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???
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.
It seems that God has something in mind for me, I am not sure what that is, but Summer is over and life now changes with the seasons. The Fall is upon us and this is my season to prepare for the great silence. Over the next few months school will become the norm again, and as the leaves turn and fall – you will witness God in ways you might have never imagined.
Once again, I have been put between a rock and a hard place by another group of people who left me with secrets and riddles about my ability to lead. It seems that my credentials and abilities are in question, and once again, I am not going to deal with the bullshit games.
You either like me or you don’t – You either align with me or you don’t – it is very simple. Ministry is not about ego, secrets or personalities. I’ve never been an egomaniac, in fact I think I am pretty sober for the most part. But I will not be undermined after working all Summer to build a community. Now that community is, as far as I am concerned, without a leader. Because I am not going to deal with the drama.
Life is too short for drama and politics
They say when people have problems with you that it is their perception of you that is the problem and also that what people think of me is none of my business. I do not like change, but after much time spent in prayer and meditation, and proper consideration, I am rightfully ok with the way I feel. And isn’t life all about “Perceptions?”
I am now free to concentrate on my studies, and to offer my services to those who used to count me among the chosen few spiritual advisers. I remember that I am not perfect and surely I am not God.
I needed a day off. I needed to regenerate because I was tired. Too many thoughts going on in my head, baggage that is not mine, responsibility that has been thrust upon me as of late, friends in difficulty, what’s on television. Disaster, mine collapses, hurricanes, fires and floods. It’s the god damned Armageddon!
Icheb is our guide.
It seems that some of my blogging brothers are creating drama for one of my friends, who happens to be dealing with a medical situation that I am all too familiar with. And I tell them now, this too shall pass. The internet is fickle and people will find something else to focus on eventually. Just remember that when you write, you are responsible for what you write. The truth or lies, the facts or the fiction. You are also responsible for the reactions because of what you write. We call that publishing responsibility. YOU are RESPONSIBLE for what you write, every word, every feeling every opinion. So beware what you write.
Over the last few days I have written a great deal about God’s Warriors and I have to say that I have reached new highs in traffic that this blog has ever seen. I taped the first segment of Judaism from Wednesday night. The more I think about it, in watching the documentary again, I find myself wanting to learn more about the conflict. Something to bring up in my theology classes in the coming months. I am still a strong Christian Zionist.
Last night I watched a two hour documentary about “Surviving Katrina” on the Discovery Channel. I remember we sat here that week and watched on live television the march of hurricane Katrina over New Orleans. We lived it here as they lived it there, minus the direct one on one experience. It was hell. Discovery took the time to explain the minutiae of what happened, even to employ “brownie” to explain his role in the failure of all levels of government to adequately take responsibility and care for those in New Orleans and in other hurricane affected areas. I was mortified to say the least.
Of Special Remembrance: August 24th, Friday, was the one year anniversary of the death of the sainted woman, my great aunt Sister Georgette Cote. There was no call from the mother house, no memorial mass, one year on. I knew the date was coming and I did my best to ignore it because that meant I’d have to write about one truly painful time in my life, since coming to Montreal:
August 24 2006 – Blog Entry
At 11:30 a.m. this morning, Sister Georgette Cote peacefully met the Lord and entered into her heavenly inheritance.
I had literally just went to take a nap, and the phone rang, it was the hospital.
She waited for me to leave.
Blessed be the Lord our God
Eternal Rest grant her and may perpetual light shine upon her.
Blessed be Marguerite D’Youville.
I had spent the previous 18 hours with her in the ICU ward of the General up the hill. It was me, sister Agathe and sister Monique that last night of her life. The buzzing and whistling of the machines were upsetting her with that huge oxygen mask on her face, she just wanted everything off. So it went. They hooked up the Morphine drip and the clock started ticking.
By midnight the sisters thought that they should get back to the Mother House, so it was just the two of us. I sat reading the Tibetan Book of the dead, while the single nurse came and went without a word. It was dark, quiet and morbid. I had walked home to shower and change out and get some food before the last conversation at 3 a.m. when her surgeon came in to check on her, a very sainted woman, strong of character and voice. You will be ok Ms. Cote. I am here with you. Sister Georgette was fading, her hands waving in front of her face. The surgeon left after bidding us a good night.
Sister Georgette has said to get to devil away from her and to find a priest – well it was 3 a.m. in the morning, who was I going to call then? So I grabbed my rosary and I began to recite prayers over her. She said that “I was a good boy and that God would bless me” then she closed her eyes, and that was the last thing she said. That would be our very last conversation.
As the sun rose – we had a great view out th windows to the South Shore and the Victoria Bridge. She was gone, mentally and emotionally. The male nurse that came on shift started to clean her up and bathe her and change her dressing gown. It was around 9 in the morning. The two sisters had come back from the mother house and around 10 am I set off for home to rest.
I got home and changed out. Had a bite to eat and crawled into bed. While I was lying there, I could smell her and it waifed through my room. A few minutes later the phone rang – it was the hospital, Sister Georgette was dead. She waited for me to leave. It has been a year. I miss her more than most will know.
When I entered the world of mentoring and the foster parent program I nested. I learned that I was exceptionally maternal in my motivations, yet I kept very manly counsel. I found myself channeling my father at times. I have few rules. Do not lie to me, Do not steal from me or anyone else. If you need something you ask and if I can help you I will. All of my boys know the ground rules. The ground rules are set in stone. If I catch you in a lie or you manipulate me into a position then you have lost my support and your right to be trusted.
He lies to us and he cheats and he is dishonest. He manipulates us and forces us to the wall with his tests to see how far we will go to punish him and stop his manic anger tantrums.
I am not going to have any of this. As of late, I take this boy to bed with me and I ruminate in my head at night, because I want to be a good example. Now I am parent and I am setting the law of the land. And this child has cheated, lied and manipulated. This is a waste of my time. His behavior is unacceptable. If he thinks he is going to push me to anger myself, then he is getting nothing from me until he learns that there are rules in my house and failure to follow these rules will be met with swift execution of consequences.
I have accepted this “location” because mom has failed to exact rules and regulations on her son so I have to step in and set the rules down and play daddy. While the biological father, who has NO RIGHTS, who gave up his parental rights long ago works behind the scenes to manipulate him and he works against everything that we (mom and I) have been working for. And for what? Jesus H. Christ…
Now I have contracted for daily visits with the “wild child” and I have a schedule book to make sure I can fit him into my schedule when school starts. If he thinks I am going to put up with his bullshit – he can think again. I must be patient and understand that he is not like all other normal kids. I get that. And I am patient and kind, but what do I have to do to get him to understand that this is NOT a game.
I am not in this to play games.
Fuck with me and you will learn what it feels like to get on my bad side. And I promise you that I am not fucking around here. Do Not Test me young man because if you do, You will Loose, I promise you, there will be certain consequences for pushing me to the limit of my patience. I am not going to be taking extra baggage to bed with me at night and I surely am not going to waste my time working with kids who do not listen or cannot learn.
You know what I am talking about and you sure as shit know when you are manipulating us and when you LIE to us as well. We know where the money is coming from, and if this happens again, we will bring the law down and you won’t be able to access the daddy bank again. You are smarter than you look, and you know I mean business. I sure as shit am not going to waste my time and talent trying to help you – while you back-stab us and continue to push us to the brink of insanity. I am not going to have this, PERIOD!!!
I am starting to get resentful and angry because you fuck with me, You will not fuck with me. If I am in the role of parent, then you will see what it means to suffer consequences for your behavior.
Jesus, the drama… end of rant…
It seems that Mother Teresa has brought traffic to this blog that has never been seen before, more than the God’s Warriors traffic. If you look in the PAGES section of this blog you will find that I have written much on the topic of Mother Teresa. I believe that every Christian goes through the Dark Night, and at some point questions, “what the hell am I doing here, and why do I waste my time? (Read above)
Is there a God and if there is He needs to make himself present to me before I loose my mind! It is interesting to see how traffic changes every twenty four hours. I mean it is great that traffic has doubled in recent days. That means that religious writing has changed again. That what I do here is important to many readers and I thank you for stopping by. No one I know has written one word on any topic that I have addressed from my blog list in recent days.
Yet there are blogs that have stopped by that I have never seen before, and I get closer to the Top List blogs. Those who are really knowledgeable about world events, they are critical of writers and they know things that I don’t which is in itself very educational because I know there is a slant in cable news reporting, but what I did not know from this writer – “Right Truth,” helped to inform me to a level I had not been aware of.
As a writer, I am responsible for what I write, and I accept that. I took a step to write about topics that I am educated about, and others come by to read and they impart certain knowledge that I did not have before. Which raises the bar for me as a writer. The more I study and the more I write the higher up the level of professional blogging I rise to. It’s all about being informed and educated on the topics we write about and it is up to us to take the time to read other bloggers points of view so that we can more roundly write on what we are writing about. The article at Right Truth, linked above is very informative. Take some time to visit that blog because they are a great Blog and the writing is incredible.
Well, that is a lot of writing for today, So I am going to close and bid you all a good night.
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…
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…
This is Sass Jordan Performing LIVE here in Montreal at the Street Festival going on today in the downtown core. Ste. Catherines street is shut down and an immense stage was erected outside the HMV. We happened upon this concert and I took these photos. I think I am a good photographer, don’t you agree??? I guess you’ll be the judge of that! There are 41 photos in this set, which are all going to be put in my Flickr account so you can go see them soon. Click on the Flickr box and go to my photo stream, there are 140 photos up now. I’ve also added 11 photos of the city from the Penthouse Pool area views that you haven’t seen yet of the South Shore and of Downtown Montreal.
So here they are:
Callie I loved him, knew him, Mourned him
Carl was sick, and he died.
All the men in this quad were from the bar
Jorge, Ricky and I worked in Reservations at(then-RCCL)
on Dodge Island.
Pedro Zamora – Activist, The Real World
Dennis Johnson, the bar owners lover – is spoken
of in my memoirs from the Patti Labelle Concert
at the James L. Knight Center – Before he died.
Where were you on July 4th, 1994?
We you with your family and friends celebrating the July 4th Holiday? Did you BBQ in the back yard, or maybe someone else’s home? Did you see the fireworks, like many of us did?
That was 13 years ago…
I should be dead and buried already.
Over in the Pages under “History” you can read all about it, or re-live it if you wish. To remind all of my readers why my header image is what it is right now, to remind me where I have been and to keep me vigilant of where I am and grateful for being able to look ahead to the future.
Because doctors believed that I would live – That I had that “spark of life” not to mention a different strain than the rest, that something “other” than AIDS that killed all of my friends.
Those are my flowers on his quilt – he visited many displays
when it came to Miami
New Page Located under (XT-Mystery)
Paul, an Apostle
Gnosis and Special Knowledge
A Continuing Exploration
If you remember as graduation approached that I felt nothing. And I waited for something to happen that would make me feel ‘something.’ I’m still waiting…
I waited for my grades to come in and eventually they did. I was not pleased with some grades and I even made issue of one of them, to no avail. I was nowhere near the level of ‘graduation with distinction.’ After the grades came in, I waited for my conferral to appear on my skool webpage, that came on May the 25th. And when that happened – I felt nothing.
So I counted the days until today, waiting for something to happen, for me to feel some sort of feeling of accomplishment or gladness. I got to bed late last night because I was restless, not so much nervous or excited.
I felt ‘indifferent.’
I went to graduation and watched all those people before me walk across the stage. I listened to the cheering and screaming, including my own for some people I knew, and for those who made ‘distinction or Great Distinction.’ Which was all well and good. Then it was time for my row to move towards the queue to walk the stage in front of all those people.
I was stopped on stage right wing so that the reader could be changed out and the computer prompter to move forward with the next department, which happened to be Religion. I whispered my name to the speaker at the podium and started my walk across the stage. There was utter silence. Not one clap was audible to me, not like the audibles I was hearing up to our row. No cheers, No screams – it was me walking across that stage to the chair of our department. I was the lead off student in the department of Religion.
Even before the ceremony started we were queued in the rally area to get in numeric order for seating and for our Marshalling Cards. There is what I call the ‘bitch squad’ those girly girls who are arrogant and pissy – the real ball breakers who eat men for breakfast in our department. I hate them, vehemently…
Try to carry on a conversation to get the mood going or to try and celebrate some gladness and these women are cold as ice and can’t even be nice to converse without the dagger mode in full swing. So as I was walking to the stage queue I passed by some of my (classmates) who were sitting with cast iron bitch of the universe and he cheered me on as I walked by. That was it.
I walked off the stage with my diploma and set it on my seat and asked my seat mate to keep an eye on it while I went to the bathroom. I missed the rest of them walking across the stage – really, I couldn’t give a shit for any of them. There is no love lost on the Department of Religion. After the ceremony ended I turned in my gown and cape and set off to find my husband for some outdoor pictures, then we set off for the Department reception.
We were a bit early and the bus stopped at the top of the hill at the General, so I decided to stop in and see Ms. Nikki to show her my diploma, because she works at the general and she had called me yesterday to congratulate me. I wanted to invite her to join us today, but she couldn’t get off her shift. So we stopped in to have an impromptu celebration in the reception area at the hospital.
Which was the best part of the afternoon.
After that we walked a block down the hill to Dr. Penfield to the reception. Firstly, I have to say that I’m a gay man with HIV. I am really good at reading body language and/or the lack thereof. I’ve made these observations about certain staff, ministers, professors, and fellow students. I don’t have an ego – and I don’t NEED anyones approval or accolades.
But I must comment on the fact that some of the female professorship have great big sticks up their asses. The gay boys in the room – while the entire time we were there, said not one word to me. They did not look at me, nor offer one single word of congratulations, which struck me. Not to mention the cast iron cold hearted women of the department who have utter disdain for me because I won’t put up with their shit or the fact that they grovel and look like animals begging for table scraps.
I am a lot older than most of the students who were at the reception. I identified more with some of my ‘adult’ classmates, those other adults who are in the department or are in my Theology department as of now, who were there. I felt cold. I felt ignored. I spoke to a few professors at the reception, but Donald was the only man who was in any way, shape or form proud and excited for me, and that right there was enough for me.
I didn’t feel anything.
I don’t hang with my fellows at the pubs or attend beer and chili parties because I don’t drink and I can’t be bothered to attend group functions where I know I am going to be ignored anyways, so why bother? I guess the reason that I have felt nothing is because I didn’t have a “friend” in my grouping who I could trust or call a friend that I had any identity with to celebrate with because – for the most part, it’s all lip service really. Oh let’s act like friends because we have to present a good show for the others, but I am reading “I really don’t like you and I could care less about your achievement because really, it is all about me!”
It is one thing to be a mature student – and I get that. It is another thing to be part of a department that tolerates ones presence and deal with the fact that I am self sufficient and the only person that I count on for advice or support is Donald. You know when someone looks at you and smiles out the sides of their mouths because they have to, not because they are genuinely happy for you or want to show any sort of preference to liking you. That shit just turns my stomach. But this reflection is important because if I came away with this feeling of numbness and indifference, then there must be more.
The director of chaplaincy opened the convocation and I had to walk past her to get onto the stage from where she was sitting, right at the exit point onto the stage and she didn’t even acknowledge me when I was standing there. This whole thing just makes me sick to my stomach. I’m sad that nobody that I know – student wise gave a shit to celebrate with me or make a move to show conciliation or support of any kind except for the political posturing one has to do in front of others to put on a good face for everyone to see, because it isn’t about me, but it IS all about them!
I‘m just disgusted… really
I was kind, I was supportive and I was a good member of the department. I did what I could for everyone there, to the point of disagreeing about spending excess department money on beer and partying. There have been years of feminine strife between the faggots and the feminists. It is a dog eat dog world and I was an outsider, and I accept that of myself. But when it called for – for me to be present, I was. I did everything I could to be a nice guy – a Christian, a friend, a fellow and a participant in my department.
So I end this Religion Degree with the thought that, I felt nothing but disgust on the way home from the reception. Nobody cares to remember that I lived 13 years with HIV and lived to tell the tale. That it took every ounce of strength I had at times to get out of bed and get my work in on time. That I had my health issues over the years and still maintained a graduation date ‘in time.’ That I went back to school at age 35 to get this degree and I busted my fucking ass to get here, and nobody stopped to notice…
Nobody could give a damn about this achievement.
People can be so cold and distant that it struck me that I had to initiate conversations that were at times, strained to say the least. T.A’s I’ve known ignored me and professors did their best to avoid me and hubby which struck me as well. If I was sensing the disconnect, then surely he did as well. So after we executed proper protocol, I had had enough and said, let’s go home. We said goodbye to Donald and we left. I didn’t give a shit about saying anything to anyone. Andrea did her best to be social, but that ‘clique of girls’ just make my stomach turn. And I told her that.
It is one thing to say that we are friends, but lip service is just that, lip service. If you cannot put action behind the thought and word, then please don’t bother, because I don’t want to feel guilty that you put yourself out for me or my husband.
I got my degree and that’s all that matters.
Tomorrow I will take that diploma to my home group and we will celebrate there.
I confess to almighty God
and to you my brothers and sisters
that I have sinned through my own fault
in my thoughts and in my words
in what I have done and what I have failed to do
and I ask blessed Mary, ever Virgin
all the angels and saints
and you my bothers and sisters
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
May Almighty God have mercy on us
and forgive us our sins and bring us to
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well these pictures are worth four years of study and millions of words spoken and typed. The celebration was amazing. I survived the experience. I wept singing O’ Canada and I clapped and screamed for my friends.
So here is my qualification to think big, to dream big and to go out into the world and make a difference in my community.
We will be leaving the house for Place des Arts for my Graduation…
Let us all say ‘AMEN’
Now let’s sing some Amy Grant…
Got a ticket coming home,
Wish the officer had known
What a day today has been.
Then I stumbled through the door,
Dropping junk mail on the floor.
When will this day end?
But then your letter caught my eye,
Brought the hope in me to life,
cause you know me very well,
And I bet you wrote me
Just to tell me,
In a little while,
Well be with the father;
Cant you see him smile? (ooooooh….)
In a little while,
Well be home forever,
In a while….
Were just here to learn to love him;
Well be home in just a little while.
This morning I took my final exam in Anthropology, this evening I presented my paper on Paul and Gnosis. I turned in that final paper and I am officially on Summer Break until September. I have a few loose ends to tie up this week and graduation is just days away.
1. Marshalling Card – Check
2. Gown – Check
3. Sash – Check
Fees: Paid in Full
Graduation is Monday morning…
T-minus 29 days and counting until Graduation on June 18th 2007 at Place Des Arts on the Green Line of the Metro. At Salle Wilfred Pelletier. Here in Montreal’s Entertainment district downtown.
If you wish to attend please RSVP with me ASAP, as there are no tickets to be had and also the Graduation Ceremony begins on Monday June 18th at 10:00 a.m. sharp. All seats are first come first served. The convocation lasts 2.5 hours. So buckle up and bring your munchies and tissues… All guests must be present and seated 45 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony.
Our Pre-Graduation Party will take place at Dundee’s on Saturday June 16th between 1 and 4 p.m. at The Corner of Crescent and De Maisonneuve. RSVP is required for a complete head count to reserve space, so if you want to attend our ‘Dutch Party’ let me know ASAP.
A Religion Department Reception is to follow at the Samuel Bronfman Building (1590 Dr. Penfield Avenue ) from 1:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday June 18th – the same day. If you want to attend this function as my guests, please let me know as well, as soon as possible. June 6th is the deadline to RSVP for this particular event.
Jeremiah’s Call and Commission
‘Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy’ But the Lord said to me “Do not say, “I am only a boy” For you shall go to all to whom I send you and you shall speak whatever I command you, Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you, Says the Lord.”
The Evolution of Jeremiah has become a force of nature in the last year. We have broadened the base of our ‘church’ and we have moved from the building into the field. I have spent a great deal of time talking to my friend Angela and we spoke about this that I am writing to you about now.
“I am told that this ministry is bigger than any church, because it reaches world wide!”
For many years, all I have wanted to do was to help people. I have always said that I see myself in a church, leading a group of people through life, based on simple Christian tenets. My ministry, Our ministry, is here to help you. It is a huge blessing to know today that I am a survivor. It is another beast entirely to really believe that I am a survivor and that I am worthy of great things, as are you.
I never imagined that I would get here in my life, because for most of my life, I have waited to die. I was supposed to die, years ago. But God had other plans for me, I must believe that the reason I am still on this earth is by His goodness and for His love for me and that He still has work for me that must be done. Fear and pain are great motivators. I know what each of those feel like. So I am motivated to set these words to press.
I pledged to you my ‘fellows’ and to my ‘boys’ and to ‘everyone’ that this blog ministers to that I would do God’s work, so long as there was air in my lungs and a day to spend working on this ministry that has, at times, taken my breath away. It is an awesome and humbling feeling to know that what I do today has such an impact on those I work with.
But it also scares me to death.
I must remain humble, I must remember my morals and my ethics. I must always be grateful and thankful for all good things. And as a leader I must be accountable, respectable and reliable. I must stand for what I believe. And I must be a light to the world and I must do what God calls me to do every day.
I will graduate next month with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and I guess I have arrived at the place that says, “I am qualified.” I have survived 14 years with AIDS and I am more than qualified to share on that topic as well. I am qualified to talk about AIDS and surviving a once terminal disease that did more killing than it allowed people to live. With the dawn of mew medications, lives just keep getting better, so I am qualified.
I am clean and sober and I have been through hell and lived to tell the tale of how to get sober and clean, and to learn that sobriety, like clean time, is a spiritual pursuit. God is there, eventually you find him, or He finds you, when you stop long enough for Him to find you, so with that I am also qualified.
I have years of experience in Youth Ministry. I have a lifetime of “lived experience” to offer you as a man of faith. ‘What I am’ has nothing to do with ‘Who I am,’ so that is a non-issue. Jesus preached to everyone who would listen. Jesus spoke to the marginal and he loved them. He healed the sick and the infirm. He ate with those that most would not, and He loved them. He ministered to the souls of all, not just some.
I am told that I have a gift of intuition, that I am worthy and that my work in this ministry has changed the lives of so many, just because I was present, and I listened and most importantly that I have learned what it means to really “Love.” And I guess I have. Love is not perfect, but one day at a time, it is as close as it will be on any given day, as long I remain teachable, and humble and I remain centered in prayer.
There is a young man named Scotty, go visit his “Work in Progress” and be amazed. If I had tell you what I want for my ministry, Scotty would be the man. He has a beautiful life and an amazing ministry.
Times are changing and lives are changing. And my mission to help people remains steadfast. I know that there are people out there who may think I am just saying words, but take some time and read here and see what I am really about.
Ministry is a full time job. And most of my free time is devoted to those who seek my counsel. Each week I devote an entire day to recovery and I have an (AA) home group that I serve diligently as it’s treasurer. I set up chairs and I wait. Each week people come, hours early for a meeting because I am there. They come to talk, but for the most part, they come to listen. They come to be fed. They come because I am there, therefore God is there as well.
“I am always available to AA whenever I am called on to serve, like they say you never say no to AA. Just like you never say No to God…”
“Be careful what you ask from God, because if He thinks you are ready, it shall come to pass, and usually quicker than you expected.”
I cannot do this alone. And I cannot wait for people to come knock on my door to help this ministry. So I am asking you to participate in our ministry. There are bills to be paid, there are needs that my house seriously needs and I don’t have the ability to move forward because of financial constraints. My husband and I are both on medical regimens that must be managed. We have been trying to get life in order so that we may move forward, but today, we are getting nowhere because of recent issues that have arisen.
God puts people into my life for a reason. And I must heed that message today. I cannot continue this ministry of faith without financial support from those who have received so much for so long. I have prayed about this issue and I have talked to many about it as well. And now is the time for action, or this ministry will never get out of the starting gate.
My goal today is to graduate next month with my degree in Religion. I am currently pursuing my Certificate in Pastoral Ministries in the Department of Theology. My hope, in the coming months, is to begin building infrastructure in this community, but without support from you, my “fellows,” that will never happen.
“If we are to start building ‘church,’ we need to first pay the bills and be able to have funds in the bank to further this ministry into the location it will find itself in by years end.”
I know in my heart that this is what I was called to do. To minister to God’s people, because like it or not, people are seeking Him where they may find him. So many people are wandering through life having left their respective churches with no place to go because of politics and dogma, exclusion and alienation. My ministry is open to all who seek to find Him in whatever way you choose. We do not align ourselves with any particular ‘church’ or ‘dogma.’
We follow the God who created us and calls us to greatness. We follow the Christ who forgives us and teaches us, and we call on the Spirit who breaths life into us. I believe that God created us all for a reason and for a purpose. We are called to love one another and respect one another. We are called to be ‘fishers of men and women and young people.’ We are called to share the ‘Good News’ and that is what we shall do.
My commitment to you is contingent on your support. I cannot do this alone, and I surely cannot do this with empty pockets. We spend so much money on coffee, trinkets and frivolous items, but how much do we invest in those who spiritually feed us day after day? Have you ever thought about that? This is not a church that forces you to tithe, and I am not a preacher that asks you to send in your money and we will pray for you. We pray for you because we are called to pray for you and everyone else.
“This ministry, my ministry and my house depends today, on the generosity of strangers, because without you today, there will not be a bright tomorrow. So my mandate for the coming year is such:”
We shall begin to build the church God calls us to build. If you build it, they will come. I ask you for your prayers and your good wishes, and also I ask you for your support, not just by your prayers, but also by your financial assistance. There is now a Donations Button on the Sidebar for you to contribute to this ministry. I place that button there with great trepidation and the utmost humility. We must begin somewhere.
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…”
One cannot not faithfully do the work when the mind is preoccupied with “how are we going to keep a roof over our heads.” If I am homeless, this ministry will be homeless as well. Until next time…
May God Bless you and keep you…
The Two Foundations
“Why do you call me :Lord, Lord” and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”
This morning I got up early and took a shower and headed off to find my fortune. I went to talk to financial aide and got some much needed cash, so money is taken care of now, for now. They are going to take my Summer balance next month, at least we can catch up on Peter’s tuition and have some money for food. We can worry about May in May.
I am registered for the Summer now for my Certificate in Pastoral Ministries Studies.
I paid off my tuition so my file is clear, I can graduate now with no stress.
I turned in my final paper and last writing assignment to the department.
I got a Brand New I.D. Card good through 2010!!!
I am now Officially finished with my Undergraduate career.
I am now a Graduate Student…
I am officially on VACATION…
Thank the Creator
I had a dream about my friend Glenn today and so I Googled him and this is what came up from Northwestern University. It seems that this report carried several clues that tell me that this might be you! We took music classes together (Keyboard) with Mrs. Tragash, back in the late 1970′s at Southwood Junior High School and we had a friend named John Sautter (sp), who I also have been thinking about recently as well. So if you find this post, email me at: (email@example.com) maybe we can reconnect.
I wondered about where you are living today, and what you are doing. It seems I got my answer below. Sports was your dream many years ago. Much has changed in my life since the last time you saw me decades ago. So there is a prayer into the firmament.
The Red Sox Pitch Man
Glenn Geffner (J90), the Red Sox’s liaison to the world, has been a busy man since Boston broke one of baseball’s longest World Series title droughts.
Photo by Julie Cordeiro
At 7:30 a.m. the day after the Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series, three generic coach buses rolled into rush-hour traffic at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Along the route to Fenway Park commuters pulled over and got out of their cars, people cheered from building tops and a news helicopter circled overhead.
Glenn Geffner (J90) was on one of those buses.
“You could win five World Series in any other city, and it wouldn’t be like winning one here,” says Geffner, the team’s vice president of media relations. Two days later in the World Series parade he rode a “duckboat” with David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and others past more than 3 million people.
“I get chills thinking about it right now,” Geffner said during spring training.
In March at City of Palms Park, the team’s spring training stadium in Fort Myers, Fla., things still hadn’t quieted down. Geffner rattled off a list of media requests from the Discovery Channel, Celebrity Poker Showdown, Barbara Walters and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
“I could sit here and check my e-mail and answer my phone for 16 hours a day and still not get to everything,” Geffner says.
While growing up in Miami, Geffner dreamed of becoming a sports broadcaster. When he came to Northwestern, Geffner joined WNUR-FM, the University’s student-run radio station, where he did play-by-play and color commentary for baseball, basketball and football.
After college Geffner worked with the Rochester Red Wings, a minor league baseball team in upstate New York. Charles Steinberg, then the San Diego Padres’ senior vice president of public affairs, lured Geffner to Southern California in 1997, where he directed public relations for the Padres for six years.
Geffner recalled watching Tony Gwynn collect his 3,000th hit and seeing the Padres play in the 1998 World Series. “But at the end of the day it didn’t change people’s lives,” he said of the team’s phenomenal 1998 season. “It affects people’s lives every single day whether the Red Sox win or lose.” Geffner came to Boston with Steinberg in February 2003.
For the Red Sox, Geffner preps players for the media. You have to be sensitive to the needs of both the players and the media, says Gordon Edes, senior baseball writer for the Boston Globe. “Glenn walks that line very well. He’s responsive to the concerns of the players and also knows how to intervene on our behalf.”
Geffner also walks the line of being both a baseball man and a family man. Long after a spring training game against the Orioles ended, Geffner answered e-mails in his Fort Myers office while his wife, Christine, changed 14-month-old Gregg’s diaper on the floor. He remarked that it would be the last time his 4-year-old would spend the entire six weeks of spring training in Florida — Corey starts kindergarten in the fall. Yet the boy has already taught his father a valuable lesson.
“At the end of the day, whether the Red Sox won or lost isn’t the most important thing to Corey,” Geffner says. “He loves the game in the purest, most innocent way, reminding me of how I felt when I first fell in love with baseball. The game and my job both look a lot better when he reminds me to see it through his eyes.”
— Robert Brenner (J07)
YAY, Craig Sharpe!!! He should of won. Now go buy his CD!! Amazing. Looks like I’m going to have to make a trip to HMV tomorrow sometime…
Craig Sharpe’s debut album is now on store shelves and Canadian Idol music producer Orin Isaacs couldn’t be happier.
That’s because Isaacs is the main man behind Sharpe’s album — from selecting him from last year’s finalists to releasing the record on Moca Music, the label he co-owns with business partner Steve McAuley.
“I Am” hit stores on Feb. 27 following the release of its first single, “When They Know Your Name,” earlier that month. Isaacs says he can’t believe the reception the album has received so far, especially in Sharpe’s home province of Newfoundland, where is has appeared on the nightly countdown of more than one radio station.
“We haven’t gotten our first week sales numbers in but already retailers are re-ordering so that’s got to be a good sign there is an audience out there,” he told Eye on Idol during the show’s audition stop in London, Ont. “I think people will be surprised at the diversity on the CD, it really does have something for everyone.”
The album, which is being distributed nationally by EMI Music, includes pop, country and traditional east coast tracks, said Isaacs.
“When Craig first approached me to help him make a CD, I simply asked him ‘what kind of CD do you want to make?’” Isaacs said. “He’s answer was priceless: ‘if this is the only CD I ever make, I wants it to have every style of music on it that I ever wanted to record.’ So that’s what we did.
“That’s why we called it ‘I Am.’ At the time that’s what he was, a little bit of everything.”
Interviewed shortly before the album hit the public sphere, Sharpe said he couldn’t wait to find out what his fans from his tenure on “Canadian Idol” thought about his work.
“It’s really just the type of album I was hoping for,” said Sharpe, who has taken up piano and wrote multiple songs on the CD. “I’m really excited.”
For his part, Isaacs has thoroughly enjoyed work with Sharpe, who came close to taking the Season 4 Canadian Idol title before landing in second place.
“(Craig) has such a different tone and range that (people) can’t figure him out,” he said. “That’s what drew me to him. He truly does have a very unique instrument and in turn that makes him unique.”