It is ( 0c ) outside right now. A bit frigid. It is time for Winter to go already.
I’ve been collecting stories to tell you tonight on top of meeting updates and stuff like that there.
It was a sunny day and a good day was had by all. I am ahead of the reading game this week. I am hoping I did somewhat well on my philosophy mid term last Thursday. As of last night, the grades had not been posted on LEA.
I have an oral presentation to do tomorrow night in French. I hate oral presentations. I write them out and copy them into Google translate and then print out what comes out. I did that the last time and it worked for me. I need three minutes of material, like good stand up if you get three good minutes in, then you win.
The end of the month is upon us, and you know what the end of the month means? As long as there is toilet paper in the bathroom everything will be ok.
It was a busy day today, lots of errands to run, a little banking here and there.
Last Thursday on my way to my phone shift I needed to put tickets on my Opus card for the metro. In every station are ticket kiosks. And since we are on Opus now, it is all electronic between you and the bank.
I got to Guy metro and slipped my card into the magnetic reader and went through the motions of recharging my card. I got all the way through once and my transaction was refused. (BUT – the reader took my money anyways) but didn’t spit out tickets. So I tried it a second time, I swiped my card and it took the information, and a second time, (the reader took my money and didn’t spit out any tickets). Total loss $28.50
I was pissed at this moment. So I got on the train and went to PIE IX station in the East end and when I got off the train and came up into the station I stopped at the Opus kiosk there.
I stuck my card in the reader and tried to load my card up a third time. It went through the motions and denied my transaction again. (the reader took my money again, but didn’t spit out any tickets). So this time I tried a fourth time to get the machine to work. That proved fruitless. (the reader took my money and didn’t spit out any tickets.) Total loss $57.00.
Now totally angry I went to the station kiosk and spoke to a woman behind the glass and told her that my card wouldn’t recharge and that I needed to buy tickets. She took my debit card and played with it a bit, stroking the magstrip on the back. She handed back my card and told me to try it again.
So I went back to the kiosk and swiped my card a fifth time. And voila the transaction went through. Total spend $14.25 - Debit spend total $71.25.
When I got to the office I started my shift and logged onto the computer and went to my bank site. I pulled up my transaction record to see what the bank showed. Two of my transactions were refunded back. Gain: $28.50
Two of the transactions that failed still went through, but no refund was pushed back onto my account. The fifth transaction showed on the account as processed. I called the bank to complain about the STM. They could not help me since it wasn’t a bank problem but an STM problem. Which brings me up to this afternoon.
On the way to the church I stopped off at the bank and talked to a rep there. I took with me a copy of my account transactions. She put all the information into the computer and took the transaction number from the successful transfer of tickets/debits. She told me that the bank would contact the STM and check the machine and that it might take 10 days to process …
The STM owes me $28.50.
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I stopped by Zeller’s to get milk and cookies for the meeting on the way to the bank. People love cookies, and that is a weekly part of the meeting, sweets!!!
I got to the church really early. It was all said and done by 4:30. Which meant I had two hours to kill before the meeting. A good thing I brought classwork and textbooks with me, we are reading KANT this week. A rather tedious read, if I say so myself. I don’t think that one read is gonna do it for me. He didn’t assign questions to go along with the reading so I didn’t highlight anything in the text. Which maybe I need to do before class on Thursday night.
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Attendance was slim at the first meeting. We had less than a dozen folks show up, but the discussion went the entire hour. We talked about Higher Power and how we came to find it, what we call it and how that has aided us in sobriety. It was our last beginner’s discussion meeting.
The second meeting showing was a bit better. The lion’s share of the seventh tradition came from the second meeting tonight. We had $25.00 in expenses for the week in literature, milk and cookies. Which basically ate up the bulk of the 7th, at least there was a few bucks to throw into the kitty.
Dave, Rick and I went to a meeting on Saturday night in Verdun and that’s where I found my speaker for tonight. I call him the artist. He spoke for us a few months ago, after an invitation in Laval one night.
There are certain old timers that I never grow weary of listening to. The artist is one of those men. He is sober 28 years and just has the most compelling story that I have ever heard. It was a treat because our group is 53 years old, and many an old timer in the city began their journey’s of recovery in this same church basement, years ago. Our room has seen thousands of people pass through our doors over the last 53 years.
He knocked it out of the park once again. I was just thrilled hearing him and the crowd who came was as well. The visitors from out of town were well represented tonight. Season has begun – as winter comes to an end we will see a lot more traffic coming from out of town. Which is a nice treat.
So the end of an era has come to an end. Next week, Tuesday’s Beginners will embark on a new routine, a new schedule and a new meeting. I need to call the office tomorrow and make sure they change the meeting info in the desk manual. We have a huge notebook with all the meetings listed which is handy for callers, it is a carbon copy of the meeting list, but on a larger scale.
They made the change in the data base and in the blue sheets, so we need them to change it in the book in case people call in the next week looking for a Tuesday meeting. Since the speaker meeting is now closed and the discussion meeting is bumped back to 7 p.m.
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I sat and listened to everyone share at the early meeting. Sometimes I find it better to keep my thoughts to myself. Since there were so many thoughts running through my head at that point.
Pondering higher power.
There are many parts to my sober story. People and places. Times and events. Situations and issues. I have a connection to God that began early in my childhood thanks to my Memere. She was the one person who cared about my spiritual education early on as a young boy. (You can find that story in the pages called “Naked and Sacred.”)
I’ve known my whole life who God is. Memere made a pact with God when I was a small child. You see I survived, Many things in my life. When I should have died. This story goes back all the way to my first run at sobriety.
I was sick, facing my own mortality and death in a time that hope was in short supply and death was a daily occurrence. There was one man who took care of me when everybody else walked away. He became my higher power when I really needed it the most. I learned to rely on another human like never before. In that first 18 months, God was tangible in human form. The closest I think I have ever gotten to God came in the form of my mentor Todd. The man I credit my survival.
I always knew who god was as a young person. I was not focused on the god of my upbringing at that point in my life, that would not come until much later, the memory of who I was, in the middle of total tragedy and loss. But God was there when I needed him. And what I needed was tangible evidence that God existed because I was going to die and I didn’t want to go alone.
What gay men of the AIDS era lacked, and I have written this before, was a connection to God. None of the mainstream writers during the height of the AIDS crisis ever mentioned the word God once. Not once…
Churches were turning away the sick. Families were throwing their children into the streets. People were dying left and right, for all intents and purposes, there was no God in the trenches. And I subscribed to that thought as well myself. I called on God to save me, and to protect me, and Todd showed up and it all happened as it did.
It would not come to pass for a few more years that the God of my upbringing would make its return to my life in the form of active religious participation in community, but it did happen. That’s when I met a holy man named Jeff. He changed my life.
I am certain today that God moved in my life in sweeping manners. My relationship to the god of my understanding has morphed over the last 43 years.
On my return to sobriety in 2001, I prayed to God certain prayers and one by one they happened. Call it miracle or not, God came to my assistance once again. I met a group of people in the rooms that second time who would carry me into sobriety once again. Some of those men and women are still part of my life today.
Coming to Montreal was an act of faith. Returning to my roots has carried me on this journey these last nine years. Getting sober this time proved educational.
In my youth, part of this journey of faith took me to a Catholic Seminary for a year where I learned to wait on god and get to know his voice. But that was not to come to fruition.
Fast forward to my move to Montreal and my introduction to family I never knew I had would bring me back to the God of my upbringing as well. I came to a new adoration for God through the eyes of my great aunt Sister Georgette. I had three years to learn from her. She blessed me with stories of family, she knew who I was well before I knew who she was.
Returning to University here in Montreal gave me the opportunity to continue my religious education. I would not take the route through the church but climb the ladder on the outside of the building. I not only have the God of my upbringing, but also the wisdom of six years of religious and theological education to add to that.
Just recently, my life has been blessed with photographs from my youth, when times were better. The people I loved the most were still alive and having those photos once again, tangible evidence of family, has brought me an old joy.
In Christian tradition, relics and photographs are something that connect us to the holy. They remind us of the past. And they carry with them blessings and memories of saints, blesseds, and the holy. You see these venerations at places steeped in religious history: churches, holy sites and grottos.
I carry with me a small satchel of relics from Mere D’Youville, given to me when Sister Georgette died some years ago. It is something that I hold dear. Keepsakes from her are special and I carry them with me where ever I go.
Memere is amongst the holy I venerate. Seeing her again has brought me back to my roots, I see her every day now, not like a memory in my minds eye, that can fade over time, with distance and life. I have that daily tangible reminder of who she was and what she meant to me when she was alive. That memory never left me, but has been reinforced in a way that I can’t explain, you just have to be in this place to get it.
God is never far from my daily routine. Over the years I have expanded my belief in a power greater than myself. I know what I grew up with, I know what I learned in university, and I know what I have experienced throughout my life.
The artist spoke about those events in our lives that in hindsight we know happened, that cannot be explained. The ways god remains anonymous. But people and events happen in our lives by no choice of our own, but by the grace of god.
I know who God is today, and I know who God is not. At least to me.
It may not be the same for you. And that’s ok.
It was a good day.
It is getting late. I need to eat dinner and get some sleep.
More to come, stay tuned …
Today is the third anniversary of the death of Sister Georgette Cote. I got a call from the Mother House this evening. I think about her every day.
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
In writing about the past in my last entry “diagnosis” I wrote a reflection on a book that I had finished reading, but if you were not looking for it specifically, you might have missed one crucial aspect of survival in my writing of that entry and including the text that I had read, that crucial missing element is God.
When you read some of the early AIDS writers there is one alarmingly missing part of the puzzle. Nobody speaks the name of God, nobody invokes the power of God, and nobody is going to church to pray. This is a specific aspect of my story that I did not forget to write about – but as I read my spiritual text “Life with God” as I lie in bed, I am remiss to let this go without addressing it here.
There is no doubt that the Christian Right has much to answer for for its treatment of the sick when it comes to people with AIDS, be they children, men or women. And there is no doubt that the “Church” with a Capitol “C” plays their own role of hatred as well. And we must also cite the evangelical preachers across the board for their fire and brimstone direct condemnation of people with AIDS as being “Punished by God, for their acts of sinful behavior.” And then there is the family unit of those who were sick who unleashed their very own brand of religious condemnation when it came to denying their own children when it came to AIDS and death. I would be remiss if I did not mention these specifically by name because you are all guilty as charged.
I never had issues with my faith when I got sick. Even when the world turned their backs on so many, when it came down to the nuts and bolts of survival, I truly believe within a shadow of a doubt that a Power Greater than myself was taking care of me. And I know that because when I got sick, I got sober at the same time, having daily contact with a power greater than myself in that precise time in my life paid out dividends. I prayed, my friends prayed, my community prayed. We all prayed.
Never once in much of Paul Monette’s writing does he mention church or prayer, although Paul and some of his contemporaries were involved with Ma Jaya in Los Angeles and in Florida. She was the leader of a community of people who did great things for people with AIDS, and she did for me as well. I would be remiss if I did not mention her here because I spent time on her ashram in Florida on several occasions after my diagnosis. She was very big on tv when on a particular late night show she would be seen speaking to a pair of parents who abandoned their son when he got sick and eventually died of AIDS and Ma was seen shaking a vial of ashes in front of them saying “how could you do that to your son?” That was what got me to seek her out and to know her because I too had been abadoned by my family.
Faith and Faith in God was a huge part of my life, my story, my recovery, and my survival. I must have done something right after all these years, to still be talking about this subject some fifteen years after the fact and I am still alive. Someone up there loves me enough to plead to God on my behalf. None of this goes unnoticed. I just thought it was important to talk about that part of my survival, because you just cannot survive on drugs alone. Because you can stuff yourself full of medication, but unless there is some conscious or unconscious action behind them, those pills are useless. If one does not put some power of grace behind the act of taking a pill, why take the pill to begin with?
There is a definite correlation between what the brain tells the body, the body eventually follows. So if you are sick and you bombard yourself with thoughts of death all the time, death is what you are going to get. And for some, death was the only conclusion to life and illness. There are just some things that happen that cannot be countered. Everyone is going to die at one time or another, and I know that God sees each and every one of us who suffers and he works to end that suffering, and sometimes, the end to suffering is death. No matter how much one prays or believes, if illness overcomes you, and for many it does, death is a foregone conclusion. But I lived…
When I moved to Miami in 1995, I returned to my roots of Holy Mother Church. I sought out the fathers of the cloth. I returned to the church of my upbringing, yes I was gay, I was sick and I was waiting to die. God had other plans for me. And I firmly believe that. I also firmly believe that Nuestra Senora Caridad del Cobre prayed for my soul, I firmly believe that Jesus walked with me, and that Mary prayed with me, and that God saw that I wanted to live because I was activly living my faith in the direst of situations. Death was imminent. I was supposed to die. At least that’s what the medical establishment told me, either they got it wrong, or God had other plans.
In moving to the Mercy Hospital Immunodeficiency clinic, that was a very Catholic institution. Because we lived in a very “Latin i.e. Cuban” religious and secular system of care. Many, if not all the women who worked in this circle were good church going, God fearing Catholic Women, who all had God’s ear. Not to mention the men and other doctors they served under they were quite the team of spiritually prepared warriors for God’s poor, downtrodden, and sick.
There was a faith component to our care. There was no denying it, there was no avoiding it, there was no disrespect, there was no question. Even the sick went to church, and when the sick could not get to church, they were visited by the Church. Now you couple sobriety and a power greater then myself, which I choose to call God, to this day, with prayer and sacramental living, you have one powerful energy machine for healthy living. And I know on those days when I found it difficult to speak, others were praying for me day and night.
Hell hath no fury like a group of faithful Cuban prayer people. We recited the rosary daily in any language you chose. We went to mass daily, and we received the sacraments. We were visited by holy men and women, we were even treated to spiritual retreats by holy men and women on the grounds of the Church of Our Lady of Charity, Caridad del Cobre. God saw us come, he heard us pray. And for many, they lived.
The one important thing I have to say for myself is that I lived.
I remember when I went to my church of my upbringing and I told the priests that I was sick and that they doctors has said that i was going to die, I remember holy men weeping, and telling me confidently that ONE, you will come to church, TWO, you will pray, THREE, you will see the face of God. They believed for me when I could not believe for myself.
I often tell the story of Father Jeff, a priest I met one Sunday who had MS, and he walked with crutches in and around and out of the church. He had no use of his legs, but he did have the use of his faith. And that day i watched him say mass that one Sunday, i knew I would never complain about being sick ever again. I would never become as jaded and cold to faith as many did before me. Many of my friends went to their graves cursing God because of what they had witnessed themselves in human beings who became animals, they, those cursed Christians who had not one word to offer the sick, but their vitriol of condemnation.
Still to this day, on this very blog, I get the odd Cursed Christian who thinks that I listen to their hatred and self righteousness. That I would even consider sharing their cursed comments with this readership. how wrong is that!!!
For many years, on Sunday nights, I would rush home to watch Touched By an Angel, and I have to say that I believe to this day that there are angels that walk the earth and that I am not alone, and neither are you. It would come to pass that this little show that could could be attributed to my good health. Because I believed and I prayed and I listened to a few angels who said, God loves you.
I guess that the spark of God never left me, even as a child, when my grandmother Memere presented me to God, that day in that church when I was just a boy, had a lasting affect on my life, even to this very day. Now, you want to talk about blind faith, mention to God the names Camille and Sister Georgette. They are both long since dead, Sisiter Georgette died two years ago August here in Montreal, Memere died a few years after I was diagnosed. They are two women I know have God’s ear.
I wanted to share this bit of text with you from “Life with God” pg 134, Foster writes:
“Life with God is an ongoing, ever changing, relational adventure. It is not a matter of being driven through life, stopping every now and then to get out of the car and see the surroundings. God invites us to climb into the landscape of our journey, to breathe deeply with full lungs, to feel blood pulsing through muscles doing what they were made to do, to experience the wonder of having a body with which to see and hear and smell and taste and touch of this astonishing world.”
We have the opportunity to incorporate the Streams of Living Water into our daily lives when we stop to ponder these sic paths together:
- The Contemplative tradition, or “The Prayer filled life”
- The Holiness tradition, or “The Virtuous life”
- The Charismatic tradition, or “The Spirit-empowered life”
- The Social Justice tradition, or “The Compassionate life”
- The Evangelical tradition, or “The Word-Centered life,” and
- The Incarnational tradition, or “The Sacramental Life”
I have discussed these six traditions with you last term when I studied Christian Spirituality, each of these traditions have their own entries on this blog, if you are so adventurous to go seek them out. Suffice to say that there is no life, without faith. And there is no faith without life. There are no words to speak to God in gratitude for all that He has given us, fortunate are we to share some time together here, in order that I might share my faith journey with you.
One of the things that mystifies my doctors today is my reliance on faith, when doctors who run by the book and by the numbers who are faced with patients that believe in God and have stock in faith, that seems to throw my doctor off the deep end. You can’t convince a scientist or doctor that faith plays a big role in the longevity of the sick. They say, what ever works, and for me what ever works.
May God bless you,
may his light shine upon you
and may the Spirit of God rest upon your heads and hearts.
I slept in today, UGH! But I did get to my evening class with Sara, my Celtic Christianity class, which I totally enjoyed. Sara’s classes are comfy and warm and cozy that you come in and you sit and allow the feeling to wash over you that “all is well in the world.”
That doesn’t speak of an easy ride mind you, but one of conscious thought and work. I have been reading the course pack and through tonight’s discussion we have learned a few things. That there is more to Celtic life than we may have known. That each reading in the book is set in its place for a reason.
Imagine standing before a forest, you boys out West can better understand this than I can paint a picture, but Sara used the forest imagery tonight. And I remarked how each reading, if laid upon the one prior paints a picture in successive layers of reading, and information. And the readings tease you to walk into the forest and turn leaves over looking for further clues to the real truth of the Celtic.
We are invited to start exploring the forest for clues to our study for this term. It is not all so easy, and reading about the past – we must use our lenses of hermeneutic suspicion, to read each text and article with a critical eye. I used that term tonight, and Sara giggled to the rest of the class, “oh Jeremy, you are so clever, aren’t you!” I had to explain this strategy with my fellows.
It’s all good…
And my young warrior from the West came to visit! You can check out his blog, The Life of Robert Wesley, he is a very special friend that I have known for some time. Joy of joys he has decided to continue writing!! YAY!!
On the way home I hit “Came to Believe” in time for the second speaker, just so I had some time to sit with myself and be quiet and listen to another speak about his trials and tribulations about recovery. I just wanted to sit and listen, which is always a good thing to do when possible.
Over all is was a great night. Now I am gonna hit some dinner and chill out…
A photograph from the Portfolio of Robert Wesley from B.C.
I was sick again this morning, and all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed and sleep which is what I did – so I missed my morning class. But I am up on the reading and I also have the lecture slide from P.P.T.
Saturday I rented some movies, Sophie Scholl and Click with Adam Sandler, we love Adam Sandler movies. When I went to pay they were playing Home Alone in the store because we are hitting chilly weather, it seems that people are getting ‘into the spirit’ a little early!
Yesterday while we were out shopping we stopped by the video store and I found a special edition of Home Alone with deleted scenes and behind the scenes episodes which are really great. And I also picked up a box set of Charlie Brown: a Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!! Woo Hoo!!
Last evening before Big Brother, we watched Home Alone, and like any good person would I was sobbing by the last scene with my tissues and all! I am such a softee…
There are 99 shopping days until Christmas…
I am off to class in a bit…
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???
Esto es por Arcano, en Sud America… Oye!!
Voy hoy a hablar de mis raíces, parte posteriora cuando realmente importó. La vida viví – en una gran ciudad – con una multiplicidad de influencias de muchas caminatas cubanos y latinos de los aspectos de la vida, especialmente de la comunidad. La una cosa que falto es el cierre apretado hace punto a comunidad que era la comunidad latina de Miami. Hice una opción larga hace para abrazar a una comunidad que hicieron mi vida tanto mejor que habría podido siempre estar, y que pagó la inversión apagado en espadas cuando yo más necesario él. Tan aquí está esa historia…
Cuando estaba en escuela del grado tenía una opción para abrazar español como mi segunda lengua de la estancia un gringo en el lado inglés blanco. Era el único en mi familia que abrazó la cultura, la lengua y la vida del golpe latino. La comunidad latina tenía una tapicería tan maravillosa de la vida, del amor, de la cultura y de la tradición. Era la época más asombrosa de mi vida.
La inversión de una vida en una vida bilingüe pagó apagado cuando gradué de High School secundaria porque para conseguir un trabajo en Miami, una tuvo que saber la segunda lengua. Encuentro que aquí, soy menos impulsivo aprender francés, porque era mi entrada en esta comunidad menos que hospitalaria.
Cuál es porqué honro siempre mis raíces latinas y cubanos, porque era una búsqueda larga de la vida a aprender, a saber, a vivir entre y a amar dentro. Todos mis amigos eran Latino o el cubano y ése hicieron mi vida tanto más redonda de muchas maneras. El componente más importante a la tradición del cubano y de Latino es familia y el cuidado que toma de esa familia.
Cuando conseguí enfermo, y mi familia y amigos salieron todo a partir de mi vida, volví a Miami para conseguir listo morir, porque era realmente enfermo. Ése es cuando el Latino y la comunidad cubano caminaron adentro y sintieron bien a la familia ese I más necesario. Tenía cuidado médico superior de la muesca, tenía la familia y amigos que nunca me dejaron estar solo. Había siempre algo hacer, puebla para ver, y los lugares a ir. La oficina de los doctores llegó a ser casera lejos de hogar en esos días.
Pasé muchas horas, días y semanas en la clínica que recibía el tratamiento que para la mayor parte ahorró mi vida. Éramos amamos, nos trataron como la familia y nunca estábamos solos. Muchas de la gente que estaba en el tratamiento con para el VIH vivieron todo. Como vivo hoy. El cuidado que recibí de esos doctores, las enfermeras y el personal de ayuda formaron a hombre me convertí y el hombre usted conoce hoy. Vivo porque tan mucha gente quería que viva, y vive bien.
Uno de los únicos pesares que tenía en salir de Miami en venir a Montreal era la pérdida de la comunidad latina y cubano, de la gente, de la vida, de la tradición y del amor. Sé para un hecho que mucha gente tomó para concedido y resentido los cubanos que vinieron a Miami en esas décadas, pero para mí, era el activo más grande que un hombre joven podría siempre tener.
Cuando era un muchacho joven, trabajando como agente del recorrido, traducía visas y el papeleo especial para la gente que viajaba entre Miami y Cuba. Ése era el trabajo de recompensa que he hecho siempre en mi vida. Había rezos incontables y los regalos dados a mí sobre los años como hice este trabajo muy importante, hasta las oficinas para eso bueno de recorrido eran firebombed.
La otra parte más importante de vida de Latino era religión. Cuando estaba en seminario, cada otro día era día español, y celebramos la masa en español muchas veces a la semana, y encontraría eventual mi manera a una parroquia española donde trabajé en el ministerio de la juventud y atendí a muchas masas allí en mi parroquia.
El respecto del cubano y del latín por cultura y la religión era apenas asombroso. Era uno de los toques de luz más importantes de mi experiencia religiosa como hombre joven, como está hoy en mis estudios de la religión.
El dios en cualquier lengua es vital importante para la cultura respectiva que es parte de. Pienso que también tenido un impacto directo en mis estudios de continuación de la religión. Porque era parte en paquete el factor principal de mi vida, mi fe. Era asombroso, increíble y fantástico. Amo la tapicería religiosa multi tallada que es parte de mi existencia hoy.
La celebración más importante para mí en mi vida del latino era cobre de senora del caridad de Nuestra:
Alrededor del año 1608, dos indios, Rodrigo y Juan nativos de Hoyos, junto con 10-year-old un muchacho auxiliar, Juan Moreno, salieron buscando la sal necesitada para preservar la carne de la casa de la matanza de Barajagua, que proveió a los trabajadores y a habitantes de Santiago del Prado, ahora conocidos como EL Cobre.
Ese día podían apenas alcanzar Cayo Francés, a medio camino a través de la bahía de Nipe, donde encamped para escapar la furia de una tormenta que habría rasgado su canoa frágil a los pedazos. La calma fue restaurada con amanecer, y llevaron el mar transparente. En la distancia, vieron un paquete blanco el flotar en las ondas y el acercar de ellas lentamente. Al principio ellos lo tomaron para un pájaro del mar.
Mientras que vino más cerca, se parecía ser una muchacha y en el último podían determinarse que era una estatua de la Virgen Maria que sostenía al niño en su brazo derecho y con una cruz del oro en su mano izquierda. La estatua fue unida a un tablón inscrito: la Virgen de la Caridad (de la soja de Yo del ` soy la Virgen de la caridad). Según el testimonio jurado de testigos, a pesar de la tormenta reciente y el movimiento de las ondas, ni la figura de la Virgen, ni su ropa, era mojadas.
El jefe de la estatua está de la arcilla cocida al horno cubierta con una capa pulida del polvo blanco fino, posiblemente goma del arroz, y la renovación cuidadosa reciente de la imagen reveló las características finas que las capas incontables de la pintura habían deformido. Una nariz bien formada y una cara bien-proporcio’nada con los ojos grandes, cariñosos transportan un gentleness que invite confianza y rezo.
La Virgen tiene cerca de 16 pulgadas de alto y sus pies se basan sobre una luna brillante que extremos rodeen en ambos lados la nube de plata donde tres cherubs separan sus alas de oro. El niño, en el lado izquierdo de la estatua, levanta una mano como si bendiga, y en su otra mano él sostenga un globo del oro.
La señora de la caridad, apellidada del EL Cobre porque su santuario fue construido en que el centro urbano, se convirtió en una de las preferencias religiosas de los cubanos casi inmediatamente, puesto que ella representa Ochún, el símbolo de la feminidad, del agua dulce y de la felicidad, en el culto syncretic del Afro-Cubano.
Varias leyendas sobre la aparición de la Virgen – hace casi 400 años – han contribuido a la atracción de esa figura entre believers, habitantes de la ciudad y visitantes en los vacationers generales, principalmente extranjeros que visitan la isla del Caribe de muchas regiones del mundo, como resultado del desarrollo rápido de la industria del ocio.
A petición de los veteranos de la guerra de la independencia, Benedict declaró a patroness de Cuba XV de 1916 y fue coronada solemnemente nuestra señora de la caridad en el congreso de Eucharistic llevado a cabo en Santiago de Cuba en 1936. Papa Paul VI levantó su santuario a la categoría de Basilica en 1977. De enero el 24 de 1998, en una masa celebrada durante su visita apostólica a Santiago de Cuba, papa Juan Paul II coronó la imagen una segunda vez como la reina y patrón santo de Cuba. La Virgen santa misma se reclina sobre su altar, rodeado por las flores y las esencias.
Nunca amaré el France’s-Canadiense como amo mis raíces del cubano y de Latino. Nunca sucederá. Y ésa es la manera que la tendré.
Si tuviera tres deseos hoy serían:
1.That I podría volver a mis raíces y ver a toda esa gente que hizo mi vida tan maravillosa.
2.That usted podría satisfacer a toda la gente que hizo esta vida posible.
3. Que podría tener toda esta gente aquí hoy aquí en este curso de la vida.
Now, try that one on for size… You’ll have to translate this page to read it unless of course you know Spanish as a second language…
This is the exact kind of Religious SHIT that I hate – HATE about Christian Fundamentalists. That you believe that you hold sway over the government any more than the rest. This is why America needs a clear SEPARATION between CHURCH and STATE.
In the year 2007, Straight Evangelical Minions are so concerned with Gay Rights, Hate Crimes Legislation, AIDS funds, Gay Marriage, that you are going to spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of lobby time to sway the electorate to elect a God Damned President?
Oh the Gays are gonna come and get us, they threaten the sanctity of marriage, Oh the gays want Special Treatment, Rights, and Protection from Hate Crimes!! Oh Oh Oh….
The Evangelicals are on another Witch Hunt. They are going to press the Gay Issue on the Candidates and they will attempt to KILL any nomination of any candidate who is soft on the Homosexuals, Gays and Lesbians. I guess we are not past the wedging of Sexual Orientation or Sexual Orientation issues into a Presidential Campaign.
It is really sad when you think that all Evangelicals do with their spare time is THINK about all things GAY!!! Does this strike anyone as problematic for them and informative for us?
God, We pray for Salvation from Evangelical…
- Osama Bin Laden is still alive [See Video]
- The United States is engaged in a war [Read:IRAQ] that they cannot win
- President George Bush is an idiot – And needs to be IMPEACHED
- Your foreign policy needs work
- People need health care
- There are children going without food
- There is not enough money for People with AIDS across the board
- All you Christians can think about is the GAY AGENDA!! Pardon me while I THROW UP!!! You limey bastards…And God Wept!!!
by The Associated Press
Posted: September 9, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET
(Washington) Prominent evangelical leaders who spent the summer hoping Fred Thompson would emerge as their favored Republican presidential contender are having doubts as he begins his long-teased campaign.
For social conservatives dissatisfied with other GOP choices, the “Law & Order” actor and former Tennessee senator represents a Ronald Reagan-like figure, someone they hope will agree with them on issues and stands a chance of winning.
But Thompson’s lack of a full endorsement of a federal gay marriage amendment and his delay in entering the race are partly responsible for a sudden shyness among leading evangelicals.
“A month or two ago, I sensed there was some urgency for people to make a move and find a candidate,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Washington-based conservative Christian group. “Right now, I think people are stepping back a little and watching. The field is still very fluid.”
A loose network of influential evangelical leaders known as the Arlington Group met privately Wednesday and Thursday in Washington to discuss presidential politics and other issues, participants said.
Although the group does not endorse candidates, individual members have done so in the past, and one of the organization’s founding principles is to get the movement’s leaders on the same page when possible.
Some in the meeting shared their presidential leanings, but the consensus was that more time is needed to gauge Thompson’s performance, according to a participant.
A clearer picture may develop Oct. 19-21 during a “Values Voter Summit” in Washington that will include a presidential straw poll.
In June, Thompson met privately with several Arlington Group members, many of whom are uncomfortable with the GOP top tier for various reasons: Arizona Sen. John McCain for championing campaign-finance overhaul and labeling some evangelical figures “agents of intolerance”; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for backing abortion rights and some gay rights; and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his social-issue policy reversals and – for some members – his Mormon faith.
With the post-Labor Day primary push under way, the 65-year-old Thompson faces a crucial month to prove he is the best alternative for a key GOP constituency.
“He’s got a real opportunity to be the most credible conservative candidate across the board,” said Gary Bauer, a one-time presidential aspirant who heads the advocacy group American Values. “Whether he can put it all together remains to be seen. But he’s got a real chance to emerge as the major conservative alternative to Giuliani.”
Others are skeptical about whether Thompson can fill that role.
Rick Scarborough, a Southern Baptist preacher and president of Texas-based Vision America, said that while he is encouraged by Thompson’s strong voting record in the Senate against abortion, he questioned the candidate’s commitment to social issues.
“The problem I’m having is that I don’t see any blood trail,” Scarborough said. “When you really take a stand on issues dear to the heart of social conservatives, you’re going to shed some blood in the process. And so far, Fred Thompson’s political career has been wrinkle-free.”
Thompson’s long-delayed entry is another concern, Scarborough said. “The hesitancy has made us wonder whether he has the stomach for what it’s going to take,” he said.
Earlier this summer, doubts crept in following reports on Thompson’s role in crafting campaign finance reform and stories that he lobbied for an abortion rights group.
More recently, Thompson has come under scrutiny for his position on a constitutional amendment on gay marriage, a defining issue for the Christian right.
Thompson over the past month has stated on more than one occasion that he supports an amendment that would prohibit states from imposing their gay marriage laws on other states. (story) That falls well short of what evangelical leaders want: an amendment that would bar gay marriage nationwide.
Thompson’s position surprised evangelical leaders who say they met with him in June and came away thinking he shared their desire for a more sweeping constitutional change. Now, they wonder if he is flip-flopping.
One person in attendance – Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative legal group – said Thompson described going back and forth about the merits of an amendment prohibiting gay marriage nationwide.
“At one time, he said he was against it,” Staver said. “Then he said in June he was for it. So if now he’s saying he’s against it, to me that’s a double-minded person. And that would be a real concern for religious conservatives.”
Messages left with Thompson campaign were not returned.
Several Christian right leaders said opposition to a broad amendment would hurt Thompson with evangelicals, but not necessarily cause irreparable harm. Others played down the issue, pointing out that their favored approach was politically impossible anyway because Democrats control the House and Senate.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Thompson’s position is consistent with the former senator’s support for limited federal government and giving power to the states.
Land said it is healthy that expectations for Thompson have diminished from unrealistic levels and he does not think evangelical excitement has dimmed for a man he described as a “masterful retail politician.”
Many evangelical leaders said one of Thompson’s biggest draws is his perceived electability. Some are watching whether former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, can build on his second place finish last month in the Iowa straw poll.
Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, said that while he likes Huckabee, Thompson’s better name recognition and fundraising potential is a strong draw for evangelicals.
“This is a dilemma a lot of people have,” Wildmon said. “They want to support the candidate that most reflects their values. “But at the same time, you have to balance that against finding someone who can actually win.”
It was a quiet day. The weather turned hot and muggy, as Montreal waits on a saving rain to cut the humidity from the air. On hot miserable days, all that I want to do is blast the AC unit and stay cocooned inside my blankets, which is what I did today.
You will be assimilated, Resistance is Futile… My body is reverting back to its old sleep schedule. For every six days of action, I have to give up one day to sleep. It is a fine trade off because I enjoy my sleep, especially when I get the lucid dreams that go with them. As for the rest of the day, I did a little shopping for dinner and now I am sitting here trying to write something worth while, and I don’t think it’s going very well…
I don’t feel inspired tonight, so I will call it a night.
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.
Originally read on: Neil McKenty Blog.
“Today a 26-year old Vatican police officer named Alessandro Benedetti commited suicide in the bathroom of his barracks near the Pope’s private quarters. He left a suicide note which referred to the fact his girl friend recently left him.
A papal spokesperson said the Holy Father was grieving and he “trusts the young man’s soul to the compassion of God.”
The 1997 Cathechism of the Catholic Church says suicide is one of the gravest sins and results in damnation. When I was growing up a Catholic suicide could not be buried in consecrated ground.
However, the Catechism also says a person who suicides “may not be fully culpable if suffering grave psychological disturbance, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering or torture.”
Wouldn’t it be better to drop all this mumbo jumbo and simply admit that suicide is not a sin?”
This question is asked within the context of Catholicism, not Evangelical Christianity.
I really don’t know what to write tonight, I really don’t feel like writing because I’ve not prepared anything really. The last holiday weekend before the grind begins with a bang this week. I’ve been banking on sleep as of late – trying to steal away hours here and there, I love to sleep.
I’ve been on these new medications now for 3 months.
I have to say that throwing up is right up there on my most hated activities during my day. I have morning sickness once or twice a week. This morning it woke me up out of a sound sleep, as if I had spent the night prior drinking until I could not drink any more.
I didn’t even have a drinking dream to go with the morning sickness. I mean it would have meant so much more if I could put throwing up into context! Alas, I was exhausted afterwards and it took me an hour to calm down and get my breathing under control because my body was in that “post vomit” stage of recuperation… UGH!
It was a beautiful day today. I sat out on the lanai enjoying the sunshine. The days are starting to get shorter and the sun will begin to set earlier and earlier. I can’t wait for the trees to start turning.
I spent the past couple of nights reading Elie Wiesel’s “Night.” I found the read to be as cathartic as Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz. Both men were boys when they were taken to the camps. I knew the story, even before I read the first page. Though the two stories are different, they share the common thread:
“You are in a concentration camp. In Auschwitz…”
“Remember,” “Remember it always, let it be graven in your memories. You are in Auschwitz. And Auschwitz is not a convalescent home. It is a concentration camp. Here, you must work. If you don’t you will go straight to the chimney. To the crematorium. Work – or crematorium – the choice is yours.”
Reading Elie’s account as he moves from camp to camp, trying to stay with his father, to keep his father alive, through the worst of conditions was amazing. Where Elie tells us his story on a great scale, describing seasons and changes, his visions of babies being killed and burned in ditches was exceptionally brutal.
“Poor devils, you are heading for the crematorium.” Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes…children thrown into the flames. (Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me.)
How was it possible that men, women and children were being burned and that the world kept silent? No. All this could not be real. A nightmare perhaps…
Night, ppgs. 32-33, 38-39…
Primo Levi tells another story of the same conditions but from a different point of view. Those reviews of that text are in my Holocaust files in Categories, you can read them there. Both writers are important to know, to read and to respect.
It is interesting that I was reading this text over the weekend, and during Saturday night’s Coast to Coast, with Ian Punnet, a caller called in – it was an off topic call – this man said that he had studied in Germany and knew people who were alive during WWII and he told the listeners that in Germany during that time, people were told and it was later understood that on certain days, one just did not go to the train stations at all…
To address the question about “the world not knowing what was going on, it is said that Germans learned not to explore outdoors or go to the train stations on certain days while the extermination of the Jews was being carried out.
Any read of the Horrific stories of the Holocaust are important so that these memories do not go unheeded, that the warnings are not passed on the future generations. “That we should remember, so that we should never forget.” I highly recommend these two texts for those who are interested in Holocaust studies, ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel and ‘Survival in Auschwitz’ by Primo Levi. These stories must be passed on…
I’ve made some minor changes to the blog, and I’ve added and deleted some of my bookmarks on the side bar. People are returning from hiatus and from vacations over the summer, so go read them, each blogger on my blog list is worth the time.
I hope all of you are well and thanks again for your readership.
Elton John & Ronan Keating – Your song
Originally found on: Steve’s Blog
JetBlue and a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official, identified as “Inspector Harris,” would not let Raed Jarrar board his flight at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read “We Will Not Be Silent” in English and Arabic script. Harris told Jarrar that it is impermissible to wear an Arabic shirt to an airport and equated it to a “person wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, ‘I am a robber.’” The American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the TSA official and JetBlue Airways.
“It is a dangerous and slippery slope when we allow our government to take away a person’s rights because of his speech or ethnic background,” said Reginald Shuford, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. “Racial profiling is illegal and ineffective and has no place in a democratic society.”
I’ve had this blogger on my read list for some time, along with Baghdad Burning, since the war in Iraq began. I happened upon Raed’s blog today and saw this latest entry and I thought I’d share it with you, since it is relevant and appropriate. You can click on the link above and find out more.
I will give you my Battle Cry: Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Was I not surprised with tonight’s God’s Warriors part 3. The battle for the hearts, minds and souls of the people of the U.S. to bring back Religious Rule to an ever more secular society going to hell in a hand basket. And wasn’t I not surprised that for two hours I sat through preacher after preacher who gave their summation of the State of the Union based on the religious beliefs of their congregation.
So we have the issues on the table:
- The Sanctity of Human Life (Abortion)
- The Integrity of Marriage (Gay Marriage)
- The Teaching of Sexual abstinence to kids in School
- And Protecting the Environment for some
- Creationism -vs- Evolution
These arguments are well known in the Evangelical circles, and I know them all. I’ve studied all the arguments and I know about all the issues. So let me state my credentials, my beliefs and my Christian Testimony for you before I write any more.
- I am a Christian Man
- I am a Gay – Married Man
- I Believe in a woman’s right to choose
- I Qualify as a Christian Zionist because of my support of Israel
- I Believe that the U.S. has its issues with celebrity, materialism, violence and pornography, and lack of moral backbone – but NOT to the degree that I would become in any fashion an evangelical thumper
- I Believe there are lessons to be learned from the Evangelical Movement in the sense of rigidity, control, male domination and exclusion
- I Believe that there should be a separation of Church and State
- Like President Carter I believe that Faith and Politics should stay separate
- I Believe that Christianity has become Terribly Divisive and Exclusive and I share a message of Love, Compassion, Inclusion, Service, Justice and Humility, Peace and of Poverty.
In the United States we know the power of the Evangelical Vote, the power of the Evangelical Church to move people on Hot-Button Issues like Abortion, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights and Protection Issues (Hate Crimes Legislation), Creationism and Evolution. Having grown up in the South (Florida) for over 30 years, I watched the world change before my eyes. And now as a Gay Man with a voice I can tell you that the Evangelical Church has done more damage to the LGBTQ Community than anyone else.
The fact of the matter is this. I have read my bible and I have studied scripture and I have a University Degree behind me, 40 years of life and Seminary training to back every word I write here. I am Gay, and I am not going to convert for anyone just to get into heaven, because when I die, it will be God and ME having that life review. None of you are going to be there, I know my God. And that is what I have to say about that.
America believes that it is a nation of faith. That between Law and Religion, the Supreme Court is Ground Zero, and that the Evangelical Movement is still working to find appointed judges to sit on the highest court in the land so that they will affect such change that the laws will be changed in SUPPORT of the Evangelical Platform.
I have stated twice now, in my writing that I am a supporter of Israel. And tonight I can say that I rank in the group who call themselves Christian Zionists. I make no bones about that. Am I supportive of military mitigation for the threat of Nuclear conflict, I must say Yes I am. I had to carefully think about my answer here. There is enough data on the table from Iran and its leaders to have a stance of preemptive measures so that we do not find ourselves on the brink of nuclear conflict.
Yet, during the Judaism portion of the writing, many leaders including former president Jimmy Carter stated that the Jewish Settlements are in violation of treaties and that those settlements were the one thing that prevented peace from being reached. There are those who would like to see Judea wiped off the face of the earth in opt for an Islamic state upon the Holy Land. If this was allowed to happen, the world would suffer, not only the Jewish population. Countries who support Israel should be supportive of nuclear mitigation at any cost. War is never a solution …
I reprint these words for the three Monotheistic religions …
“What can we do to stop this trend of violence and hatred? Like I said last night the three monotheistic religions of the world are warring with their own and each other, and there is plenty of land to go around. There is always a solution if “ENLIGHTENED” political leaders would rise up and come to the table and negotiate a peaceful coexistent settlement.”
I’m not going to spend the rest of this post caterwauling about the repetitious nature of the Evangelical platform stating that America and the world at large has lost its moral compass, that Gay Marriage is a blight on the integrity of Marriage. Come On Don’t make me throw up! How many heterosexual marriages end up in divorce? You know Gays might just get it right. After growing up in the 70′s and 80′s all of my friends parents were either separated or divorced.
So please TELL ME just how much of an impact will gay men and women getting married make a difference in HOW YOU live your lives?
Explain this to me as if I were a 5th grader… (no please don’t!!)
I love the fact that Reverend Falwell reaches up from the grave to grace us with his judgment of the United States, Oh Mr. Falwell, thank God you are dead!! Because the age of the evangelical is coming to an end. It has peaked and will pass, as former president Jimmy Carter shared with viewers tonight. I love the discussion about the disagreement between Christians and Jews on just who the messiah is. And he says if the messiah came walking down the road that both the Jew and the Christian would have a huge theological adjustment to make…
The evangelicals tell us that they do not loose until they quit, America has lost its moral compass and the evangelical movement is going to change that sad state of affairs. Evangelicals argue that if Romans Chapter 1 is to be believed in the literal sense then why does the United States need to pass Hate Crimes Legislation to protect homosexuals from hate crimes? hmm.. let us think on this issue…
Romans Chapter 1: -
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
God’s Wrath Against Mankind
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
DOES THE WORD HOMOSEXUAL APPEAR IN THIS READING?
I do not know very many evil gay men and women, sinners, so to speak. Although I do know quite a bit of really good Christian gay men and women and some of them are clergy. I also know a fair amount of religious leaders, ministers, preachers and priests who would beg to differ with the hard line stance of religious extremist evangelicals. I know my husband and I are not sexually impure. Nor are we godless men, we are both faith filled men in good standing in our community. I don’t believe we are wicked either…
There is so much to say on religious evangelical beliefs. I am 40 years old and so I do know what everyone is talking about. Not a day goes by in my life today that I do not reflect on 40 years of wisdom, lessons and teachings. I am a Christian. And I live my calling every day. I could not lead anyone or help anyone else until I brought to Jesus what I needed to and I am “Right with my God” I maintain that Rightness daily through prayer and meditation. Through ministry and working with others. At this very moment I am listening to some contemporary Christian music as I write this. What I am is none of your business. That I am a man of faith should be your only consideration.
What I do in the privacy of my own home lies in the safe and capable hands of my husband, myself and our God. And we’d thank you very much for your acceptance of who we are rather than what we are. Christianity has become a special members only club of exclusion and judgment. I asked a certain blogger to write here and offer up his historical knowledge of the six sacred scripture that talk about homosexuality, telling me who wrote them, when the scripture was written, why those scriptures were written and to whom for what purpose. He has yet to do so, or any of the other people that are coming here from his blog to read this one.
Can you imagine that you would find me standing at an altar call after an intense Christian concert? That I would set foot near the cross and pray to God for forgiveness and his love? And you know, he’d give those things to me because I pray and I am just and compassionate and I live and love from the Right place in my heart. Can you imagine that when I was in high school, 10th grade to be exact, that I attended a One on One retreat and on that weekend I pledged my heart and soul to Jesus. I have pledged my heart and soul to Jesus every day that I live, in gratitude that I am still alive after living with AIDS for now 14 years. I am here, God is not done with me yet.
God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!
Living with AIDS so many years I have seen, witnessed and been a victim of the scorn of the religious evangelical church. I watched you throw children out on the street when they got sick. I watched you fire people from jobs, I watched you stop being human and become animals, all for the glory of God’s name. Because AIDS was the scourge directly from God as a punishment for our sins and wickedness… Yes, I have heard every word of damnation from every corner of Christian America, and tell you to get You behind me because you are not of God, from God or blessed by God either.
AND GOD WEPT…
to you all hearts are open
all desires known
and from you no secrets are hidden
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name
Through Christ our Lord, Amen….
Talk to me about Christian Charity and living a Christian life. Let’s talk about what I did to help my Christian brothers and sisters, when You did nothing… shall we…
When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.
People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.
For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.
I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.
Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Mater Todd. When the word was spoke, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men.
We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.
We fed the hungry, and we housed the homeless, we cared for the sick and we buried the dead, when Christians from all walks, the evangelicals who condemned us said that we were being punished by God for our sins. I lived a Christian life and I continue to live it daily, because of your inability to Love as God Loved and serve as God served, I condemn every one of you who condemned or condemn us…
Moving on to Christianity and Catholicism and the Late Pontiff: Taken from my academic writing: Homosexuality, Sanctity and John Paul II. Donald Boisvert is my mentor, academic advisor and teaches religion at Concordia University in Montreal. I know this man, and have taken every course he has taught over the last four years. Academia was not wasted. I took full advantage of my time and I take my position here very seriously.
As a young man I idolized my Pontiff. He was a rock star Pope and he made certain impressions on millions of young people world wide. And as I grew up, I still respected the man for his station, because deep down, I loved the church. I loved my Pope. It was my goal as a young person to serve this man to my dying day, and pledge allegiance to his Church.
Just because I came out of the closet did not change the fact that John Paul was the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, because the men of faith I grew up with accepted me with all of my flaws and subsequent illness, so I was not affected by Rome on a local level. In University, I learned much about my Pontiff, and I grew to love him more, even if I am critical of his papacy. What Religion Scholar is not critical of their leaders? It is my job as a student to look at all sides of the topic and present my insight as a gay man to others who might need some education on what made John Paul tick, what and who influenced his papacy and in the end, what shaped the papacy and life of John Paul II.
There is so much more we could talk about, and I am moving away from my original topic, so let us return to our discussion and move forward into meditations on Gay Men’s spirituality, we will look at the writing of my mentor and friend, Donald Boisvert.
In Preface Donald quotes Ronald E. Long, “A gay man is one who recognizes and lives by the ‘sacrality’ of masculine beauty and homosex. And ‘coming out’ is a gay man’s refusal to live a life that belies the sacrality of what he holds sacred.” How we see ourselves as gay men, as Catholics and as men of God are as unique as we are individually. Donald believes that “Gay spirituality to be a form of religious expression and a manifestation of identity politics. For me, the two are not mutually exclusive.”
I have cultivated and worked on my gay spirituality for over a decade since I am reaching that point where I can safely say that I have been out and gay for half my life today. It has not been easy and the study of religion with professors that have encouraged me to think ‘outside the box’ has only helped me in my quest for spiritual truth. In further reading of ‘Out on Holy Ground’ Boisvert writes:
“Gay spirituality is characterized by a spirit of defiance. In asserting the truth and viability of the gay religious experience, and in creating the conditions that allow it to assume a meaningful and treasured place in the lives of gay men, gay spirituality situates itself squarely in opposition to the orthodox religious norm. Though some forms of gay spiritual life may be very much tied in with more established churches, gay spirituality, as a whole, is transnormative. It may borrow blatantly and deliberately from a universal storeroom of religious symbols and rituals, but it posits a radically different understanding of the human body and of human sexuality, on the one hand, and of human relationships with the holy or with the sacred, on the other.”
What is it we are called to be, men of faith, men of God, loved by the One who created us, in the face of disinformation and exclusion by Holy Mother Church. This is our ministry to reach out to those who find themselves outside the walls of holy Mother Church trying to find ones way into faith, by any route available. I believe that a faith component is integral to the life of every human being, gay or straight, male or female, young or old. To close out this episode of religious teaching I give you one last quote from ‘Out on Holy Ground,’ Boisvert writes:
“We return to our initial question: What is gay spirituality? In discussing its characteristics, we have examined how it consists of three elements in symbiosis: critical discourse, political action, and sexual affirmation. Gay spirituality reveals the ways by which gay men define, recognize, and assert themselves, not only as individuals having a religious dimension, but as beings whose very difference is the source of their spiritual and historical election.”.”
I BELIEVE I have stated my case succinctly and stated my beliefs and I have even offered some of my academic writings to defend my position in this community. There is not one Christian man or woman on earth, clergy or evangelical who owns the right to judge who I am, what I do or how I live my life. If you want to preach to me, please do not waste your time. I know enough about real Christian life so please save it for someone who needs to find Jesus. I know where he is in my life… And I don’t need your judgment…
No man knows Gods heart. No man Knows what God thinks about a straight man or a gay man. A well man and a man with AIDS. No one speaks for God and no one has spoken to God as far as I know. But I TALK to my God daily, and until he calls me home from this earth I will go on with my Christian life and ministry because at the end, I want to hear my God say to me “Well Done good and faithful servant…”
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…
Read Between the photos …
I guess I should write something today. I think I am still in exploration and expectation mode – although I am not expecting anything in particular, it is the right description of where I am mentally.
What do Gay men think about at age 40 and beyond? What changes have come about since my 40th birthday, not so long ago? They say that in your forties that you begin to find yourself and you ‘awaken’ the consciousness within you, you awaken to the person you were meant to be, not necessarily what we have been programmed to be by the world, the media and our families.
I have been on this journey of self discovery for a long time. If you go over to my sidebar you can read all about the past few years and how things have changed, and the quest for life I have been on. I find myself in a very settled position right now. Like I have been rooted to a spot in the universe, I know where that location is in the grand scheme of things.
It is not always about me, for the most part. My hubby gets the main portion of my time and attention, then my boys and the world get the rest. Since I entered the foster parent/mentor program some years ago, taking care of my boys is a full time job.
I always quote Adam Sandler from “Spanglish” when he says to Florr that
“Worrying about your kids is Sanity!”
I was at my home group last night and I shared on this thought, and Step 2 “Came to believe that a Power Greater than Myself could restore me to sanity.” I don’t get crazy in my head like I used to. That ‘Gay Mania’ I used to suffer from as a young man is gone. If I allow myself to get crazy, I would go crazy. My boys keep me on my toes. They keep me honest because how can you father a child, talk the talk, and not walk the walk? Every day I am reminded that if I am to be a good father to my boys, I have to live the messages I am giving them.
There is not enough love in the world. Every day I stop to remind my boys that they are loved. I talk to them at least once a day. It is hard being away from them, the phone and the computer have become the central connections between us. This past weekend I had a few days to myself, so I thought, until the universe spun out a microburst of insanity.
“It never rains but it pours!”
In the middle of the storm is where I prefer to be – able to look out and see the winds blowing around me and able to see the ground I can be the most assistance. And I found that spending time with my boys as I had over the weekend made me the sanest person I have been thus far. Because as the world was shaking them individually, I was there to stand with them and hold them and let them know that “this too shall pass!”
So what do Gay men think about at forty plus? I worry about my boys, I worry about my hubby, [he is Bi-polar] and let me tell you bi-polar is no cake walk, either for me or for him.
After a weekend of pain and tribulation I was laid wasted emotionally and mentally. I had been running on auto pilot all weekend. I stopped just long enough to rest and to pray. Funny, that I did not think about eating all weekend, and I wasn’t very hungry either… I paid that price on Tuesday…
Do not push your body beyond the boundaries it sets for you too far… I have the propensity to push myself into areas that I know I should not go because my body is a finely balanced machine. HIV does that to you. You either learn the system or you pay the price for failing to be able to read your inner signs. When brings me back to balance.
One must balance food, sleep, meditation and activity. Not to mention stay on treatment protocol in dosing ones self. I became out of whack this weekend. Now I am working on resynchronizing my inner systems. This ability is another gift one learns about when living with a disease that everyone knows is terminal at some stage of the game.
Live in the moment, stay in your day and remember your gratitude…
Where is this going, you ask?
I don’t know, I just thought I would share with you some observations from the ‘road’ as they are passing by. Balance is the key in all things. Learning what that balance is can take some time, so you must be persistent and thorough.
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 1:5-7
The Pontiff in Winter, John Paul II. And the candle lit tonight to bring my prayers to heaven above us. There is much to be grateful for and much to pray for this night. May the Lord hear us and grant us our petitions. We ask these and all things through Christ our Lord who gives all that is good.
O God, my heart is the altar
and my love for you is the flame:
I’ll keep the fire burning for you, Lord,
And I will rejoice in your name
Hess – Our Daily Bread Sunday August 12th
This IS Mr. Chad Fox !!!
So I’ve cranked up a pod cast and I am currently jamming to The Bad Cast!!!
The boys of Summer are on their way back to the Sphere, so make sure you go check out the boys on the sidebar. And I think that if enough people write him and ask, maybe just maybe Mr. Chad Fox might grace us with a new podcast for Summer’s coming to an end.
In just a couple of weeks, we return to the grind of University! Finally! We will be shifting gears in the coming weeks to a Fall format. If you have any requests for writing or publishing please let me know.
My publishing partner has the preface to our chat book of the three writers from my birthday celebration. Ben Leto, Angela Leuck and Cooper from B.C. will be featured in my first book to be published this fall. The books is titled “Celebration!!”
These books will go on sale here on the blog in the coming weeks.
I am also putting together several other writing projects in bound form. If you would like customized copies of some of my “Pages” writing please let me know. We thought that putting these small booklets together and publishing them ourselves, that we could offer them for sale here on the blog.
Just a little shameless publishing advertising for myself!!!
We have upgraded the blog to accommodate more uploads and I am working on adding audio-visual widgets to my sidebar so that I can share with you some music for your listening pleasure.
Big Things are happening here The Evolution of Jeremy is Evolving once again.
Publishing will come from Miracle Press here in Montreal.
Go visit Scott and Chad and tell them I sent you!! The boys are coming back, we are still waiting on a return confirmation from Knotty Boy out in Etna! Get out there and read, read, read…
Requests for writing and most importantly your input, comments and visits are very important to us here at Evolution. We look forward to offering you some NEW works in the coming weeks and months…
It has not been a very good day. In fact, it has been a hard day for many of us who work with others. Last night, in the midst of dialysis, Karl’s father had a heart attack. We have worked over the last two years to help Karl grow into the man he is today. But family illness has dogged him for a long time. From addiction to illness, minor issues to major health crises. It has been a long haul for Karl to find himself standing where he is standing tonight.
Dad has had one foot in the grave and one foot on the proverbial banana peel for some time, and his strength has surprised the best of us who have walked people to the door many times. It seems he just won’t let go. And I wonder if that is a good thing? The end is imminent – imminent that it is close, but the road is foggy ahead, and a visual confirmation is not yet available.
This morning when I woke up there was a simple email, please call – it’s rather important. So I did, finally, after getting a hold of friends who are close to Karl as well, seeing he might have called Mike and Tom prior to calling me. We had a conversation about the news and I had some info to work with.
Karl and I have had many conversations about the “what if’s” and taking care of the kids and his role as man of the house should his father died. Knowing his mother’s propensity to turn to pills and the bottle, Karl must be prepared to be isolated in his dealing with everyone since he doesn’t have an ally there in Katy. I have done my best to prepare my friend for the inevitable.
There may come the day when we have to say “enough of this” it is time to let him go into his heavenly inheritance. I know that family will hold onto him until he is so tired that holding on becomes too much for him and he will die. Tomorrow an angio-gram will be performed and dialysis will continue. And I asked my friend, “at what point do you say this is enough?” he responded with – “that isn’t my decision to make!” I have spoken to Karl once this afternoon and again this evening, and all is well right now. Dad is stable and will have tests done tomorrow.
So we pray:
Oh God in whose merciful love
hear the prayers we ask of you
and in your wisdom make the way clear
bless those who are grieving and worrying
help those who are sick and heal those you can
We know the end is nigh for one we pray for and
we ask your mercies upon him that you would comfort
him and bless him and if it is your wisdom that you call
him home, be gracious with your hand
and carry your servant back into your healing presence
where there is no more pain and suffering.
We ask all these things in the name of Jesus Christ
your son, who lives and reigns with you in the union
of the Holy Spirit – One God forever and ever.
Yesterday evening I had dinner at the home of Jacob and Angela. It was a nice time to talk about projects and writing. I haven’t had the energy to do anything because I am not feeling all that hot tonight. UGH!! I went to bed early last night and spent the better part of today in bed sleeping. As long as I have the quiet time to myself, I am going to make the best of it.
I’ve been craving rest as of late. With all that is going on – I have to take care of me as well. Angela is going to help me produce a book of the writings that I commissioned for my birthday, the Tanka from Angela, the short story from Ben and the Totem writing of Cooper. I have to write the introduction and the back page, yet and as well, get my business cards finished. We had no agreed on what they would look like yet, although I did think about it today, and I think I have found the correct title for them.
We spoke yesterday about me applying for a position in the school board as an aide for kids with aspergers and autism. Each child gets a sum of money from the government each school year and I decided that I would like to offer my services to the school and to Jacob, that is why I have to get my CV and my business cards finished soon. You will find that I added new categories to my writing. We will be writing about aspergers and my work with Jacob so that others can come and read and maybe participate in my building a community here for my kids.
I spoke at long length with Chuck (he’s on the blog list) the other day about my work with Jacob and his wisdom on the subject is invaluable. So in the coming months we will be adding new medical content to our writings to include aspergers and autism. I encourage you, my readers to share this new information with those who might need to read it and hopefully we will begin building a resourceful list of information and contacts for people to utilize in their own lives.
I posted some news earlier today. I was touched on the report of the death of Merv Griffin. When I was a child, my maternal grandmother watched specific programs, The Price is Right, and Merv Griffin. Not to mention the soaps which were great tools to teach language. I guess I had some early education in French and English. For many years during my early childhood many Merv Griffin shows were part of the social lexicon of television, and as the years progressed at least one of his creations was on one tv or another in my house. Mr. Griffin did a lot for many with his shows and his time of television himself. He will be missed.
Eternal Rest Grant Him and may Perpetual Light Shine upon Him.
I know that there is at least one young man who reads this blog every day, so we have come to learn yesterday. So this is my advice for the day. It is ok to chill out and to relax, in fact, after a day of excitement I would spend some time thinking about the day and what I have learned. Spend some time talking to your mother about all that you did. Never let anger guide you, always keep it in check. Behave yourself and be good to your mother because she loves you and so do I.
Know that I think about you every day. And I pray for you as well. I work very hard to understand you and I want to help you SUCCEED and that we shall in time. There is no rush – and we have every opportunity to grow and to work together.
So my apprentice, be good to yourself and your mother.
Let us pray for Karl and his family, because they need our prayers tonight. Let us pray for those who minister to them, Michael and Tom, and the many we do not see in Texas, let us call on God to do what he needs to do in this very trying time.
May God bless us and keep us safe
Until the morrow…
until pen meets paper again,
I leave you with my prayers.
By CHARLES J. HANLEY and ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writers
PERUGIA, Italy – In a hidden corner of‘s busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler’s checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.
Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a monthslong trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.
As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.
For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command — a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.
Why these officials resorted to “black” channels and where the weapons were headed is unclear.
The purchase would merely have been the most spectacular example of how Iraq has become a magnet for arms traffickers and a place of vanishing weapons stockpiles and uncontrolled gun markets since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the onset of civil war.
Some guns the U.S. bought for Iraq’s police and army are unaccounted for, possibly fallen into the hands of insurgents or sectarian militias. Meanwhile, the planned replacement of the army’s AK-47s with U.S.-made M-16s may throw more assault rifles onto the black market. And the weapons free-for-all apparently is spilling over borders: Turkey and Iran complain U.S.-supplied guns are flowing from Iraq to anti-government militants on their soil.
Iraqi middlemen in the Italian deal, in intercepted e-mails, claimed the arrangement had official American approval. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad denied that.
“Iraqi officials did not make MNSTC-I aware that they were making purchases,” Lt. Col.of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I), which oversees arming and training of the Iraqi police and army, told the AP.
Operation Parabellum, the investigation led by Dario Razzi, anti-Mafia prosecutor in this central Italian city, began in 2005 as a routine investigation into drug trafficking by organized-crime figures, branched out into an inquiry into arms dealing with, and then widened to Iraq.
Court documents obtained by the AP show that Razzi’s break came early last year when police monitoring one of the drug suspects covertly opened his luggage as he left on a flight to Libya. Instead of the expected drugs, they found helmets, bulletproof vests and the weapons catalog.
Tapping telephones, monitoring e-mails, Razzi’s investigators followed the trail to a group of Italian businessmen, otherwise unrelated to the drug probe, who were working to sell arms to Libya and, by late 2006, to Iraq as well, through offshore companies they set up inand .
Four Italians have been arrested and are awaiting court indictment for allegedly creating a criminal association and alleged arms trafficking — trading in weapons without a government license. A fifth Italian is being sought in Africa. In addition, 13 other Italians were arrested on drug charges.
In the documents, Razzi describes it as “strange” that the U.S.-supported Iraqi government would seek such weapons via the black market.
Investigators say the prospect of an Iraq deal was raised last November, when an Iraqi-owned trading firm e-mailed Massimo Bettinotti, 39, owner of the Malta-based MIR Ltd., about whether MIR could supply 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 10,000 machine guns “to the Iraqi Interior Ministry,” adding that “this deal is approved by America and Iraq.”
The go-between — the Al-Handal General Trading Co. in— apparently had communicated with Bettinotti earlier about buying night visors and had been told MIR could also procure weapons.
Al-Handal has figured in questionable dealings before, having been identified by U.S. investigators three years ago as a “front company” in Iraq’s Oil-for-Food scandal.
The Interior Ministry’s need at that point for such a massive weapons shipment is unclear. The U.S. training command had already reported it would arm all Interior Ministry police by the end of 2006 through its own three-year-old program, which as of July 26 has bought 701,000 weapons for the Iraqi army and police with $237 million in U.S. government funds.
Negotiations on the deal progressed quickly in e-mail exchanges between the Italians and Iraqi middlemen of the al-Handal company and its parent al-Thuraya Group. But at times the discussion turned murky and nervous.
The Iraqis alternately indicated the Interior Ministry or “security ministries” would be the end users. At one point, a worried Bettinotti e-mailed, “We prefer to speak about this deal face to face and not by e-mail.”
The Italians sent several offers of various types and quantities of rifles, with photos included. The negotiating focused on the source of the weapons: The Iraqi middlemen said their buyer insisted they be Russian-made, but the Italians wanted to sell AK-47s made in China, where they had better contacts.
“We are in a hurry with this deal,” an impatient Waleed Noori al-Handal, Jordan-based general manager of the Iraqi firm, wrote the Italians on Nov. 13 in one of the e-mails seen by AP.
He added, in apparent allusion to the shipment’s clandestine nature, “You mustn’t worry if it’s a problem to import these goods directly into Iraq. We can bring the product to another country and then transfer it to Iraq.”
By December, the Italians, having found a Bulgarian broker, were offering Russian-made goods: 50,000 AKM rifles, an improved version of the AK-47; 50,000 AKMS rifles, the same gun with folding stock; and 5,000 PKM machine guns.
The Iraqis quibbled over the asking price, $39.7 million, but seemed satisfied. The Italians were set for a $6.6 million profit, the court documents show, and were already discussing air transport for the weapons. At this point prosecutor Razzi acted, seeking an arrest warrant from acourt.
“The negotiation with Iraq is developing very quickly,” he wrote the judge.
On Feb. 12, in seven locations across, police arrested the 17 men, including the four alleged arms traffickers: Bettinotti; Gianluca Squarzolo, 39, the man whose luggage had yielded the original clue; Ermete Moretti, 55, and Serafino Rossi, 64. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.
The at-large fifth man, Vittorio Dordi, 42, was believed to be in the, where he apparently is involved in the diamond trade. Italian authorities were seeking information on him from the African country.
In the parallelcase, the Italians allegedly paid two Libyan Defense Ministry officials about $500,000 in kickbacks to speed that transaction for Chinese-made assault rifles. It isn’t known whether such bribes were a factor in the Iraq deal. No Libyans or Iraqis are known to have been detained in connection with the cases.
Al-Handal’s operations have caught investigators’ notice before. In 1996-2003, the company was involved as a broker in the kickback scandal known as Oil for Food, thesays.
In that program, Iraq under U.N. economic sanctions bought food and other necessities with U.N.-supervised oil revenues. Foreign companies, often through intermediaries, surreptitiously kicked back payments to officials of‘s Iraqi government in exchange for such supply contracts.
Those Iraqi middlemen also engaged in “misrepresenting the origin or final destination of goods,” said the 2004 report of the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group, which investigated both Iraq’s defunct advanced weapons programs and Oil for Food.
That report also alleged that during this period Al-Handal General Trading, from its bases inand Jordan, secretly moved unspecified “equipment” into Iraq that was forbidden by the U.N. sanctions.
Reached at his office in, Waleed Noori al-Handal denied the family firm had done anything wrong in the Italian arms case.
“We don’t have anything to hide,” he told the AP.
Citing the names of “friends” in top U.S. military ranks in Iraq, al-Handal said his company has fulfilled scores of supply and service contracts for the U.S. occupation. Asked why he claimed U.S. approval for the abortive Italian weapons purchase, he said he had a document from the“that says, ‘We allow al-Thuraya Group to do all kinds of business.’”
In Baghdad, the Interior Ministry wouldn’t discuss the AK-47 transaction on the record. But a senior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity, acknowledged it had sought the weapons through al-Handal.
Asked about the irregular channels used, he said the ministry “doesn’t ask the supplier how these weapons are obtained.”
Although this official refused to discuss details, he said “most” of the 105,000 weapons were meant for police in Iraq’s western province of Anbar. That statement raised questions, however, since Pentagon reports list only 161,000 trained police across all 18 of Iraq’s provinces, and say the ministry has been issued 169,280 AK-47s, 167,789 pistols and 16,398 machine guns for them and 28,000 border police.
A July 26 Pentagon report said 20,847 other AK-47s purchased for the Interior Ministry have not yet been delivered. Iraqi officials complain that the U.S. supply of equipment, from bullets to uniforms, has been slow.
A Pentagon report in June may have touched on another possible destination for weapons obtained via secretive channels, noting that “militia infiltration of local police remains a significant problem.” Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq’s civil war have long been known to find cover and weapons within the Interior Ministry.
In fact, in a further sign of poor controls on the flow of arms into Iraq, a July 31 audit report by the U.S.said the U.S. command’s books don’t contain records on 190,000 AK-47s and other weapons, more than half those issued in 2004-2005 to Iraqi forces. This makes it difficult to trace weapons that may be passed on to militias or insurgents.
, meanwhile, has described the Interior Ministry’s accounting of police equipment as unreliable.
Here in, Razzi expressed puzzlement at the Iraqi officials’ circumvention of U.S. supply routes.
“It seems strange that a pro-Western government, supported by theand other NATO countries on its own territory, would seek Russian or Chinese weapons through questionable channels,” the anti-Mafia prosecutor wrote in seeking the arrest warrant that short-circuited the complex deal.