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Archive for May, 2008

Life with God…

“Foster breathes new life into the topic by drawing on ancient resources … He warns that the Bible is not an owner’s manual for successful living, or even moral living; we shouldn’t read it merely to serve our own needs … Foster’s work is not for those readers who are seeking quick answers or a behavioral checklist of what the Bible says they should do. Rather, it is a deep reflective guide to spiritual rumination and growth.”

Publishers weekly

So this is our next read. I got this book this afternoon. We shall see what it says over the next few days. Today was our Saturday on the town excursion. We did our pharmacy shopping, pills are expensive!!! Then we headed into the core for lunch at the Eaton Centre which is always a nice outing. Then it was off to Indigo Book sellers where I got this new text to read. Hubby wanted a physics book by Michio Kaku, he is a theoretical physicist that we often hear on Coast to Coast AM radio late nights here in Montreal.

That was our day in brief…


Stairway to Heaven…

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
And when she gets there she knows if the stores are closed
With a word she can get what she came for

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
And you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook there’s a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forest will echo with laughter

And it makes me wonder

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow
Don’t be alarmed now
It’s just a spring clean for the May Queen

Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on

Your head is humming and it won’t go in case you don’t know
The piper’s calling you to join him
Dear lady can’t you hear the wind blow and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll
Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
And when she gets there she knows if the stores are closed
With a word she can get what she came for

And she’s buying a stairway to heaven, uh uh uh.


Eve and the Serpent…

Genesis 3:1-6 …

“Go on my dear,” urges the snake. “Take one, Hear it? ‘Pluck me,’ it’s saying. That big shiny red one. ‘Pluck me, pluck me now and pluck me hard.’ You know you want to.”

“But God,” quotes Eve, putting out feelers for an agent provocateur, clever girl, “expressly forbids us to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.”

“Ah yessssss, God…But God gave us a life, did He not? And God gave us desire, did He not? And God gave us taste, did He not? And who else but God made the damned apples in the first place? So what else is life for but to tassste the fruit we desire?”

Eve folds her arms schoolgirlishly. “God expressly forbade it. Adam said.”

The snake grins through his fangs, admiring Eve’s playacting. “God is a nice enough chap in His way. I daresay He means well. But between me, you and the Tree of Knowledge, He is terribly insecure.”

“Insecure? He made the entire bloody universe! He’s omnipotent.”

“Exactly! Almost neurotic, isn’t it? All this worshiping, morning, noon, and night. It’s ‘Oh Praise Him, Oh Praise Him, Oh Praise the Everlasting Lord.’ I don’t call  him omnipotent. I call it pathetic. Most independent authorities agree that God has never sufficiently credited the work of virtual particles in the creation of the universssse. He raises you and Adam on this diet of myths while all the really interesting information is locked up in these juicy apples. Seven days? Give me a break.”

“Well, I see your point. But Adam will hit the friggin roof.”

“Ah yess…your hairless, naked hubby. I saw him frolicking with a fleecy little lamb in a meadow just this morning. He looked so content. But how about you, Eve? Do you want to spend the rest of eternity noncing around with a family of docile animals and a supreme being who insists on choosing a name like ‘Jehova’ to keep you company? I don’t think so.

Adam might be pissed off for a little while, but he’ll change his tune when I show him bronze-tipped arrows, crocodile-skin luggage, and virtual-reality helmets. I think that you, Eve, are destined for higher thingsss.”

Eve looks at the apple, a big cider apple hanging in the golden afternoon. She gulps. “Higher things? You mean, Forbidden Knowledge?”

The snake’s tongue flickers. “No, Eve, my dear one. That’s just a smoke screen. What we’re really talking about here is Desire. Care for a cigarette while you think my proposal over?”

GhostWritten, David Mitchell, pgs. 201-202


Came to Believe…

It is really hard to try and explain to some readers that unless you have walked a day or a week or a month and quite possibly a year in my shoes, NO ONE has the right to judge me or leave nasty comments on this blog, thinking that I would even entertain posting those comments here.

The other night I wrote on the seven deadly sins, as I did a nightly inventory of my sobriety and I prayed for some wisdom in posting that post and I even PAGED it as well so that it can be readily accessed from the front page.

Illness forces one who is ill to grow up, faster than usual. It asks of us to persevere through the illness and to hope and pray that one will live through adversity and come victoriously to the other side. 162 of my friends went into that dark night with me. They are all dead, I am still alive. I must be doing something right.

People who think they know God, come here and tell me about their God and they share with me their warped views of Christianity. They leave nasty comments with vile judgments and accusations. How could I possibly know God, be a Christian and be Gay? My God does not care that I am gay and he doesn’t care that you are straight. My God tells me that I must walk this path, and I must pray and I must respect the station of God, and I do that. I am sure that every Christian who reads this blog has a different conception of God, and you may not agree with me and that’s ok. What a bore it would be if we all agreed on every note of Christianity.

When I got sick, and doctors told me that I had, at best, 18 months to live, that I better make good use of that time, I took that diagnosis home with me and I was alone. Because I would be Coming Out again, and AIDS was the great leveler. It surely separated the boys from the men, and the girls from the women. I tell this story again because it is who I am – what I am – and where I came from.

I had to come to believe that I was going to live, when all of my friends were dying. Against all odds, a group of men rallied round me and forced me to think, they begged me to believe in them, if I could not believe in myself or in God at that present moment. I cried for days. I worked my ass off and I listened to every word that was spoken to me in that first 18 months. I listened to the men who made sense of living. I listened to men encourage me through the toughest time of my life. Were THEY wrong???

The path lies ahead of you. What you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you. I had a choice, I could stay on the path and follow the leader, or I could go it alone. I chose to follow the leader. When Christianity turned its back on the sick and the dying, WE were still there. When the Christians were condemning us, and labeling us, WE were still there, we walked through that hell. I accuse many for what they did to me and my friends. I accuse you for turning your back on so many, families, friends, lovers, churches, congregations, funeral parlors, office workers, hospital workers and doctors and nurses.

You have not a shred of experience on what we lived through. You have not a leg to stand on when you speak your vile accusations and judgments. God as my witness, You have no idea who I am, you did not see with thine own eyes the horror I witnessed. You did not weep at the bodies laid wasted by those who abandoned them. I reckon, you did not shed one guilty tear of remorse for your actions.

And God Wept…

I counted the days, one by one, on paper, in my house, in my heart and in my mind. I sewed my own memorial quilt with the others and when they died I wept for my friends and those who loved them to the end. I worked night and day to care for the sick and the dying. I worked night and day to keep myself alive. And I was sober as well. I experienced rehab and I read my Big Book, I worked my steps and I let go of my resentments and my ego. Because let me tell you, there is no EGO when it comes to mortality. You beg God for one more day, one more week, one more month. You tell me if you’ve ever knelt before God, knowing that your life is in his hands, and you don’t let go of your EGO pretty damned fast.

God does not deal is egos and attitudes, although you wouldn’t know that by the actions of some Christians I run across on this blog. You’d think that God stepped out of his heaven to tell some Christians that it is their duty and responsibility to speak for the almighty!

I beg to differ…

I do not know of any Christian, priest, minister, pastor or the like who has ever heard from the Almighty and has access to the 1-800 number to the heavenly host. Not one day goes by as of late that I don’t think about my mortality. Because we are quickly approaching my diagnosis anniversary. It has been 14 years and counting, and I am still here, 162 of my friends are DEAD!!!

The longer I lived the more I believed that I would make it – the more I walked the path, I learned about me, about others, I learned what true compassion was, because I watched people like you, HUMAN BEINGS become ANIMALS, un-compassionate and uncaring. I witnessed the worst that humanity threw at us, don’t think for one moment that I have forgotten after so many years. I have not…

I know very few noble men and women in my life. I know that the men and women who worked tirelessly to help me and others stay alive, did that because they had to. The believed in us when nobody else did. They hoped that we would survive the medications, the drugs, and or the lack there of. Those men and women stood at the gates of death and protected us to the best of their ability to see that no one would go alone and those who lived would not forget the kindness shown to them in their darkest hours.

YOU who think you know God. YOU who think God has anything to say about me. YOU who think that you can prance around your little churches proclaiming “Jesus Saves” on Holy Sunday and at prayer meetings and revivals, out of one side of your mouth, and from the other you spout such vitriol and hatred!!! How could you possibly be in communion with the same God who created heaven and earth and all that you see before you!

May God have mercy on your souls.

In 40 years of life, I know who I am today. I survived. I lived. I persevered. I broke all the records and markers that my doctors gave me. I survived a family that turned their backs on me. I survived loosing my friends, my fellows, my boyfriend at the time. I survived finding my lovers corpse 5 days after he killed himself, rather than telling me that he was sick. I survived the curse that his mother said to me as I signed his body out of the coroners office to send his rotted corpse home to his family when she spoke those words:

“I Hope that every night when you close your eyes, that you see my dead sons body before you until the day that you die…”

Not a night goes by that I don’t pray for his soul and for mine. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded that this body is but a shell that I happen to inhabit for this lifetime. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded that I could die at any moment because my constitution is not that of a 26 year old boy any more. Not a day goes by that I don’t start my day with prayer and pray during the day and before I go to sleep at night that i don’t thank God for that day and pray that there is air in my lungs when I get up the next morning. It seems that God listens to my prayers, because there is still air in my lungs tonight.

You must concede that I know of what I speak of. You must concede that somewhere in God’s heaven are millions of souls who have gone before me, who speak to God on my behalf. You must concede that Sister Georgette, my sainted Grey Nun aunt, isn’t up there speaking to Mere D’Youville on my behalf. You must concede that after all these years, that I know how to pray. You must concede that probably I have prayed prayers for myself and my friends that YOU have never thought about praying for yourself or your families.

Death and Dying is not just a spectator sport for those who live and die with illness. You look at a child who is sick, and you feel pity for them, yet you spurn the lot of us who are sick and dying. There was no pity on your face, only recriminations and condemnation. Until you face your appointed hour could you ever utter one single word against me, my friends or our family.

We learn a great deal about life in the pursuit of death. We learn a great deal about prayer when the chips are down and we have to utter those “Hail Mary” prayers. I don’t think that YOU could shine a light on my prayer life with the certainty that you think you have. I don’t believe that YOU could even imagine what it is that I pray for on a nightly basis. I don’t believe that YOU could ever know the relationship that I have with God, because of the way you treat others. Humans are imperfect beings.

Religious men and women across the board for centuries have prayed to God, studied the finer points of God and they speak about theologies and religions, and nobody has the definitive word on God, what He thinks and what He believes of anyone on earth. Scripture, Talmud, the Qu’ran, the Bible, the Upanishads and the Vedas all speak of spiritual nature and spiritual truth. Words written by man, inspired by God are open to interpretation by the best scholars and religious leaders. Centuries of collected works are borne into a system of belief for the masses because YOU need to believe in something, and far be it from me to tell you what to believe, and As God as my witness, YOU have no right to tell me what to believe, how to live my life, or who I can love.

Matthew 7:1-5

Judging Others

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.”

On top of 40 years of lived experience on this earth, and 14 years balancing the fine art of the living and the dead, I have spiritual truth on my side. I have years of sober time under my belt. I have worked to become selfless and ego-less. We have a reading called the Promises in AA that we believe will come to pass if one works the program of recovery to the best of their ability.

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not.

They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.They will always materialize if we work for them.”

Every week at my home group meeting we read this passage from the Big Book. And I can tell you that I have come to believe because I have watched God walk into our meeting and rest and I have seen his grace fall on the souls of those who come to that meeting week in and week out. I have seen God move in ways that probably YOU will never see in your lifetime. I have been blessed and my friends have been blessed by God because we come together to learn, to change, to work and to share our message with those who might need to hear it.

Over the last five years I have worked on my religious truth. I have studied God INTIMATELY. I know who God is and I know who God is not. I have prayed simple prayers in some of the most beautiful churches on the earth. I have walked the staircase to the roof the Pinnacle of the Holy Catholic Church. I have stood in awe of the expanse of Rome and I have looked down into Papal Gardens where I am sure, centuries of Popes have communed with God in their time.

I have spoken to Pontiffs, I have worshiped in the greatest Church that exists on the planet. I have communed with the bones of saints and prophets. I have stood in the place of honor where the disciple Peter’s bones rest beneath the cuppola of the Vatican. I have walked the hallowed halls of the catacombs beneath the Vatican and I have seen the early Christian catacombs on Rome where the first Christians worshiped God.

There is not one egotistical bone in my body. I have worked tirelessly for years to share a message of hope and love with my readers. I have worked with the sick and the dying. I have spent a lifetime learning how to die. I have spent a lifetime studying the path to righteousness. I don’t care one bit for righteousness, I DO care about Holiness. I care that I live a holy and blessed life. I care that those I listen to live holy and blessed lives. I care that the religious authority that I follow RESPECTS me for WHO I am and are not bothered by WHAT I may be.

The world is so caught up in labels. What good have labels done to people in the past? The Nazi’s believed that labeling people and putting them in extermination camps was useful. To route the world of Jews, Gypsies, Christians, (oh yes they exterminated Christians too), homosexuals, the Polish and the sick and dying. MILLIONS of people WERE MURDERED because they were labeled as useless and dirty.

I once believed, as a young person that I wanted to carry a label, but 40 years of experience has taught me that once you label someone, they are as good as dead. Once you label someone, they loose something of themselves. The uniqueness of the soul is tarnished by those who would see them labeled. In centuries of time gone by, we have seen what labels do to human beings. Because if YOU can label us, then You believe that you can separate us from the whole, and section us off from the normal human population. You do not own that power any longer.

My Husband, my friends, and my fellows love me for the man I am today. One who gives freely of his soul every day that I live. One who writes with such passion and strength. One who lives with determination that I can safely say that probably YOU will never see in your lifetime. Because faced with imminent death, I am sure you would not rise to the level of enlightenment that I have seen in my lifetime.

Ah, you might get sick, get cancer, or some other disease, you will say a prayer here or there, and maybe you just might see the face of God before he takes you, but you will still be as judgmental and vile as you are today. Nothing will change.

Because a sick heterosexual is far better in Gods eyes than a sick homosexual.

Because you believe that God will hear and harken your prayer before he does mine. Well, I wonder about that. What do you think? YOU who sputter unchristian words now need God’s grace, because like me, now you are sick and you need God to heal you and make you better. Do you think that you are going to walk a different path than I have? Do you think that your illness might be better than mine? Do you believe that a heterosexual should be pushed up the line of healing before God, before someone like me?

You have no idea what it feels like to face your own death, several times over in my case. And lived to tell the tale. And you think that I am prideful or have one ounce of hubris in my soul? You think that I am arrogant and that I come from a place of ego rather than a place of selflessness???

I have come to believe…

One day YOU will stand before God, and on that day YOU will reckon for all that you have done on this earth, and for me it is this last thought that keeps me going in my pursuit of Christian faith, that at the end of my life when I stand before God I will hear him say:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Will God say the same words to you???


Berlin inaugurates memorial to Nazi’s gay victims

The memorial for homosexual victims of the Nazi regime, designed by Norwegian artist Ingar Dragset and Danish artist Michael Elmgreen, seen in Berlin on Monday, May 26, 2008. On Tuesday, May 27, 2008 the monument will be unveiled officially.

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press

BERLIN – Germany unveiled a memorial Tuesday to the Nazis’ long-ignored gay victims, a monument that also aims to address ongoing discrimination by confronting visitors with an image of a same-sex couple kissing.

The memorial — a sloping gray concrete slab on the edge of Berlin’s Tiergarten park — echoes the vast field of smaller slabs that make up Germany’s memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, opened three years ago just across the road.

The pavilion-sized slab includes a small window where visitors can view a video clip of two men kissing.

Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said the monument was a reminder of the ongoing struggles that still confront gays.

“This memorial is important from two points of view — to commemorate the victims, but also to make clear that even today, after we have achieved so much in terms of equal treatment, discrimination still exists daily,” Wowereit said as he inaugurated the memorial alongside Culture Minister Bernd Neumann.

Nazi Germany declared homosexuality a threat to the German race and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

“This is a story that many people don’t know about, and I think it’s fantastic … that the German state finally decided to make a memorial to honor these victims as well,” said Ingar Dragset, a Berlin-based Norwegian who designed the memorial along with Danish-born Michael Elmgreen.

The commemoration “unfortunately comes too late for those who were persecuted and survived in 1945,” said Guenter Dworek, of Germany‘s Lesbian and Gay Association. “That is very bitter.”

He said the last ex-prisoner that his group knows of died in 2005.

Wowereit echoed his regret over the time it took to honor the Nazis’ gay victims.

“That is symptomatic of a postwar society which simply kept quiet about a group of victims, which … contributed to these victims being discriminated against twice,” he said.

Few gays convicted by the Nazis came forward after World War II because of the stigma attached to homosexuality. The law used against them remained on the books in West Germany until 1969, and Dworek said there were 50,000 convictions under the legislation after the war.

Not until 2002 did the German parliament issue a formal pardon for homosexuals convicted under the Nazis. One reason it took so long was because the legislation had been linked to a blanket rehabilitation of 22,000 Wehrmacht deserters — a move many conservatives opposed.

The effort to get a memorial built started in 1992, and a 1999 parliament decision to build the memorial to the Holocaust‘s 6 million Jewish victims also called for “commemorating in a worthy fashion the other victims of the Nazis.” In 2001, Jewish and Gypsy leaders backed an appeal for a monument to the gay victims.

After lawmakers approved its construction, a jury picked the winning design in early 2006 out of 17 design proposals.

The federal government financed the $945,660 building costs, while Berlin’s city government provided the site.

The designers’ original plan to feature only a video of two men kissing ran into criticism that lesbians were left out. Last year, a compromise was reached to change the memorial’s video every two years, allowing lesbian couples to be shown in the future.

The first film — a repeating clip of two men kissing, shot at the site of the memorial before it was built — was done by photographer Robby Mueller and directed by Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg.

“It was quite important to have a direct imagery of a love scene, a passionate scene … because that is the main problem in homophobia,” designer Elmgreen told AP Television News. “You can get acceptance on an abstract level, but they don’t want to look at us.”

Germany has allowed gay couples to seal their partnerships at registry offices since 2001, although the law stops short of offering formal marriage. Berlin has a large gay community, as do other major German cities, such as Cologne and Hamburg.

The memorial to the Nazis’ Jewish victims and the new monument will soon be joined by a third memorial honoring the Roma and Sinti, or Gypsy, victims. Some 220,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were killed during the Holocaust.

Work begins this year on that memorial, also in Tiergarten park.

“We stand stunned before the brutality with which the Nazis threatened, persecuted and destroyed all those who did not correspond to their inhuman ideology,” Neumann said.

“The experience of war and Holocaust, state terror and tyranny, puts on us Germans a special responsibility to protect freedom and human rights.”


Berlin inaugurates memorial to Nazi's gay victims

The memorial for homosexual victims of the Nazi regime, designed by Norwegian artist Ingar Dragset and Danish artist Michael Elmgreen, seen in Berlin on Monday, May 26, 2008. On Tuesday, May 27, 2008 the monument will be unveiled officially.

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press

BERLIN – Germany unveiled a memorial Tuesday to the Nazis’ long-ignored gay victims, a monument that also aims to address ongoing discrimination by confronting visitors with an image of a same-sex couple kissing.

The memorial — a sloping gray concrete slab on the edge of Berlin’s Tiergarten park — echoes the vast field of smaller slabs that make up Germany’s memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, opened three years ago just across the road.

The pavilion-sized slab includes a small window where visitors can view a video clip of two men kissing.

Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said the monument was a reminder of the ongoing struggles that still confront gays.

“This memorial is important from two points of view — to commemorate the victims, but also to make clear that even today, after we have achieved so much in terms of equal treatment, discrimination still exists daily,” Wowereit said as he inaugurated the memorial alongside Culture Minister Bernd Neumann.

Nazi Germany declared homosexuality a threat to the German race and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

“This is a story that many people don’t know about, and I think it’s fantastic … that the German state finally decided to make a memorial to honor these victims as well,” said Ingar Dragset, a Berlin-based Norwegian who designed the memorial along with Danish-born Michael Elmgreen.

The commemoration “unfortunately comes too late for those who were persecuted and survived in 1945,” said Guenter Dworek, of Germany‘s Lesbian and Gay Association. “That is very bitter.”

He said the last ex-prisoner that his group knows of died in 2005.

Wowereit echoed his regret over the time it took to honor the Nazis’ gay victims.

“That is symptomatic of a postwar society which simply kept quiet about a group of victims, which … contributed to these victims being discriminated against twice,” he said.

Few gays convicted by the Nazis came forward after World War II because of the stigma attached to homosexuality. The law used against them remained on the books in West Germany until 1969, and Dworek said there were 50,000 convictions under the legislation after the war.

Not until 2002 did the German parliament issue a formal pardon for homosexuals convicted under the Nazis. One reason it took so long was because the legislation had been linked to a blanket rehabilitation of 22,000 Wehrmacht deserters — a move many conservatives opposed.

The effort to get a memorial built started in 1992, and a 1999 parliament decision to build the memorial to the Holocaust‘s 6 million Jewish victims also called for “commemorating in a worthy fashion the other victims of the Nazis.” In 2001, Jewish and Gypsy leaders backed an appeal for a monument to the gay victims.

After lawmakers approved its construction, a jury picked the winning design in early 2006 out of 17 design proposals.

The federal government financed the $945,660 building costs, while Berlin’s city government provided the site.

The designers’ original plan to feature only a video of two men kissing ran into criticism that lesbians were left out. Last year, a compromise was reached to change the memorial’s video every two years, allowing lesbian couples to be shown in the future.

The first film — a repeating clip of two men kissing, shot at the site of the memorial before it was built — was done by photographer Robby Mueller and directed by Denmark’s Thomas Vinterberg.

“It was quite important to have a direct imagery of a love scene, a passionate scene … because that is the main problem in homophobia,” designer Elmgreen told AP Television News. “You can get acceptance on an abstract level, but they don’t want to look at us.”

Germany has allowed gay couples to seal their partnerships at registry offices since 2001, although the law stops short of offering formal marriage. Berlin has a large gay community, as do other major German cities, such as Cologne and Hamburg.

The memorial to the Nazis’ Jewish victims and the new monument will soon be joined by a third memorial honoring the Roma and Sinti, or Gypsy, victims. Some 220,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were killed during the Holocaust.

Work begins this year on that memorial, also in Tiergarten park.

“We stand stunned before the brutality with which the Nazis threatened, persecuted and destroyed all those who did not correspond to their inhuman ideology,” Neumann said.

“The experience of war and Holocaust, state terror and tyranny, puts on us Germans a special responsibility to protect freedom and human rights.”


The Seven Deadly Sins…

A reading from the Gospel of Mark: 10:17-27
The Rich Young Man

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

*********************

What is it that man can judge another man? There is a lot to be said about Pride. For Pride cometh before the fall. I am very careful in writing here because I know that every word that is written here is scrutinized by a chosen few men and women who seem to think that it is their job to judge me.

I’ve never been one to sit on pride. I’ve never been one to be prideful to the extent that I have committed a sin or sinned against anyone that I know. A person in recovery knows that pride is one of those sins that can take someone down faster than most. So let us review the seven deadly sins and let us explore together how we avoid them and why we talk about them today.

Proverbs 6:16-21

There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,

a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

The Seven Deadly Sins are: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride.

*****************

It was brought to my attention today by a commenter that I was Prideful and that I should read my own posts to see that truth. I beg to differ. I take pride in the fact that I hold a B.A. in Religious Studies and a second Certificate in Pastoral Ministry. And if I am not reminded daily that I am a sinner and that I have fallen short of the Glory of God, that would be a sin.

I have no need to be

(1) Lustful because I own the love I have for another and he for me. So I think I have cleared lust off my list of sins. I am not a

(2) Glutton, in fact I believe that I am just the opposite. I’ve never been a big fan of

(3) Greed
because what does greed get you but pain? It does not get you further in the game nor does it bode well to be a greedy human being.

(4)
Sloth,
I have not been in the pit of misery for many years. This sin has been called the sin of sadness and despair. It had been in the early years of Christianity characterized by what modern writers would now describe as melancholy: apathy, depression, and joylessness — the last being viewed as being a refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world he created.

I do enjoy every day that God gives me because lets face it living with AIDS you never know when your card is going to pop up on the dashboard of God’s choosing.


(5) Wrath
, Wrath (or anger)
may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. These feelings can manifest as vehement denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self -denial, impatience with the procedure of law, and the desire to seek revenge outside of the workings of the justice system (such as engaging in vigilantism and generally wishing to do evil or harm to others.

Well I think I have my own truth. And I know God’s truth. And I do work every day to live in that truth. My truth may not be your truth and what a bore it would be if I owned your truth. I don’t believe that my brand of Christianity is any better than the next and I do preach my truth with precision and here I am covering all the bases just to make sure that no one can say I have spoken wrongly.Envy, for sure, I don’t envy anyone in my social circle. Like greed,

(6)
Envy
is characterized by an insatiable desire; they differ, however, for two main reasons. First, greed is largely associated with material goods, whereas envy may apply more generally. Second, those who commit the sin of envy desire something that someone else has which they perceive themselves as lacking.

I really don’t desire anything that anyone I know owns or has. And i don’t think I am lacking in any of the creature comforts of house and home, my spiritual life is in tact and is very well thank you. So let us talk about the last deadly sin, PRIDE.

(7) Pride In almost every list Pride ( or hubris or vanity) is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to give compliments to others though they may be deserving of them, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God).

Dante’s definition was “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor.” Pride is the deadliest of all the sins and leads directly to the damnation of the titulary famed Parisian doctor. In perhaps the best-known example, the story of Lucifer, pride was what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. Vanity and narcissism are prime examples of this sin. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the penitent were forced to walk with stone slabs bearing down on their backs in order to induce feelings of humility.

Hubris, that was the word that my commenter used this morning… If you think that I am as vain as some seem to think, I believe you are sadly mistaken. I do not and never have desired to be better than anyone else, I don’t believe that I set myself above anyone, lest I really sin against God.

I wish that some people who come to read this blog were stricken with a terrible disease that is fatal and that they try to live within that space for a period of time to see just what it feels like. As a person living with AIDS I can tell you that vanity and hubris went out the window years ago.

A fatal disease removes all these sins from you in ways that you the normal well reader could never imagine. I don’t know what you believe if you think that disease has not taken its toll on my physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and I find it incredible that someone would have the desire to point out that I have sinned in the way I live my life, what I do with this life and what I chose to print on this blog. Because I am damn well sure that You do not know me and I have no earthly desire to know you or believe like you.

I will say this again… I don’t have to prove myself or justify myself to anyone and you don’t have to agree with me or my spiritual practice. You may not agree with my brand of Christian belief, and that is your problem, not mine.

They say in recovery that IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ANYONE THEN YOU NEED TO LOOK INTO YOUR OWN SELF AND FIND THAT WHICH IS THE PROBLEM WITHIN YOURSELF. Then you must change that which is within yourself.

Matthew 7:1-5

Judging Others

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.


Challenge…

Last night I sat in bed next to my sleeping hubby, reading from a book I often return to again and again, when reading time permits. I Heard the Owl Call my Name, is a book that I have read countless times and every time I read it I come away with something new. I may focus one certain passage or a thought that I may have missed, the pages are getting worn and I guess that’s what happens to books that are read often.

I was thinking about school as well. Over the last little while I have been reading through my collection of Idol novels from the UK and it hit me that I haven’t sat through one challenging lecture in a long while. It was as if my spirit was yearning for something last night. The question rose in my mind and made its way out into my consciousness, I don’t feel challenged in this class I am taking this first session. Is it that I am not putting forth proper effort or that I have lowered my expectations so much that there is no challenge to what I am studying? I’m kind of bored with it already.

I guess I am feeling a little resentful at the process really. I should be doing something, I should be out there working in my field, and yet I have not reached the end of my certificate yet, but still, I should be doing more with myself than I am and I am at a loss to know what ‘that thing’ is that I should be doing.

******

I wrote to Jose last night after I posted his letter here on the blog, which has been picked up by the International Carnival of Pozitivities for its next publication, so I am going to get another article published. I don’t spend a lot of time talking about the past because there is so much already written that I can’ possibly write anything else, so what I thought I would do is tell you some stories about living in SOBE and how I got along with my friends. (SOBE = South Beach) …

There were things that I liked to do when I wasn’t working. Living in the city did not afford a lot of time to get around the city if one did not have a car. I didn’t have a car, so I had to rely on public transport to get from one side of the city to another, and Miami is a seriously ‘transit challenged’ city. The two places that I liked to go were Borders Book Sellers at Dadeland which was on the south end of the rail line, and SOBE which was an hours bus ride away from home until I moved onto the beach.

Lincoln Road was the epicenter of gay culture on the beach, which I understand is falling apart at the seams as the exodus of people are moving away from the beach because it is just getting too expensive to live there as the condo projects are taking up every inch of space they can find. It’s hard to sustain an entire community of gay people without spaces to congregate. All the large clubs have closed down or have moved off beach and that poses a problem to population when night transit lacks in a big way.

When I lived on the beach I was a stones throw from Lincoln Road living on 21st street across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center. I have a few gay blogs that I follow from Miami and over the last few months the community has been going through a downsizing and that threatens the livelihood of the gay community. When there are no bars to congregate in where then does community end up?

It is a sad fact that circuit parties are the last bastion of world wide gaydom. I have to admit that I have never attended a circuit party, either in Miami or here in Montreal. They are too expensive to begin with and the fact that I am clean and sober means that I am not going to attend an all night rave with people getting drunk and stoned around me. One of the big events in AIDS charities is the yearly White Party which as a person with AIDS I have never been invited to, never did I ever get a free ticket or even charity when it came to an event to raise money for AIDS. And that bothered me that people who could not afford to go, would not even get an invitation to attend. Because it is just a big huge Money, Alcohol and Drug dump for those who are pretty, buff and connected. And if you consider that to put on an event of that magnitude costs a whole lot of money, after you pay staff, pay the alcohol and beer bills, rental rates for the site, suppliers and dj’s there is not a whole lot of money to go to charity is there?

It was really difficult for me to manage a home, rent, bills, food and medication and I had tapped all the possible assistance sectors of the city to help do that. I never in my life have ever been someone who had been touched or assisted by one red cent of money raised locally for people with AIDS, and that begs the question, where did/does all that money go? That goes for the same thing here in Montreal. I go to the clinic and I test medications for the AIDS community at large, but year after year, the community at large does nothing and I get nothing from that community.

The last time I attempted to get into my community here I was told that I was uneducated and that I could not possibly have anything to offer the AIDS community. Which was a real slap in the face. This province has the most fucked up system that I have ever seen, community wise. There are care systems in Ontario and British Columbia that are so much better than ours. They have comprehensive systems of doctors and service systems to meet all the challenging needs of the population. This is the one reason that we have considered moving out of province so that in the end, I could take my two degrees and find a real job doing something with the rest of my life because right now Quebec has done nothing for me and my family.

We really don’t get out into community. I used to go to gay AA meetings until I got tired of listening to sick men piss and moan about their lives and hearing them say week in and week out that they wanted to die. I just can’t deal with that degree of misery in my life. And I am not complaining here, I am stating fact. You’d think that as a city, that the systems created to care for HIV positive people would extend a hand to those who live in the city, No… You’d think that as a province and a city we could try to recreate those systems that seem to be really working in other provinces, but No, we don’t … The only thing that this province is good at is bitching about sovereignty, language politics, religious accommodation, yearly circuit parties and fucked up pride events that no good gay person attends because it is all bullshit.

This blog is a good gig, because I get worldwide exposure and readership, but it does not pay the bills. There have been times when I think about the outreach we do here and how we serve community at large and I think about buying a building here in the city and turning it into a multi-faceted service center for people with Hiv and those in recovery. It is a project that is sitting in a folder in my desk. I have drawn out the blue prints and the specs for that building but I have never investigated it further.

I don’t know, I think I’ve done enough ranting here, I am going to close for now…

Until later peeps…


Inspiration…

I got this letter tonight and I thought I would share it with you all, THIS is why we write, because someone out there, may Google something and come by to read what you have to say, and sometimes what you have to say may just save a life.

Mr. Andrews, I found your blog by pure accident by googling some topics I was planning to put in a blog I was creating! I am a 45 y/o single gay male who was diagnosed with AIDS one year ago and I am doing fine today by some sort of miracle. I read this blog and it impacted me profoundly. For a moment, I was reading my life!

I live in Miami and as you pointed out, the men here were, and still are, a bunch of immature vicious superficial “shells.” You are valued only by your looks and your wallet and your wallet better be Coach or Luis Vitton. The person you are has no meaning to them unless you have something “they” want. I am no pretty boy nor a gym bunny, I am just an average Joe who happens to be gay. I learned and personally experienced the ” self -discrimination” and “self-destruction” the gay “community” is self inflicting. There is no community, there are only “clubs or cliques.”

These clubs have “criteria” in order for you to join and that criteria is usually based on looks and looks alone. Their is no respect or self respect for others anymore. You are used and abused and thrown away like garbage after they have taken what they needed. I saw many men kicked out by lovers, friends and families because they are HIV+. I saw the gay community turn its back on their own and then ask for monies to help those with HIV? I saw first hand the hypocrisies the whole “White Party” is. It is just another party on the circuit party calender with plenty of drugs and sex and , of course, money.

I also attended an HIV support group in the beach and as you said, it is another avenue to find more sex partners and to gossip. I finally found another one that is half way decent. I no longer, as well, associate myself with any “gay” related activities because of gay mens’ behaviors. I have not been to bars/clubs in years.

The gay community, as I have said for decades, is imploding and on a path of self-destruction. How can a community demand respect when you cannot respect yourself and others in your community. The gay community needs to grow up first and leave high school behind.
I want to thank you for that incredible blog and giving me the opportunity to express myself.

Jose


In this Moment David Archuleta Finals

American Idol 7 – David Archuleta – Finals- Part 2 – 5/20/08


Take That Onyxion 227

take that lip sync

I just LOVE this video from this young person in the UK. Enjoy!!!


Friday photography

The rain has been coming and going since yesterday and I walked out on the balcony and snapped this photo. I should be uploading more photos in the coming days seeing that the gardens will be planted in the hood, so I am going to get out and take a walk this weekend.

Ok, so I am feeling a little bit empty, I want to write, I just don’t know what to write about.

Over the past few weeks I have been working on staying in my day, living in the moment. Trying to divine what it is I am supposed to be doing with myself. I saw my doctor last week, and he is on this longevity kick. He is talking to me about living another 20 years – as if my mortality was an imminent subject. I don’t know why he was in this space, as unpredictable he is, you never know what direction he is going to come from on any given visit. His pendulum swings from one extreme to the other and I find that troubling.

So I remind him that I can’t live in the future because it does not serve me well. There are things that you just can’t teach some people. I have never felt better in my life – I am eating well and my numbers have been stellar for over a year now, so why worry and try to tweak something that does not need to be changed.

Next week hubby is going to visit his friends in the country for a few days. I am looking forward to having him away, it is always nice to have the house to myself and it is good for him to get away, since going on vacation like many is not something we can afford. Not having a car hampers our ability to get out of the city, and unless we are going to visit family, the bus or the train is how we get around.

I don’t feel very inspired to write, this dry period happens now and then. So I am going to close for now and wait to see if my other reads give me something to write about.

Until later peeps…


So You Think You Can Dance

Here we go peeps, my Summer has officially begun.

My FAVORITE show of the Summer has begun. We shall see who America’s favorite dancer will be. Not to mention that So You Think You Can Dance – Canada is coming too, and won’t that be doubly exciting. Each week we will look at the contestants as they get down to the top 20 and compete for the coveted spot of Best Dancer.

I was terribly upset that David Archuleta did not win American Idol – David Cook was a great competitor and his grace in his win last night was not missed by me. As he said himself on night one of the competition, “The competition is over for me, right now we are just having fun!”

I hope to hear that Little David gets at least a recording contract out of this even if he did not win the whole kit and kaboodle…

It is a quiet night here. Nothing much else going on. See ya later…


We Had a Baby…

Well, not us but SAM is pregnant. Go wish her all the best. You can read her blog at Sam’s Stories here. We send her and her family all our warmest wishes and prayers for a healthy and full term pregnancy. I am reading, once again, I heard the Owl Call my Name and there is one part of the story where Brian is escorting a mother to be to a bush flight to get to a hospital for the birth and he tells her “You Hold on to that baby, you hear me!” So Sam, You Hold on to that baby!!!

All this good news from my West Coast reads. We have a wedding coming between Dating Dummy and his girl MoMo and now BABY News… I think a trip out West is coming in the future.

james-egg

Here he is the baby named James born Jan 20 2009…


Runner Up… David Archuleta