 I was filled with questions. My faith was strong because I KNEW who God Was and who god Is still. I did not need the physical building to give me what I had created and cultivated internally over many many years of spiritual exploration. You see, faith is not something you feed once a week in a worship service. Faith is not something you partake on any given Sunday.
I was sober a four months when I came to visit Montreal in the Spring of 2002. It was Ash Wednesday when I arrived. I celebrated Easter here and I loved it. This is such a rich religious city. Later I would meet a Jesuit priest who would give me the same puzzle piece he gave all the other boys I later met on the path later on.
This is where it all starts…
I had a reason to come here and I knew after two weeks of being here, that I needed to stay here. I went back to Florida, packed all that I could and I left, never to return. Lies my mother told facilitated my move out of the United States.
I started my journey of faith in the Church Basilica of Notre Dame. It took me weeks to start putting the faith puzzle together. and now six years later, I can tell you that there are still pieces of the puzzle missing.
I had to get used to living in Montreal, Pre-Iraq War. I had to find my place in the greater scheme of things. And that took a long time. I had my citizenship on February 17th 2003, and I was sober 14 months. I decided that I would go back to school. My chosen major in the beginning was Psychology, that quickly changed to Religion.
These were the years that demonstrations were taking place in the streets and Americans were being warned to sew Canadian flags on our backpacks, so as not to acquire the ire of Canadians in Montreal, because protests against the war were daily occurrences. I did that and I participated in those demonstrations. But eventually I would hit several crises points in my life, ONE would be “where do I fit in?” I had to find my place in the community and that took two years upon beginning University. I remember sitting in Donald’s office asking the all important question: “I don’t know where I fit in and I have one foot in the South and one foot in the North – I don’t know where I should be?”
He was always apt to tell me these key words:
“If you find yourself in between and you can’t decide where to go or move, then sit where you are and survey all that you see before you. FEEL your feelings and get in touch with your dis-ease with where you are. Consult your map and ask your questions of the people on the path, then when you are ready, plot your next step, but not before you are sure of your footing.”
I met a man of faith in the Chaplaincy office. I was a man of faith and I was sure in my faith as any other man or woman was. The one difference? I was a sure gay man living with AIDS. I made no excuses and expected no special treatment, just love and acceptance, which I found in Fr. Ray Lafontaine. Still to this day, as a fellow Christian and Catholic priest in my life, he challenges me in my faith to find the answers for myself.
I attended his church at Loyola on Sunday evenings. And that worked for me because there were others like me in the church and we were all accepted.
That haze of Summer lasted for two years. In that time I started working on my religious beliefs. And I maintained my sobriety by attending meetings in the basements of many of Montreal’s most beautiful churches. When Father Ray was moved to St. Monica’s church and new priestly blood was flushed into the chapel, I met my faith match…
Having been singled out over my marriage to my husband and the vile words shared with me by the existing chaplain of the University, I walked away from Church once and for all. Although when Fr. Ray and Fr. Paul said mass, I would always attend.
Having studied religion for so many years of my life, and having lived with AIDS for so many years, I knew several things. 1. I knew who God was. 2. I knew who God is not. and 3. I knew who I trusted to support me in my faith journey.
I have been separated from Church for a long time now. It took the invitation of friends to attend a mass said by the Very Reverend Gene Robinson in the Summer of 2006 at Christ Church Cathedral to seriously contemplate a return to Church. In 2003 I was married in the very Catholic Space at Loyal, much to the consternation of Georges Pelletier. We did it just to make a statement of faith, because the entire Loyola community was there to stand with us and profess our faith and love before our families, friends and God himself.
The only time I ever walked into a church, during my time in the field, was with my Great Aunt Georgette, may she rest in peace… I would pray in the mother house chapel with her and I would attend mass there as well. The last time I attended mass in the Mother House Chapel was the day we buried her in August of 2006.
I would never walk into another Catholic Church after her funeral. Although I still maintain a working relationship with men of Catholic faith, I don’t go to mass in the Catholic Church. The other day that marked a change in my Catholic belief system was the day that the Late Pontiff John Paul II died, and I attended mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
You see, while I was studying Religion in university, I was studying my past, making peace with it and learning why things happened the way they did for me, and I was afforded this historical review because of the professors that I studied with for the last four years. I polished my religious skills and I mastered my Christian faith.
I was getting sober in church basements and I was ministering to people in the field. I never walked away from God again. I knew better, and he would always wait for me to find Him. Some of you know about the last five years. Some of you sought me out from the field for spiritual guidance. And I was there for you without question.
I always knew where God resided within me. I knew where to find God, outside myself. I can walk into any church in the city and talk to God. And I can talk to God at any given moment of my day or night, because I have built a temple of God within me.
We are all temples of the spirit of God. Most of us do not know this truth. So I share it with you now. We are all created in the image of God, and therefore we carry the image of God within us. We are walking talking miracles of God’s love and grace. My garden of faith is Eden within me. And I share that garden with anyone who wants to come and walk amongst the flowers. I do not need a building or the perfect church to settle my restless heart.
I’ve spent the last five years searching for God in the sacred churches of Montreal. He was always there where ever I looked for Him. As for the perfect church? You will never find it, because of the true nature of men and women. Humans are imperfect sinners who need to be taught what is right from wrong. And those who come to church already have their preconceived notions of who their God is, and what they will be willing to accept, in the way of Christian teachings, dogma and practice.
So take a church full of imperfect humans and ask them to build for you the perfect church! With all the heads buzzing in the church, each with their notions of church and God, and what do you have? A room full of buzzing heads, who could not agree on what they would call church, and I am sure that their conception will not be what you had in mind either. The perfect church does not and will never exist…
Where did Jesus do his best work? In the field, over dinner in sinners houses. Working with the homeless and the poor and sick. How many times does Jesus step into a church in biblical writing? And what does he say about the ‘church?’ What would he say about all of the terrible incarnations of Church we have today – in the world?
I do believe that God and Jesus weep at the way Christianity is lived out in the millions of lives of people around the globe. We know the scripture, we know the reason yet we can’t see past the noses on our faces and we cannot take the plank out of our own eyes before we try to help another, so what does that say about active Christianity???
I’ve been in the process of Spiritual direction for some time now, ever since coming to Montreal many years ago. I have sought the advice of many people over the years. And I work with others “in the field” every day…
Where is my “Church?” If I had to give you an address, that would be the Christ Church Cathedral because the bishop has said to the LGBT community that we are just as important to the church as any one else. That he supports us and wants us to participate in community and be active participants in our own faith. I am 40 now, and I have my morals, beliefs and values, and if I choose to leave the Catholic faith based on principle I can do that today, because of the certainty of WHO I am and What my faith means to me, because I am ‘out of communion’ with Benedict’s Church, and I can live with that today.
But I don’t need a building to worship God. I don’t need the perfect church to teach me God’s word. I don’t need the perfect minister to keep me on the path of Godly living. Why, you ask? Because I can do all these things on my own. I celebrate my Christianity every day through prayer, word and action. I live my faith – therefore it is in front of me every day for all to see. I practice my faith. I talk the talk and I walk the walk, daily…
This is not a task I ask you to ponder on your own and it is not for the feint of heart either. But in order to build your inner church, you must start with a foundation, a garden. Mark out the space in your heart. Till the soil and plant your seeds. Give them plenty of water and sunlight and then pray over them…
We each have the capability to till our own gardens of faith within us. Because until you have a strong garden of faith within you, will you be able to find a church that will serve you, because without the understanding and cultivation of your own garden, do you remove the judgments within your heart of men and ministry.
If you are looking for the perfect minister of Christ, he will not appear, save Christ himself. We are flawed human beings, and therefore we must understand that and with that knowledge we can better serve the community at large, and if we able to serve the community at large, we can then see God for ourselves where ever we go, and in whatever church we visit.
The best work of the field is done in the most imperfect churches, because most people know that perfection is unattainable. Your Heavenly Father is perfect, so we have every ability to be as perfect as our heavenly father is perfect. But that will take a lifetime to achieve.
In order to find church outside of you, you must first build church within yourself. You must find your definition of God, you must let your faith garden grow. You must be strong in your faith because without strong inner faith, you will not have strong outer faith for community. Without using the gardening tools that God has given you, how can you practice your faith? You must find Sacred Space within yourself, and you must build sacred space for yourself, while you are in the field.
Because, what good would looking for the perfect Church do for you, if you do not have a handle on your own inner faith to begin with??? Build your inner church and invite God to inhabit your sacred space. Get to know this God of your own understanding. There are certain things a Christian must do every day…
- Read Scripture every day
- You must Pray every day
- You must Meditate every day
- You must Actively Practice your Faith every day
Because the simple act of prayer – asking God for those things that weigh heavily on our hearts, must be followed up with a period of silent “Listening” for God’s voice to speak to you. Because sometimes we get the answer… ‘keep praying, not today, NO!’ Cookie cutter Christianity is too easy. You must live your faith actively in community, that is one sure way to find Jesus in the field.
Start with your garden
Plant it, Till it, and let it grow
Listen to your heart song
and share it with the world
Take off the blinders on your eyes
and see the world in its imperfect state
Find Christ in the field and walk with Him
talk the talk and walk the walk
practice your faith in ACTION
in time your heart will soften
and you will see God
and you will find that
‘Perfect Union with Christ’
A church will find its way to you
Because you will be ready to serve…
Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte speaks to the media Monday morning clarifying his position.
This situation is a travesty. And workers that have been on strike, need to return to work and clean up this MESS of a cemetery and bury the Hundreds of dead now being stored on the property in the buildings and refrigerated trucks. These workers have no respect for the dead nor do they respect our community! It is time to get back to work and get this situation taken care of before Winter sets in on us.
CTV.ca News Staff
Montreal’s Roman Catholic archbishop has called out for an end to the labour dispute that has crippled a major cemetery’s operations.
“I have no button that I can push to say you get there, you get there, I have the power to bring understanding in a difficult situation,” Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte told the media on Monday.
About 500 bodies remain unburied in a refrigerated cemetery vault at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges because of the lockout.
All burials have been put on hold since May 16, when about 130 cemetery employees were locked out, prompting a strike.
The union and families have asked Turcotte to intervene on more than one occasion but the archbishop has said he does not have the power to meddle in a labour dispute.
“I have been asked to intervene and I must remind everyone that I can not do so,” said Turcotte in a press release dated Aug. 2.
“It is true that the law confers a certain number of powers to the bishop. However, the cemetery remains under the administration and management of the fabrique whose property it is.”
Citing a legal act governing cemetery management, Turcotte said the autonomy of administrators is required.
Turcotte still decided to meet with the families to speak with them about their ordeal.
Debra de Thomassis, a woman who has been waiting to bury her grandmother and is spearheading a class-action lawsuit against the cemetery to get it working again, said the families were asked questions.
“He basically asked us how we were feeling, how we came upon to be stuck in this conflict,” she said. “He totally understands out position and is with us all the way.
“I think he decided to get involved because he needed to let everybody know what was his real position, what were his real powers,” she continued. “He doesn’t necessarily have the powers to go into the management of the administration but he certainly has the power to let them know his position.”
The families also asked if the archbishop could work out a deal where they could have a requiem and see their loved ones one more time. De Thomassis said the archbishop is looking into it.
The union has said it will not return to work until at least some of its demands are met.
According to management, salaried employees currently make an average annual income of $49,000, while seasonal workers make $27,000.
The union is demanding improvements in five key areas:
- A defined benefit pension plan, in which workers can acquire previous years of service;
- A four-day work week;
- An increase in the number of weeks available to seasonal workers from 26 to 36;
- Greater departure allowances; and
Limiting the use of subcontracting
They have been without a contract since 2003.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Annie DeMelt
Edited for content 8-13-09…
Today I am an official Student in the Department of Theology. The funky thing is the Certificate files under (Undergraduate Studies) YET, I AM a Graduate of the University. I graduated with my BA and now I am finished with that certificate this August of 09. I am now a “Graduate Student in the Department of Theology.”
I have paid my fees to the University to Confirm my spot in the department now. I have a desire to get back to school because this vacation is just dragging … I know, I will be regretting this later, but for now I wish we could get back to school.
Classes: This Fall 2007 -
- Theology 204 – Introduction to XT Ethics (Wednesday’s – 6:00p – 8:15p)
- Fr. Ray Lafontaine – (H-433)
- Theology 206 – Origins of XT – (Mon – Wed 10:15a – 11:30a)
- Professor Lucian Turcescu (GN-M100)
Classes for Winter 2007-2008 -
- Theology 201 – Introduction to Theology (Wednesdays 6:00p – 8:15p)
- Professor Marie Campbell (LS-320)
- Theology 234 – XT Spirituality (Mondays 6:00p – 8:15p)
- Fr. Ray Lafontaine (H-459)
- Theology 320 – History of XT – The 1st Millenium (Tues-Thurs 1:15p – 2:30p)
- Professor Matthew Anderson (CL-242)
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
I never thought that doing something good for another would turn around and bite me in the ass. Christian ministry and emergent churches are the new faces of Christian worship and ministry. What I am is immaterial to Who I am. In the past few months as my degree was conferred to me by a University, I was thrust into a position of ministry leadership, not by my own choice, but by popular acclimation of the group who thought that I was the most logical person to lead them, in the wake of a colleague dying.
I have been working in my field here in Montreal for over five years. I work with the addicts, the alcoholics, the sick and the dying. I have probably spent more years in the ACTIVE practice of Christian Charity longer than most of you would even care to consider. When my friends were all dying of AIDS who do you think ministered to their souls, took care of their physical bodies, fed and bathed them and in the end buried them when parents of Christian faith walked out on them and left them in the streets to die alone!
My work was something that my peers and my supporters highly encouraged. I looked all over the world for the model that I would adopt to begin my work here. That church was RE:HOPE in Glasgow.
Let me stop for a moment and say this loud and clear. Just because I am a gay man, does not infer that any people I choose to support, or pray for, or attempt to raise funds for, speaks of the sexual orientation of anyone. There are straight writers on this blog and there are gay writers. They all have good messages and are people that I respect and admire. We all learn from each other.
So I know that RE:HOPE is trying to raise 12,000 GBP for their trip to the Holy Land this fall and I went OUT of my way to try and help them, because it was an easy choice and it was the right choice. I used the term “Partnered” and that has come back to me also.
You may not agree with some of my theology, and the obvious sane fact that I am a gay man of faith – speaks of just how much work I have done in 40 years of life to find my way through Christianity and Catholicism. I take what is good and I leave what is bad.’
Christianity isn’t perfect, and it is truly flawed. But Christ is perfect in his simplicity and direct in his message. People are flawed too in their beliefs and theology. People are imperfect yet God is perfect…
People have commented and Scott has commented about my choice of words and today he writes me to admonish me and to tell me about being careful of what I write, I got that.
What troubled me more – and to the point that – because I am a gay man in Ministry, some have gone as far as to question the sexual orientation of Scott Burns. I have to say that I am disgusted by this little piece of information. Don’t people have better things to do with their time than to wonder about the sexual orientation of people? Have we not grown past this little issue? Are we all adults here?
I’ve never met Scott, but I believe in his ministry. Enough to put my own reputation and this blog on the line in the sense of credibility and respect. So what, I am Gay and Scott is not? Does my support of his ministry automatically make him gay or make him suspect? Have we backtracked that much in the year 2007, that doing good Christian work comes with parameters and judgments by some? Of course it does, I should know that.
All of you out there are Christianity Majors and have decades of Christian study and worship under your belts, right? All of you have spent years in University studying Church history, Christian History and Christian Origins. right??? And all of you have spent time in a Catholic Seminary in the pursuit of priesthood as well, I suppose?
I do not make choices rashly or out of one side of my brain. You may not agree with my stance of Church, and you can question my “take” on Christian Theology. I have spent over 20 years of my life studying religion, in seminary and in University so I do know much more about church and Christianity, than the run of the mill lay person or arm chair Christian.
Living with AIDS – over 14 years now gives me certain understanding of what charity and forgiveness and true unconditional Christian love is. I know what doing the right thing is, if you lived with the threat of death every day of your life, knowing just what is going to kill you and how, you either do one of two things, you find FAITH fast or you give up and die.
I took the high road. Seeking ministers, priests and bishops who were accommodating and understanding. I am part of the Anglican faith now because I was told, unequivocally that the Montreal Diocese agrees with the blessing of Same Sex unions. I, in fact, am Married, and have been for now three years. We had a United Church wedding before God and our families.
So if you have a question about my Christian faith – You Ask Me! If you have a problem with me You Tell Me.
I cannot believe that trying to help another ministry would come back with questions, inferences and disagreements. I love it when people come to read, and many do each day. I reach out to millions with this blog, we have even saved a few lives here and there with the work that we do here.
All my kids and my peers and supporters who are part of this ministry are straight. One of them is in Seminary this fall. NONE of them question my ability to serve based on my sexual orientation. My exploration of faith has brought me to this point. And I will even go so far as to say that I probably have a better Christian practice than most of you out there, because you have to deal with doctrine, theology and teaching.
I study Theology and though I may not agree with it, and for the most part I do not agree with any church that limits its membership to those who believe and are straight from those who believe and are gay. I have struggled with this issue for the whole of my life. And I have made peace with it.
I CAN reconcile being Gay and Being Christian, IF You CANNOT then that is your issue, not mine.
I do what I am called to do. I serve where I am called to serve. And I love unconditionally because I am commanded TO! I read scripture too and those six references to same sex, homosexuality and sleeping with a man as to a woman are all scriptures that I have spent a great deal of time, during my studies, trying to understand. I don’t think that you have spent as much time studying scripture as I have in 25 years.
Nobody has the right to judge what kind of Christian I am – or question the ministry that I work with. The reason that we have emergent churches and church plants and Christian ministries popping up all over the world is in response to the way Christianity has played out over the centuries. Nobody is pleased or agrees with the model we have, so we set out and create our own. I have done that after reaching the conclusion after prayer, study and academic work to know that Church Christianity will not work for me – it never has.
I have been a Catholic all of my life, I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary as well and I left because I would not serve Man and also because I was not a pedophile and I was not going to spend another year keep secrets for my fellows and the Catholic administration.
The members of the Anglican faith, here in Montreal, have been planting seeds in my heart for a year. They allowed me to come and go as I please. And they loved me unconditionally. And now I have made a conscious choice to become part of the Anglican communion because the Bishop himself has given the LGBT community a green light in his church. I have already written about this.
Can a Gay Man be spiritually centered – Yes of course he can. Can a gay man lead a church, Many do, quietly. I can tell you how many gay priests we have in Montreal and how many are open about it and they still have parishes and communities. I can tell you that I know a handful of Christian Ministers who will speak on my behalf and tell you that I am as true to Christian faith as I can be.
I hook up with a church I see does good work and I try to style a ministry by its example, maybe partner wasn’t the right term but still, I pray for that community and I work for the betterment of that community and I work tirelessly trying to help them.
I write letters to my supporters on my time to help You, and I get a letter of “this weighs on my heart too much” ok, that’s your issue not mine. I was just trying to help you out of a situation that you placed yourself in, then you wrote about it and asked for help, how many of us listened to you and went out of their way to help you???
And I am admonished for doing something charitable and good. I am told that Some do not agree with my theology! That’s your issue not mine. Some do not agree that a Gay man can be a good example to the people he leads, because of the inherent problem with being gay!
I will tell you here and now that sexual practice in my marriage is between ME – MY GOD and My Husband, and nobody else. Go read my writings on the Sacred and the Profane. Maybe you will learn something about how much I respect the two states of grace. You cannot have the Sacred without the Profane, because they inform each other.
They are married in a coexistence of grace.
I would like to know from you, my readers just what objections you have to what I am, Who I am and what I choose to do for a living? I put those buttons on my blog because the ministries that are there need support either financially or Spiritually. I won’t make that mistake again…
I choose to support the needs of many and they should be grateful that a stranger would put himself out there to help another human being because he believes in the ministry of Christ. So until further notice I will remove all connection and fund raising for any ministry accept my own.
If you cannot understand what it really means to be a Christian and you can’t accept that maybe a Gay man with religious leanings, a full degree in Christian Religion Study and a further pursuance of a Pastoral Ministry Degree in Theology can lead and be a good example and a wise leader, then I invite you to be on your way.
Don’t waste another moment reading here and please, do us all a favor, do not return to this place, because we have no use for you either.
Yesterday I turned forty years old, and I had my own issues with faith, life and death, but to receive a letter of concern, admonishment and as I read it a separation in Theology and Christian faith practice insulted me. And to know that people who have come by here have questioned the dignity of another minister AND question his Sexual Orientation just because his visage and ministry appeared on the side bar of this blog made me sick to my stomach. I thought we were all adults here and that we were grown up enough to lay down our judgments and issues for the shared communion of Christianity. I guess I was mistaken.
Like I said, if you’ve got a problem with me, that is Your Problem not mine. If you don’t have the balls to approach me and state your case, that is also your problem not mine. If you question the way I practice my Christianity, that is also your problem, not mine.
If you do not know enough to understand that I have struggled with Christianity for the whole of my life and that I probably know MORE about the intricacies and minutiae of Christianity than you do – that’s not my problem.
God speaks to me – and he knows I am Gay, He also knows I am HIV positive, so do all my kids, my friends, my peers, and even my husband. They all love me just the same. God Loves me Unconditionally. There is no separation between God and Myself.
I don’t have time to sit here and write sermons like this and justify why I can practice Christian faith because of …. to you. I don’t need to. You can sit your happy ass down and write me and tell me of your concerns with my theology and practice and if I feel moved I will write you back, or even take the time to embarrass myself in front of you by writing a rant like this one again!
I know a lot more about Christian Theological issues than you might think. I have battled with the best and the brightest when it comes to theological and ministerial discussion. And we agree to disagree. The Catholic Church allows me access to the sacraments because it is a RITE of my Catholic upbringing, I was baptized into the church and in all my years only ONE priest saw fit to condemn me openly and with that condemnation he lost his parish and his people, they all left his church! In the Anglican faith I am in full communion with the Bishop’s church and it is high about time. God WEEPS at the intolerance and judgment of Christians all over the world. And we pray for them just the same.
I have studied Papal History and I continue “on my time” to further that theological education outside the classroom. I know all about the Churches laws and decrees, I have studied at great length – the life of John Paul II one of the most important Popes in Modern History second only to John XXIII. I don’t agree with all of his writing, especially about women, birth control, homosexuality and assorted other dimensions of his writing, but you must admit that in the hallowed darkness of his chapel the Pope begged God for forgiveness for some of what he did in public, forced to speak so many words at the consternation of the Holy See and those Bishops and Cardinals who were close to the See of Peter. So I know all of your arguments.
Christianity MUST evolve or else crumble in the ruins of its own intolerance and judgmentalism and condemnations. The Church must change to accommodate the many people who have grown up in a faith and as adults we are divided from the faith because of the stance of those conservative men in certain positions. The curret Pope Benedict will never earn my allegiance or respect, because he is a dog of a man. HE is responsible for much of what John Paul II wrote as he was the man in the position of keeper of the doctrine of the faith, now he is Pope, God help us all…
Faith for me as a gay HIV Positive man is cut and dry. You do good for others, and you love others and you maintain a humble presence in the world and you do no harm. I think that this simple theological model works. Don’t quote me mumbo jumbo theological ideas because all the theology in the world will not change the man I am today and what I choose to do with my life.
Theology is too wrapped up in rules and dogma. I am wrapped up in simple Christian faith for simple Christian people. Faith is simple. Talking the talk is one thing, Walking the Walk is surely another. I can do both – I can talk the talk and I do walk the walk. You ask any of my people about what I do day in and day out, and just how much of my time I spend helping others because I am called to do that and I am sure you would be pleasantly surprised. Men of faith should be this “giving” of their time and talent for the little pittance I make in return. I work my ass off to the bone day and night, I write, I work with others because work was done for me when I needed it to. Ministry is not just about preaching the Gospel to people, but getting down in the gutter with them. How many Christians get out there and really get their hands dirty? Not Many.
So I see a group that gets their hands dirty and I start talking them up and I pray for them and I try to raise funds for them. I do that for my group too. All is not words and bible, show me the money at the end of the day – I don’t make nearly enough to support my house yet, and I have another 18 months to go before I hit my Masters and Pastoral ordination, but I am in the field, I have been in the field for years.
I have been a Christian presence in my Gay Community since I was a young boy, And I was in the trenches when Christians were fleeing like in the exodus from infected sons, daughters and children. I stuck and stayed. I raised money, stood in picket lines and I was there through the worst time when Christians turned their back on men and women who were sick and dying. I WAS THERE! I cannot tell you the countless and thankless hours that I spent in service to my community because NOBODY else would dare touch us or help us. So speak to me about active Christian Ministry. Tell me you know from what people like me lived through in our own lives! Tell me you know the words that self righteous Christians used to condemn people and people lost their jobs, apartments, lovers, family and friends. Were you there?
I can tell you about Christian families that THREW their sons on the STREET, Churches who REFUSED to perform funerals, Christian men and women who worked in funeral homes that REFUSED to process AIDS infected dead boys and men.
This is a double sided issue. Men acted with one another. Men did what they did. Do we condemn them as well? They are all DEAD and I am still alive, so God in his wisdom still sees good in me to fill my lungs with air and gives me life each day. I know how I was infected. I was trying to help another sick soul who LIED to me and then killed himself and I found out After the fact!! So fuck me right? I got what was coming to me right? I was a sinner just like the others. So fuck us !!! right??
Good Christian men kept me alive when all I wanted to do was die already. They believed I had a place in God’s kingdom, even if we did not go to any certain church. I learned Christian Charity from the best. I learned what Jesus meant by Loving others as I loved myself the hard way. I had no choice because good upstanding self righteous Christians could not stomach the horror and filth – the sickness and death. Yet, they could walk into church on Sunday’s and quote scripture and condemn from their Holy Pulpits and pews, UGH it makes me SICK to think about the past…
I can tell you that some of us angry gay men who were Christians who went to school to become morticians so that they could start funeral parlors to give our friends proper burials and I know renegade priests who WOULD perform funerals for us and the minions of people who worked behind the scenes behind the Christian iron curtain who DID walk the walk when we needed it.
I can also tell you about cemetery workers who refused to dig graves and those religious men who stood in the way of us burying those people in hallowed graves. Shall I continue? I can tell you about ministers, Christian ministers TODAY who still condemn us. And you want me to follow their theology?
I think Not!!
And I know good Christian people who loved me when my parents disavowed me and wrote me off as infected goods. I was not immune to judgment and condemnation. I got it from my own family which speaks to the effect that my family has no role or place in my life today – and I am 40 years old and I am still here writing this story.
I was there with Jesus, changing diapers, cleaning up shit and puke and feeding people – And I sat with them until they died, while Christians all over the world sat on their tuffets condemning us and alienating and judging us and telling us that
“AIDS was God’s punishment for our sinful lifestyles.”
I SPIT on the people who did that and I will SPIT on whomever says that to me today.
And God WEPT!!!
Christians could learn from the ministerial work we did in the trenches when it really mattered. So nobody owns the right to judge or critique my Christian life, ministry, theology or practice. Because when I take my last breath – it will then be God and I in a discussion of life review and I know for sure that he will look at me and say:
“Well done, good and faithful servant!”
1 Corinthians Chapter 13:1-3
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Deuteronomy Chapter 6:4-7
Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one, and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
End of Sermon…
The lights go down, the smoke machine is fired up and Seal is on the turntable. I stand in a large space, it is just me, the smoke and my music, as I ready for the nights events. This visual is very useful because it takes me back to the most important time in my young life as a gay man – and an HIV positive man.
I have spoken of this time and place at great length in the pages here on the blog. But I invoke it as I write because it taps that part of my brain where all those memories are stored.
This is supposed to be my “40th Birthday” retrospective. None of my friends have offered up any wisdom to turning 40, and several of my blog reads reached 40 before I did, and they seem to be well adjusted and the same men I knew before they turned 40.
I am not feeling any kind of depression or do I have any problem with my body image the only vain thing I do for me is cut and color my hair, to hide those ugly grays!! That reminds me I need to make an appointment for Tuesday!! It is Sunday Late night as I am writing this.
I was 26 when I was diagnosed in 1994. The doctors gave me 18 months to live. And here we are celebrating my 40th birthday. All the men I loved, liked, followed and idolized in my young gay life are dead, and I am still here …..
I have much to be grateful for. I have many men to thank for getting me here. The men who saved me from death at the Stud, the councilors who helped me cope and heal, the doctors who treated me, the men and women who “Loved” me into existence. Little did I know then, in 1994, that we would be here celebrating. I guess as a gay man with AIDS I see the world differently than most of you.
I am not consumed with the trappings of wealth. I am not a rich man nor a rich husband. We live on modest means and I work a modest job doing God’s work in my community. I don’t obsess over things that most gay men obsess over.
Image, money, wealth, sex, men, drugs and alcohol and going out to the bar to socialize. I guess I have mellowed with age. I have grown into the man I really want to be. And I can’t complain, because I have everything I need today. Being sober is another additive to this perception.
I get tired of reading whine after wine. Marriage has tempered me – life has taught me how to be married. That you find one to love – and that one loved you in return without question, argument or issue. Hell, I had no idea I would fall in love and get married when I was 26. I was concerned about getting through the day alive!
For many months after my diagnosis I kept a daily calendar, marking the 560 days until my death. My first sponsor kicked my ass several times over this. He was apt to tear the calendar off the frig and I would, as usual make another one. It was my way of coping then. When I reached that “Death Date” and I was still alive, it was only then that I started to work on a future.
I was sick an awful lot in the beginning. I was in the hospital all the time. I was sick as a dog for long periods of time. I haven’t had a major illness in many years. “knocks on wood!”
When I turned 30 that was in 1997. I had been sober three years, I was living in Miami, and going to the Coral room for meetings. I made it four years sober. The good thing about hindsight in sobriety is this: I can see what I DID and DIDN’T do right. From 1994 until my slip after four years of sobriety, I was just learning how to survive. Granted staying alive on the U.S. Medical system was a chore, let me tell you.
This is not racist but I was on social assistance and HRS assistance for a long time until I got on Medicaid. And I have to tell you that I had to go to places that “little white boys” did not go in the daytime! Let alone after dark. In order to get services I had to work the system before I either got denied, got sick or DIED! In the United States, Miami, in fact, until I found the loop it was kill or be killed. People were not going to help a little white boy with AIDS, that was clear. And the Government, sure as shit thought i was better off dead than to give me assistance. That is where I learned to be a “Cast Iron Cunt!!”
More than a few times I had to stop taking my pills and get deathly ill to get someone to help me. When I applied for disability I was so sick, I thought I was going to die. I stopped bathing, stopped taking my pills and walked into that government office that day, I was green. I coughed all over that poor women who signed off on my application and finally I made headway and I was able to get what I needed to live.
I became the Cast Iron Cunt from hell. Because I knew where all the contacts were. I had files at home, phone numbers and names of credible people I had amassed for myself. And more than once I was called to a hospital to help a friend who was set in chairs for 13 to 15 hours waiting for a bed, unpilled and unfed!! Those hospital administrators were truly afraid of me, because I was fucking kidding.
These people, my people would be helped or they could find other jobs. We got a lot of nurses and care workers fired over those years. There was no time to train you – your a health care worker, then do your fucking job asshole! Because we aren’t getting better with you worrying about getting AIDS from someone, unless you were fucking us or using our needles…
I was a Little Mean Asshole.
My parents did not help me. My parents traumatized me as an adult and that is their shit, not mine. I got them back years later. Never tell lies to your children because eventually they get washed out in the laundry.
So where are we 1997, I was 30. I was still alive. I set out on a number of really BAD decisions, a geographic that almost killed me a year later. That brings us to the year 2000.I was back in Miami in July of 2000. I stayed with friends after my relocation back after I was hospitalized with facial and bodily trauma.
I was agoraphobic I wasn’t eating and I had to reconnect to the system after being away from 18 months while I tripped to hell and back. I found a place to live, I had a job and my doctor took me back as a patient. That man saved my life. I tested every drug on the market from 1994 THROUGH today!! So Thank me….
I had to learn how to live again. I had to learn how to go outside. I had to take back my life. And Andrea, my therapist saved me once again. I was so god damned lucky you know that, I met some incredibly amazing people in my life, and they all played a part in getting me here. People who believed in me when I could not believe in myself. People who loved me until I could learn what it meant to Love Myself. That took YEARS !!!
And I was on the fast track plan, because people with AIDS were not living very long in Florida. Every time I saw the quilt, hundreds of more quilts were added yearly. This is the period that I learned that Dana Manchester had died. He was a drag queen artist that I knew when I first came out at the Parliament House when I was 21 – in Orlando. That’s where I came out!!! All good gay boys who live in Florida come out at the P-House!!!
God, Ive been though some serious shit in my life. AND I Lived to tell the tale! I am one lucky son of a bitch!! Someone up there likes me. I guess in a way, loosing the people I loved early in my life “family wise” steeled me to either live or die. My grandmothers deaths affected me in ways that nobody knows, not even my family.
And I don’t have any family to speak of left in my life today, and I haven’t had any family in my life since well before I left the states. My parents condemned me as an abomination. Funny that I went on and got a Degree in Religion from Concordia University in Montreal and I did it all before my 40th Birthday…
I showed you, you Fuckers !!!
I’m sorry, but Itty Bitty Bad Ass creeps up on me at times, when I reflect….
I have ever right to be angry … Their loss. My Loss. Nobody won that fight…
I miss my Master.
I miss my friends.
I miss the past – the laughing – the fun – the Joy of drag shows and of being young again.
My mother told a strategic lie to her children. And in 2001 I capitalized on that lie. My mother had retained her Canadian Citizenship until AFTER my brother was born in 1970. She was naturalized in 1974. I had an out – and I took it. They fucked me over and so the last fuck was mine and it was going to be a good, wet and dirty one…
I was 34 years old when I left the United States. I packed everything I owned and I set off for the new world. Hell, I was still alive!! And I had not even started living yet. I was just merely surviving. But I was SOBER when I pulled that next geographic and I STAYED sober during the move.
I came for Easter 2002 to Montreal. I stayed two weeks, I just LOVED this city. And I still do. It is not Miami… that’s when I returned home packed and I left. My parent’s were horrified and insulted that I would gain Canadian Citizenship because of my mother’s well told lie… She almost got deported over my application. She was so angry at me she was spitting!! It was great! Payback is a bitch!!
Itty Bitty Bad Ass…
The last conversation I had with my mother was in 2003. She said to me and I quote:
“If we get sick and one of us or both of us die, we will not call you nor notify you of any funeral or tell you where we are buried!!”
How do you like that line? I had to cope with this news the best way I could. So I had to bury them in my heart forever. We had hurt each other to the point of severance. I was going to have the last laugh. But my mother cut me to the bone. I have seen her twice here in my apartment. She came on my 1st and 2nd wedding anniversary. I saw her here and I spoke to her.
I have always said that the one thing that would send me over the edge and I would drink over is the thought that she is dead, and nobody called to tell me. I am sober and I want to keep it that way. But I tell you, if this secret ever becomes reality, I will surely go insane!!
to you all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
So you know the rest of the story if you’ve been reading this blog. All the stories and achievements are there to read about, including the history of Jeremy. I came to Canada to conquer death. I did that. This will be my 40th birthday, and I am still alive. There surely is a God. I know his voice and I’ve seen his face. I am loved.
- I came to Conquer Death
- I met a man in sobriety
- I married that man in 2004
- I went back to school at age 35
- And I graduated in June of 2007 with a Degree in Religion
- I am still sober – by the Grace of God
- I am still alive – by the Grace of God
I don’t worry about dying any more. I don’t worry about the past any more. Save one truth of secrets would probably kill me, so we don’t talk about it ever. I trust my gut to know what God is telling me. My psychic abilities are strong enough to know the truth about death. And I know for myself today. And I have accepted the truth in my heart and I am the man I wanted to become and am still becoming. So join us at Tuesday Beginners tonight and let’s celebrate my birthday Big Brassy and GAY!!!
When I had my near death experience in 1997, I went across and was seated in a garden of the most beautiful flowers. They sent me back without any answers that I had questions about. I met a wise man one night who said to me, “Why wait till you’re dead to ask your questions, ASK them NOW! So I did that…
I’ve never told anyone what I am about to share with you…
In 2001 – I had two “visitations” in my South Beach apartment. One by the Lady in White. She came to bless me. She brought the scent of roses, that I could never find the origin of and never did. I never smelled those roses ever again after that …
The second was the “taking” where I was lain on a table, in a room where beings were present. They pricked my arms and told me that I would be healed and that I would live, that all would be well. Somewhere inside I knew it and I felt it, that was the first time my t-cells ever hit 1000 – in my labs in the Spring of (2001), on the last round in July my T-cells were 1186!! My T- cells have been hovering at 1000 since 2001. They had never gotten that high before ever before…
Someone is protecting me … My faith has saved me, and Christ has redeemed me, and God continually blesses my life. Thank God for all of you.
Thank you to all my readers and friends and fellows. And as always, if you like what you read, please, by all means let us know. It is always nice to hear from my readers. I am not your “run of the mill” Christian, but quite the opposite.
I just do what I am called to do
I help where I am directed to
and I love because I am commanded to
And from the Old Testament I remind of these most important words:
“The most vital commandment in the Old Testament is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deut. 6:5…
Bye for now…