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Archive for January, 2009

Sylvia

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Today was a sad but happy day. I attended Sylvia’s funeral at St. Monica’s with about 100 or more other members, family and friends. It was a very nice liturgy of the word and testimonies from people who knew and loved her best.

Fr. Ray officiated the service. Her son spoke beautifully and even shared that he and his partner took her to the Gay Pride parade in Toronto. I chuckled to myself. Oasis was her home group which meets downstairs in the same church building. Instead of reciting prayers downstairs we said them up in the church.

God,
Grant me the serenity to accept the things
I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

She was creamated at Mount Royal and a reception was held. All the members of Tuesday Beginner’s was present, we all sat together. A show of unity amid the darkness of death.

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


Cardinal Mahony under federal investigation over abusive priests, sources say

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By Scott Glover and Jack Leonard
January 29, 2009

The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles has launched a federal grand jury investigation into Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in connection with his response to the molestation of children by priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the case.

The probe, in which U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O’Brien is personally involved, is aimed at determining whether Mahony, and possibly other church leaders, committed fraud by failing to adequately deal with priests accused of sexually abusing children, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

Authorities are applying a legal theory in an apparently novel way. One federal law enforcement source said prosecutors are seeking to use a federal statute that makes it illegal to “scheme . . . to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.”

In this case, the victims would be parishioners who relied on Mahony and other church leaders to keep their children safe from predatory priests, the source said.

To gain a conviction on such a charge, prosecutors would have to prove that Mahony used the U.S. mail or some form of electronic communication in committing the alleged fraud, the source said.

The inquiry has been underway since at least late last year, the source added.

O’Brien declined to comment, refusing to even confirm the existence of the investigation.

J. Michael Hennigan, who represents Mahony and the archdiocese, confirmed that federal prosecutors had contacted the archdiocese and requested “information about a number of individual priests, at least two of whom are deceased.”

He said he was also aware that some witnesses had testified before the panel.

But Hennigan said he has been informed that Mahony is not a target of the inquiry.

“We have been and will continue to be fully cooperative with the investigation,” Hennigan said.

Mahony has repeatedly apologized for the church’s sex scandal and asked for forgiveness for not acting sooner to remove priests who abused minors. He has declared that the archdiocese handles abuse allegations seriously, notifying police when complaints are made and removing priests from active ministry when allegations are deemed credible.

As the Catholic Church’s highest-ranking official in Southern California, Mahony has been dogged for years by allegations of covering up the sexual misconduct of priests.

The cardinal was accused of transferring priests who molested children to other parishes rather than removing them from the priesthood and alerting authorities.

One priest, Michael Stephen Baker, told Mahony in 1986 that he had molested children, but he was allowed to remain in active ministry. Mahony sent Baker to a treatment center in New Mexico and later reassigned him to other parishes, where he allegedly victimized children.

Prosecutors later filed criminal charges against Baker. He pleaded guilty to molesting two boys and was sentenced in 2007 to more than 10 years in prison.

Mahony also came under fire for vigorously fighting attempts by prosecutors, victims and the victims’ attorneys to gain access to the church’s personnel files, which tracked the problems of accused priests and the church hierarchy’s reaction to them.

Mahony argued that the records should remain confidential, but Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley accused the archdiocese of engaging in a “pattern of obstruction.” Mahony was eventually ordered by the courts to turn the files over to prosecutors.

The district attorney’s office launched a grand jury investigation into the archdiocese several years ago, but no charges were filed. District attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Wednesday that prosecutors are continuing to look at documents from the archdiocese for evidence of molestation by priests and former priests but that charges against Mahony are “highly doubtful.”

Two years ago, the archdiocese agreed to pay $660 million to 508 people who accused priests of sexual abuse. The payout was the largest settlement in a scandal that has involved an estimated 5,000 priests nationwide and cost the Roman Catholic Church more than $2 billion to resolve cases in this country alone.

David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he had not heard about the latest investigation but welcomed the new scrutiny of Mahony.

“It is long, long overdue,” Clohessy said. “It is just crucial that the hierarchy face criminal charges, because almost every other conceivable means have been tried to bring reform.”

Legal experts said the theory that prosecutors are pursuing is usually reserved for cases against public officials, such as politicians and law enforcement officers, and corporate executives accused of wrongdoing.

In Mahony’s case, prosecutors would have the difficult task of defining the “honest services” expected from a Catholic cardinal, said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor and former federal prosecutor. Then they would have to persuade jurors that criminal charges were not a stretch.

“I’d put it in the category of creative lawyering,” she said. “It doesn’t mean it’s bad. But it will be challenging to not only get charges on these grounds but, if they get charges, to win a conviction.”

Rebecca Lonergan, a professor of law at USC and a former federal prosecutor, said she was unaware of the law’s ever being used to charge a member of the clergy.

“They would have to show some intentional wrongdoing rather than just after-the-fact cover-up,” she said. “I think it would be a creative, new and different way of using the statute.”


Enter the Ritual

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I stand in my vestry and look around at the collected vestments that are there and I ponder the liturgical season and I find the right combination of stole and chasuble. And I say certain prayers to myself as I prepare to celebrate the mass. Where is my heart at the moment? Is it thinking about the Divine One? I enter the church and genuflect before the tabernacle and approach the altar as usual to place a kiss on the altar itself during the processional.

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I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and what I have failed to do. And I ask blessed Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and to you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to ever lasting life. Amen

** Readings take place: A Reading from the Gospel of Mark:

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

The Gospel of the Lord, Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ…

Let us profess our faith…

I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: By the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

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Father in heaven, it is right that we should give you thanks and glory: you are the one God, living and true. Through all eternity you live in unapproachable light.

Source of life and goodness, you have created all things, to fill your creatures with every blessing and lead all men to the joyful vision of your light. Countless hosts of angels stand before you to do your will; they look upon your splendor and praise you, night and day.

United with them, and in the name of every creature under heaven, we too praise your glory as we say:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Father, we acknowledge your greatness: all your actions show your wisdom and love. You formed man in your own likeness and set him over the whole world to serve you, his creator, and to rule over all creatures. Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship you did not abandon him to the power of death, but helped all men to seek and find you. Again and again you offered a covenant to man, and through the prophets taught him to hope for salvation.

Father, you so loved the world that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. He was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, a man like us in all things but sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation, to prisoners, freedom, and to those in sorrow, joy. In fulfillment of your will he gave himself up to death; but by rising from the dead, he destroyed death and restored life.

And that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him, he sent the Holy Spirit from you, Father, as his first gift to those who believe, to complete his work on earth and bring us the fullness of grace. Father may this Holy Spirit sanctify these offerings. Let them become the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord as we celebrate the great mystery which he left us as an everlasting covenant.

He always loved those who were his own in the world. When the time came for him to be glorified by you, his heavenly Father, he showed the depth of his love. While they were at supper, he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to his disciples, saying:

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Take this, all of you, and eat it:
this is my body which will be given up for you.

In the same way, he took the cup, filled with wine. He gave you thanks, and giving the cup to his disciples, said:

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Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.

Father, we now celebrate this memorial of our redemption. We recall Christ’s death, his descent among the dead, his resurrection, and his ascension to your right hand; and, looking forward to his coming in glory, we offer you his body and blood, the acceptable sacrifice which brings salvation to the whole world.

Lord, look upon this sacrifice which you have given to your Church; and by your Holy Spirit, gather all who share this one bread and one cup into the one body of Christ, a living sacrifice of praise.

Lord, remember those for whom we offer this sacrifice, especially {Benedict} our Pope, {name of local bishop}, our bishop, and bishops and clergy everywhere. Remember those who take part in this offering, those here present and all your people, and all who seek you with a sincere heart. Remember those who have died in the peace of Christ and all the dead whose faith is known to you alone.

Father, in your mercy grant also to us, your children, to enter into our heavenly inheritance in the company of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, and your apostles and saints.

Then, in your kingdom, freed from the corruption of sin and death, we shall sing your glory with every creature through Christ our Lord, through whom you give us everything that is good.

Through him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.

Amen…

I went for coffee after class with Luigi to talk about scripture. And we spoke about Paul’s letter the the Philippians Chapter 2 verses 6-11:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

We looked about the Gospels to try and find a harmonic passage that would follow this hymn seeing that Paul’s letters came before the Gospels were written, and not all the writers of the Epistles and letters knew each other.

And we had a conversation about ritual and practice. Coming from a Catholic tradition and seminary he has his own personal ritual and his studies and his bible. And that is good for him. We both find our bibles to be transforming and enlightening. He doesn’t have the need for ‘Church or church’ and that is his journey.

I on the other hand, stand in the middle of the path and I can see one Catholic church on one side and an Anglican church on the other. I remark that within the Anglican communion there is pomp and circumstance but not the same focus on ritual and prayer – which is something I find myself longing for as of late.I miss the prayers and the ritual. The kneeling and the prayer. Luigi and I are looking forward to a weekend at a monastery here in Montreal in the coming months.

I remarked to the Monsignor yesterday that with a year in Seminary, a four year degree in Religion and a coming degree in Theology, stick me in a Pastoral practicum for a year and I could be ordained… He just chuckled.

The church in Montreal is changing as Luigi and I talked about the paper I am writing for the Monsignor. The church is not only loosing straight men in the priesthood, they are loosing gay men in the priesthood, if the monsignor feels that a seminar about gay clerical spiritual meditation is important to share with his men, and having me write the presentation for him, that speaks volumes of where this diocese is heading.And also where the Monsignor is headed himself.

The Monsignor knows there are gay clergy in our diocese and that there are also gay men coming up through the ranks at the Major Seminary and he loves them all the same. They must abide by certain rules in the public realm, but still they are clergy. And here I am writing this paper. And it better be good.

I feel beholden to the Monsignor. I would go the extra mile for him, to help him realize his wish to become “The man who met the woman at the well.”


Confession

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I follow Fr. Tony on his blog (Perge Modo and at Bilerico) And I found this entry to be insightful and at the moment very appropriate to where I am spiritually at the moment. So Enjoy the read. I did.

From: Bilerico Project

Hi Fr. Tony: I’m a practicing catholic and have a question about confession. I go several times a year and always say the same thing: jerk off regularly, watch porn and have sex with guys a couple times a year. I feel like God is saying why do i confess the same thing over and over when the priest absolves it over and over! Should I continue to bring this up or let it go and confess more important stuff? Thanks for any insight you may have.

Kevin

Dear Kevin, I must say that actually hearing Confession is one of the few things I miss about the ministry I shed. Not because they were juicy, but because they were so humbling. To be entrusted with the secret grief of folks in search of salvation from pain or guilt or confusion was a responsibility of which no man is worthy.

It forced me to be careful with every word I whispered. When I was a cynical theology student in Rome, the rector of our college imported a seasoned pastor from the states to give us a sense of what parish work would be like. He knew that most of us who had been chosen for Rome could expect specialized work as academics, canon lawyers, diplomats or prelates.

He wanted to be sure we knew what the real work was like in the trenches. One day, a dozen of us sat in a casual circle listening to that old bird talk about his forty years of hearing confessions. He talked about building on even the smallest grain of contrition in the heart of the penitent.

Guessing that there must be some desire for forgiveness that had brought the person into the confessional, he kept hammering home the idea that we should never forget that they come to confession in order to get the forgiveness of God through the words of absolution. He waved his hand at us and said “You are all just the tool.

Doesn’t matter what you say, just don’t get in the way, and don’t say no.” Well this seemed a little too hearts-and-flowers to me, so I spoke up thinking I could trick him into admitting that sometimes, people without contrition should be denied absolution and that it is not automatic.

“So are you saying that we should never deny absolution?” Suddenly you could have heard a pin drop. He narrowed his eyes under bushy white brows as he gazed at me probably thinking this cocky punk thinks he’s going to expose me as a liberal heretic, and then he said “That’s right.”

And I said “You mean to say that not once in all your forty years did you ever deny absolution, no matter what the sin or even if they said they didn’t feel what they did was wrong and they’d do it again tomorrow?” “Not once…Not. Once.”

And Kevin, for the first time in my life, as I heard those words from that wise old goat of a pastor, I was overwhelmed with the realization that the power of God is in his continuous and unconditional and all-surrounding forgiveness. A forgiveness with no strings or grimaces of disapproval. With no stratification or metering. Everyone gets it one hundred percent. You just have to ask.

After that meeting, I could not talk for the rest of the day, but a week later, I crossed paths with the old goat and I just mumbled “Thanks.” He laughed and slapped my back. He knew what he had instilled in me and he was proud of it and gloating. He knew I had gotten the message. He was right. I followed his example entirely during the years of my ministry, and I think I did some good for some people in the process.

So, to answer your question, Kevin.You can either repeat your paltry little sins for the nth time, or you could trot out your secret big’uns. It should not make any difference. It’s all in the positioning. The penitent is supplicant to a God he loves but has wronged. The priest is the messenger, the agent and the postage stamp on that tired letter to Santa that you are afraid you’re too old to be writing. Don’t worry about it.

But, be forewarned. Not all priests are as enlightened as I. As a teenager, I confessed having “touched myself impurely” (those were the absurd words we were told to use). The priest asked me how many times. I didn’t think the number was significant, but he did. I think I said three times in the one week since my last confession.

He slowly shook his head with disgust and tried to make me understand how filthy and degrading my actions were. For a few seconds I was shocked by his words, and then I was entirely filled with anger.

I left the confessional before that shithead was finished with his tirade and avoided confession entirely after that until the day after my ordination, when I was assisting Pope Paul VI at an outdoor papal mass in front of Saint Peter’s.

A man in the crowd called out for a priest to hear his confession before the Mass started. I was hurrying by with something gold and fancy in my hands and I wasn’t supposed to stop, when I got tagged. He confessed in Italian before the assembled thousands of faithful pilgrims. I didn’t understand a word he said.

I gave him the absolution in Latin and then I shouted out to the crowd “Sono ordinato ieri! E stata la prima volta che io ho sentito un confessione!” [“I’m newly ordained and that was my very first confession!”] I bowed into the applause that rose up from the crowd, and I knew at that moment that nothing – and I mean absolutely nothing – that I would ever do in my life to come, no matter how dirty, filthy, vile, shocking, sleazy, wicked or depraved, would ever separate me from the forgiveness of God. If there is a heaven, I’ll be there. And something tells me you will too.

A coda for our non-Catholic friends. You guys, if you’re ever feeling bad about yourselves, ought to stop into a Catholic Church on a Saturday afternoon, and say your confession. You start by saying “Bless me Father for I have sinned, It has been XXX days (months, years, whatever. Make it up.) since my last confession.” Then you say what’s troubling you. Don’t even tell the queen behind the curtain that you’re not Catholic. It’s none of her business. I guarantee you, you’ll feel better, and it’s free.


In Order to begin – one must make his profession

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I have been asked by the Monsignor to write a paper for clergy and seminarians for my Pastoral Ministry Practicum final paper. Dealing with the issues of Pastoral Care and LGBT people including the clergy.We are talking about Holy Mother Church on a grand scale. But when it comes down to nickles and pennies, the church is the community that we live in locally, the diocese.

The Monsignor is a very understanding and compassionate man. He knows of gay clergy and seminarians in the system, and with my experience and insight he believes that I could write a stellar paper that he will himself present to them at a later date this Spring.

I worked on my outline today and sent it off to be critiqued. I have been thinking all day about what I wanted to put into my outline and thereby putting a form to what I really wanted to say in the paper.I know right now what it is that I want to say, I just had to find the direction to speak.

As I sat here writing, I heard the profession of faith run through my mind. I remember it pretty well, not having attended a Catholic mass for some time my memory is a little foggy, but I did find it online and I am going to post it here, because, I can and this is my faith and my blog…

I have a renewed sense of self and a renewed sense of faith after spending so much time in class and in private speaking to the Monsignor. That he has put so much faith in my abilities speaks volumes for his depth of compassion and understanding of all men and women.

He said to me today that: “He wanted to be the man who met the woman at the well” so that became the title for my paper to his clergy and seminarians. I will include the scripture story at the bottom after the profession.

So in good faith we speak the words:

I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: By the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

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I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

I believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

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John 4: 1-30
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

The Disciples Rejoin Jesus

Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.


God does not ‘Ordain’ illness …

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Tuesday has come and gone. A good day was had by all. I attempted to get Ms. Nikki out for coffee after work and she turned me down … It was not a good day for her. Oh well, her loss…

I started the day with service at the Cathedral and the Eucharist. I went for Louise, I went for Joyce, then I went for me. Our sermon today comes from the Gospel of Matthew in the 13th chapter verses 31-32:

The Parables of the Mustard Seed

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

You never know when a seed will be planted in the heart of someone you come into contact with. Joyce referenced the youth of the parish, and that they may come with all their stuff to “church” but at least we have planted seeds in them. And once the seeds are sown in the garden, we must take care of that garden so that those seeds one day may sprout.

After service I had class and we talked more about the Apostle Paul and his letters to the Corinthians (1 st and 2nd Corinthians). Did you know that the order of the books do not represent the order the letters were written??? That there are lost letters that do not appear in the canon, and are called the lost letters. but one can infer from the letters here where the order lies.

1st Corinthians was written  in 54 and 55 of the common era.
2nd Corinthians was written after 55 of the common era.

1. Paul’s first visit to Corinth ( 2 Cor 1:19)
2. Paul’s FIRST letter ( 1 Cor 5:9 )
3. The Corinthians wrote a letter to Paul ( 1 Cor 7:1 )
4. Paul’s SECOND letter ( 1 Cor 16:15-17 )

1st Corinthians is the Second Letter – (Paul’s Second Letter)

5. Paul’s SECOND visit to Corinth (2Cor 2:1-4, 2:5-11, 13:2)
6. Arrival of the Super Apostles (2 Cor 11:4-23)
7. Paul’s THIRD letter (Embodied in 2 Cor 10-13)
This is a fragment of the third letter…
8. Paul’s FOURTH letter (Embodied in 2 Cor 1:9)

2nd Corinthians is the FOURTH letter, 1 Cor is the SECOND letter. Second Corinthians is 3 kinds of letters pieced together.

This was a good lecture and sent us all scurrying out of the hall to ponder what we just heard from Prof. Gagne. It was a good time.

I came home for an hour to fart around, after being double layered to get to class I changed out of and back into my clothes over an hours time. UGH!!! I set off for the diner making stops to get cookies and supplies – which left me 40 minutes of down time at the diner to read. I did not get the entire hour today. I was just too busy…

I went to do set up and make coffee and by the time I got the coffee on and the tables set for the business meeting people started coming for the business meeting so it was one thing after another. We had a good meeting. The Topic for today’s meeting was Step Three … and quoting from the 12 and 12:

“The more we become willing to depend on a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are.”

This is where my story really begins

One of the people who came to the meeting tonight spoke early on in the meeting. He said that he didn’t call god – GOD. But He believes that there is something greater than himself. He is having trouble with God right now because the woman he is married to, is dying of Cancer and he is trying to come to terms with her dying, and the fact that there is disease, but where is God amid the sick suffering he is witness to…

Step Three dictates that: (We) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. No matter which way you slice it, one way or another, you find God in recovery. HE is there all the time, patiently waiting for us to come around. God is a jealous God and he wants the best for us, and he wants us to be with him. (This thought comes from Henri Nouwen – The Only Necessary Thing ).

God does not push us in any way, shape or form, but gently He speaks to us through spirit, or by way of action of someone close to us. Or maybe through someone we see during our day.

I shared my take on this topic – quick and simple. I drank, I got sick, doctors told me I was gonna die, I got sober, I may not have known it then, but in practice, I turned my will over to the care of God as I understood him. I had to trust that my team was taking care of me and that God, in his wisdom would do his part. He did…

And I lived … 15 years Lived !!!

I may have gone on for 5 minutes talking about the movement of God in our specific meeting space, because God visits us at Tuesday Beginners. You come long enough, and you watch people getting sober, eventually someone has a spiritual experience in a meeting, or an old timer will come to the meeting one week and become the fount of all spiritual wisdom, as happened today.

God moves in mysterious ways… Step three comes, you don’t need to rush it. I enjoy watching people “Get” step three and when it finally hits, it is like a tidal wave of God moving about the room.

Having worked my share of Pastoral Ministry cases in hospice and having worked a fair share of cancer related deaths in my 41 years of life, I had something to say to our friend who was having issues with God.

“GOD DOES NOT ORDAIN ILLNESS”

It rolled off my tongue like wisdom gleaned from the tree of knowledge itself. I just knew this had to be Godly counsel. I was sure of it from the moment the thought came to my mind. We sat and talked about presence. We spoke about the fact that adversity and illness gives us an opportunity to learn something about ourselves. When (another) is sick, or when we get sick,  we have a choice. We can be a victim, or we can be a victor. I had to come to this realization on my own too…

Illness purifies us before God. It is the fire that tempers the steel. Illness asks of us to find the spiritual path. I am 100% convinced that even if the prognosis is bleak, for either party, if you get spirituality, then the road will be easier, even to death.

Sometimes all we can do is be present for someone who is sick. Sometimes we are powerless to stop the ravages of illness. People get sick, some survive, some stay sick, and some die … What ever hand we are dealt, there is a lesson to learn about ourselves. The lesson may be very simple. Maybe to let go. And maybe the lesson comes quick, for many it comes slowly, as we realize that in certain illness cases, illness will go as illness goes. And for many, death is the end of suffering.

It is what WE do between Now and Then

What spiritual fire must we walk through? What is the specific lesson that we are supposed to learn amid the suffering of another human being, or even ourselves? Each lesson is person specific. I may be a seer. I may be an adequate listener. And I am getting better at communicating. I know that in the moment while I sat there with this man, who was clearly shaken, I was just present. He uttered the word “Pity” and I asked him about compassion? I asked him about being present to his wife. There is a lesson in there somewhere for him. I told him he wasn’t alone.

The spiritual path is different for every person in sobriety. Some come to sobriety with their baggage. Some come to sobriety because of prestige, Some come to sobriety because they are facing dire straits, then some come to sobriety out of a sense of desperation. They’ve been given a gift of desperation. Each person comes to the room from a different path, and no two paths are the same. But they lead down the same 12 stairs into the basement of St. Leon’s Church… (yes there are 12 stairs into the basement)

One never knows when God is going to show up. I believed He came for that man tonight, through the ministry of another sober alcoholic with a bent towards Pastoral Ministry. This is how the night was ordained…

We broke the room for the second meeting as Rick was taking his 19 year cake tonight, and once again Ms. Nancy baked another award winning Chocolate Cake. It was festive. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a step back.

We heard tonight that Sylvia, a 20 year member of AA in Montreal has passed away. She was a fixture in Montreal sober circles. Her funeral is Saturday at St. Monica’s Church where my spiritual director is Pastor. We will all go to celebrate her life. You wanna see sobriety in action, attend the funeral of a long time sober member of AA. I have seen this kind of emotion once before, when I first got sober. They used my Big Book on the Altar when John Mack died many years ago. That was a blessing for me. but I digress…

Vivian was the speaker tonight. She has been sober for over 20 years. She shared her story. It was part of her story that took me over the edge. Her son, Chris, is a hemophiliac and contracted HIV and Hep C in a blood transfusion. Some years ago. What she said next took my breath away.

She said my doctors name and she shared a story about the day Chris decided to seek treatment for HIV, and he went to the clinic. They had study drugs for him to take and they needed his approval to get him on the meds. He sat with the doctor and he explained the route for him, and he took a few moments, and said yes to the study. but not first pondering the thought, “what would mom do???”

Funny, this AA

You never know when God is going to speak to you directly. Over the last seven years – I have tested every drug that came through that clinic that was eventually given to patients across the board. As a test patient, you never know what kind of work you are doing in testing HIV medication. You never know the depth of investment we make in doing this for the greater good.

I gave the beginners chip out at the meeting. It was then that I spoke to her and I said to her, that my name is Jeremy and I am a test patient at the General and that all the drugs your son now has – went through me before he ever got them. In essence, I helped save a life. It was a God moment.

Chris is alive because men like me tested those medications to make sure that they worked first. I can’t explain the gravity of a moment like this one.

Many other patients are alive at the clinic for the work we have done for them over the last seven years. This was the first time I met a parent of a patient from the clinic that is alive because of something I did right in sobriety.

She sobbed uncontrollably. It was an amazing moment. this is confirmation that my Higher Power works in mysterious ways, and rewards us at specific moments in sobriety to show us that when we turn it over and step aside and let God be God, God will be God and He will do the heavy lifting for us, if we just Let Go and Let God…


God does not 'Ordain' illness …

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Tuesday has come and gone. A good day was had by all. I attempted to get Ms. Nikki out for coffee after work and she turned me down … It was not a good day for her. Oh well, her loss…

I started the day with service at the Cathedral and the Eucharist. I went for Louise, I went for Joyce, then I went for me. Our sermon today comes from the Gospel of Matthew in the 13th chapter verses 31-32:

The Parables of the Mustard Seed

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”

You never know when a seed will be planted in the heart of someone you come into contact with. Joyce referenced the youth of the parish, and that they may come with all their stuff to “church” but at least we have planted seeds in them. And once the seeds are sown in the garden, we must take care of that garden so that those seeds one day may sprout.

After service I had class and we talked more about the Apostle Paul and his letters to the Corinthians (1 st and 2nd Corinthians). Did you know that the order of the books do not represent the order the letters were written??? That there are lost letters that do not appear in the canon, and are called the lost letters. but one can infer from the letters here where the order lies.

1st Corinthians was written  in 54 and 55 of the common era.
2nd Corinthians was written after 55 of the common era.

1. Paul’s first visit to Corinth ( 2 Cor 1:19)
2. Paul’s FIRST letter ( 1 Cor 5:9 )
3. The Corinthians wrote a letter to Paul ( 1 Cor 7:1 )
4. Paul’s SECOND letter ( 1 Cor 16:15-17 )

1st Corinthians is the Second Letter – (Paul’s Second Letter)

5. Paul’s SECOND visit to Corinth (2Cor 2:1-4, 2:5-11, 13:2)
6. Arrival of the Super Apostles (2 Cor 11:4-23)
7. Paul’s THIRD letter (Embodied in 2 Cor 10-13)
This is a fragment of the third letter…
8. Paul’s FOURTH letter (Embodied in 2 Cor 1:9)

2nd Corinthians is the FOURTH letter, 1 Cor is the SECOND letter. Second Corinthians is 3 kinds of letters pieced together.

This was a good lecture and sent us all scurrying out of the hall to ponder what we just heard from Prof. Gagne. It was a good time.

I came home for an hour to fart around, after being double layered to get to class I changed out of and back into my clothes over an hours time. UGH!!! I set off for the diner making stops to get cookies and supplies – which left me 40 minutes of down time at the diner to read. I did not get the entire hour today. I was just too busy…

I went to do set up and make coffee and by the time I got the coffee on and the tables set for the business meeting people started coming for the business meeting so it was one thing after another. We had a good meeting. The Topic for today’s meeting was Step Three … and quoting from the 12 and 12:

“The more we become willing to depend on a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are.”

This is where my story really begins

One of the people who came to the meeting tonight spoke early on in the meeting. He said that he didn’t call god – GOD. But He believes that there is something greater than himself. He is having trouble with God right now because the woman he is married to, is dying of Cancer and he is trying to come to terms with her dying, and the fact that there is disease, but where is God amid the sick suffering he is witness to…

Step Three dictates that: (We) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. No matter which way you slice it, one way or another, you find God in recovery. HE is there all the time, patiently waiting for us to come around. God is a jealous God and he wants the best for us, and he wants us to be with him. (This thought comes from Henri Nouwen – The Only Necessary Thing ).

God does not push us in any way, shape or form, but gently He speaks to us through spirit, or by way of action of someone close to us. Or maybe through someone we see during our day.

I shared my take on this topic – quick and simple. I drank, I got sick, doctors told me I was gonna die, I got sober, I may not have known it then, but in practice, I turned my will over to the care of God as I understood him. I had to trust that my team was taking care of me and that God, in his wisdom would do his part. He did…

And I lived … 15 years Lived !!!

I may have gone on for 5 minutes talking about the movement of God in our specific meeting space, because God visits us at Tuesday Beginners. You come long enough, and you watch people getting sober, eventually someone has a spiritual experience in a meeting, or an old timer will come to the meeting one week and become the fount of all spiritual wisdom, as happened today.

God moves in mysterious ways… Step three comes, you don’t need to rush it. I enjoy watching people “Get” step three and when it finally hits, it is like a tidal wave of God moving about the room.

Having worked my share of Pastoral Ministry cases in hospice and having worked a fair share of cancer related deaths in my 41 years of life, I had something to say to our friend who was having issues with God.

“GOD DOES NOT ORDAIN ILLNESS”

It rolled off my tongue like wisdom gleaned from the tree of knowledge itself. I just knew this had to be Godly counsel. I was sure of it from the moment the thought came to my mind. We sat and talked about presence. We spoke about the fact that adversity and illness gives us an opportunity to learn something about ourselves. When (another) is sick, or when we get sick,  we have a choice. We can be a victim, or we can be a victor. I had to come to this realization on my own too…

Illness purifies us before God. It is the fire that tempers the steel. Illness asks of us to find the spiritual path. I am 100% convinced that even if the prognosis is bleak, for either party, if you get spirituality, then the road will be easier, even to death.

Sometimes all we can do is be present for someone who is sick. Sometimes we are powerless to stop the ravages of illness. People get sick, some survive, some stay sick, and some die … What ever hand we are dealt, there is a lesson to learn about ourselves. The lesson may be very simple. Maybe to let go. And maybe the lesson comes quick, for many it comes slowly, as we realize that in certain illness cases, illness will go as illness goes. And for many, death is the end of suffering.

It is what WE do between Now and Then

What spiritual fire must we walk through? What is the specific lesson that we are supposed to learn amid the suffering of another human being, or even ourselves? Each lesson is person specific. I may be a seer. I may be an adequate listener. And I am getting better at communicating. I know that in the moment while I sat there with this man, who was clearly shaken, I was just present. He uttered the word “Pity” and I asked him about compassion? I asked him about being present to his wife. There is a lesson in there somewhere for him. I told him he wasn’t alone.

The spiritual path is different for every person in sobriety. Some come to sobriety with their baggage. Some come to sobriety because of prestige, Some come to sobriety because they are facing dire straits, then some come to sobriety out of a sense of desperation. They’ve been given a gift of desperation. Each person comes to the room from a different path, and no two paths are the same. But they lead down the same 12 stairs into the basement of St. Leon’s Church… (yes there are 12 stairs into the basement)

One never knows when God is going to show up. I believed He came for that man tonight, through the ministry of another sober alcoholic with a bent towards Pastoral Ministry. This is how the night was ordained…

We broke the room for the second meeting as Rick was taking his 19 year cake tonight, and once again Ms. Nancy baked another award winning Chocolate Cake. It was festive. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a step back.

We heard tonight that Sylvia, a 20 year member of AA in Montreal has passed away. She was a fixture in Montreal sober circles. Her funeral is Saturday at St. Monica’s Church where my spiritual director is Pastor. We will all go to celebrate her life. You wanna see sobriety in action, attend the funeral of a long time sober member of AA. I have seen this kind of emotion once before, when I first got sober. They used my Big Book on the Altar when John Mack died many years ago. That was a blessing for me. but I digress…

Vivian was the speaker tonight. She has been sober for over 20 years. She shared her story. It was part of her story that took me over the edge. Her son, Chris, is a hemophiliac and contracted HIV and Hep C in a blood transfusion. Some years ago. What she said next took my breath away.

She said my doctors name and she shared a story about the day Chris decided to seek treatment for HIV, and he went to the clinic. They had study drugs for him to take and they needed his approval to get him on the meds. He sat with the doctor and he explained the route for him, and he took a few moments, and said yes to the study. but not first pondering the thought, “what would mom do???”

Funny, this AA

You never know when God is going to speak to you directly. Over the last seven years – I have tested every drug that came through that clinic that was eventually given to patients across the board. As a test patient, you never know what kind of work you are doing in testing HIV medication. You never know the depth of investment we make in doing this for the greater good.

I gave the beginners chip out at the meeting. It was then that I spoke to her and I said to her, that my name is Jeremy and I am a test patient at the General and that all the drugs your son now has – went through me before he ever got them. In essence, I helped save a life. It was a God moment.

Chris is alive because men like me tested those medications to make sure that they worked first. I can’t explain the gravity of a moment like this one.

Many other patients are alive at the clinic for the work we have done for them over the last seven years. This was the first time I met a parent of a patient from the clinic that is alive because of something I did right in sobriety.

She sobbed uncontrollably. It was an amazing moment. this is confirmation that my Higher Power works in mysterious ways, and rewards us at specific moments in sobriety to show us that when we turn it over and step aside and let God be God, God will be God and He will do the heavy lifting for us, if we just Let Go and Let God…


January 27 2009 Holocaust Memorial Day

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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.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

Let us Remember so that We Never Forget…


The Saga of Fr. Geoff Farrow …

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Fr. Geoff Farrow and Susan Russell All Saint’s Church Pasadena

Farmboyz/Perge Modo Blog Here

Have you wondered whatever became of that California priest who refused to give in to a directive from his bishop to instruct folks to vote yes on Prop 8?

If you’ve been following his blog, you know that Father Geoffrey Farrow was suspended for following his conscience but continues to work for LGBT justice.

The fact that he is barred from functioning as a Roman Catholic priest is bad enough, but recently, through mutual friends, I received some sad news about Father Geoff. News that makes me extremely angry. News that demonstrates the malice of a church that preaches the love of Jesus while deliberately persecuting a priest who for all the right reasons dared to follow the real teachings of Jesus.

Father Geoffrey Farrow had applied for a position with the Los Angeles branch of CLUE, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.

CLUE identifies itself as follows:

We are an interfaith association of over 600 religious leaders throughout Los Angeles County who come together to respond to the crisis of the working poor.

CLUE derives a significant part of its funding from the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Today I spoke with a member of CLUE’s board of directors, Rev. James Conn, a Methodist minister and Director of New Ministries for the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church. Reverend Conn had been directly involved in the recruitment and interview process involving Father Geoff.

I asked him if CLUE had denied Father Geoff a second interview specifically because the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles threatened to cut off all its significant funding for CLUE should Father Geoff ever be offered the position in question.

As incredible as it may seem, Reverend Conn confirmed the truth of this and expressed his heartfelt disappointment over the fact that CLUE had to choose between continuing the interview process with an extremely promising and qualified candidate or risk losing the financial support of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles that is critical to CLUE’s work.

A second interview with Father Geoff had been scheduled for December 15, 2008, but on December 13, Father Geoff received a phone call from CLUE expressing disappointment over their decision to terminate the interview process solely because of the threat made by the archdiocese of Los Angeles whose representative on CLUE’s board of directors had brought the situation to the attention of the highest level of authority in the archdiocese.

It is important to note that, in his interview, Father Geoff was not trying to pass himself off as a priest “in good standing” with the Roman Catholic Church, and that the bishop who suspended Father Geoff is the ordinary of a different diocese.

It is also important to note that the ministry performed by CLUE is to the poor. Its primary focus is not the LGBT community. Father Geoff would not be representing the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals in his new position.

It is important to note that at the age of 51, after having devoted 23 years of his life to the Roman Catholic Church plus an earlier 7 years in the seminary, Father Geoff has had his medical benefits discontinued and is without income and assistance from his bishop. While it is disgusting that his bishop has turned his back on Father Geoff, it is infuriating to think that his bishop would conspire with the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles to block gainful and appropriate employment.

I am well familiar with the jargon of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. They will say that they feel compassion for Father Geoff and that they pray for him, but their actions speak too strongly and demonstrate deliberate malice. They do not wish him well. And, God forbid that they should have ever proactively attempted some sort of out-placement effort on his behalf. Some bishops privately do that on behalf of priests who leave, but not the hard-hearted bishop who cut off Father Geoffrey Farrow nor the malicious Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles.

I am writing this because I’ve learned over the years that the Roman Catholic Church gets away with this kind of despicable and inhumane treatment of men who choose to follow their conscience only when its bad deeds are not held up to a strong light. Father Geoff does not wish CLUE to lose its funding and therefore has remained silent about this, but his friends have brought this situation to my attention, and I want Catholics in California and beyond to understand clearly the level of unchristian behavior and deliberate malice of which their bishops and cardinals are capable.

I hope you will consider going to CLUE’s website and leaving them a message about your feelings (please keep in mind that CLUE wanted to continue its interview with Father Geoff so don’t paint them as the “bad guy”. If you want to leave a message for the real “bad guy”, you may contact the office of Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2202
213 637 7000
info@la-archdiocese.org

Ask them why they hate Father Geoff. When they assure you that they do not hate him, ask them to prove it and soon. Right now, more than their insincere prayers, he needs a job.

Now for Fr. Geoff’s words:

Fr. Geoff Farrow’s Blog – Here

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they are not out to get you.” An English professor of mine in college once said, “truisms are truisms because they are true.” On Friday the Bilerco Project published an article about my recent run in with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In brief, I had applied for the position of Executive Director of a non-profit organization in Los Angeles. I had very successfully completed the lion’s share of the interview process and was all but assured that I would be given the position. I had one final interview left with the Board of Directors on December 15th, 2008. Two days before that interview, I received a phone call from a Board Member informing me that the final interview had been cancelled. He was extremely apologetic and explained that they had received a phone call from the Archdiocese threatening them with disaffiliation if I were to be hired as the Executive Director.

I decided not to pursue any legal remedy for three reasons. First, I did not in any way wish to harm the non-profit for which I had applied. They do outstanding and laudable work helping the working poor. Second, I have extremely limited financial resources and am no match for the extremely well financed and influential Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Third, my own family asked me not to pursue the matter further. They felt that I was being made “an example of” by the powers within the Church to discourage other priests from speaking out. My folks basically suggested that I just find a job and move on with my life.

Paradoxically, the actions of churchmen are pushing me in the opposite direction. On this final point, I must say that I have received first a command and then, “warnings” not to publish, not to speak with the media, and not to make public appearances. I am in a “David and Goliath” scenario with powerful churchmen who have the staff and vast wealth of the institution at their command. I was effectively blackballed by the Archdiocese from obtaining the position at CLUE-LA and I am aware that the hierarchy may try this and other means to attempt to intimidate me into silence. It is the basic civil right for freedom of speech that is at stake here for both myself and the reader.

These authoritarian churchmen are threatened by the free expression of ideas which differ from their own. They are even more acutely sensitive on this particular issue than on most others because they know that many priests (and bishops) are gay. They take it as a personal affront that threatens not only their power and position, but perhaps even more frightening, it threatens to unmask many of them as closeted gay men. The simple solution of granting gay and lesbian Catholics the practical dignity which they have conferred upon them theoretically is a non-option. This is true because of sociological reasons. Most Catholics live in the Third World and are not prepared to accept women priests, let alone gay and lesbian equal rights.

I entered the seminary in 1978 because of a sincere religious conversion. I have been privileged to know many holy priests and nuns. I have meditated on the Word of God and have been inspired by the Truth of Divine Mercy. I know that I am imperfect and have fallen short in my life but I can honestly say that I have never acted out of malice towards others. I know that the truth cannot be destroyed by free discussion and that ultimately, free discourse of ideas serves the truth since, it reveals it. Those who would lead us spiritually must do so by the wisdom and reason of their argumentation and not by coercion. They must embrace and manifest love and mercy as central values which they manifest through their words and deeds. This is how our founder proclaimed the Good News.


Communication …

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Bringing to mind the breath, breathing in and out, and once again, I bring my mind and my body together… I think I can write now. I am listening to Randall preach on my headset as I type here talking about distraction and God.

We need to watch out for distractions. And when they come up we need to maybe speak a prayer. We need to be reminded of our primary purposes. I have posted a few items on the blog, as of late, that I found interesting, repulsive and sickening. What a sin that man cannot speak his truth and let that truth set him free. Sad that communities have punished people and set them apart. The story is not new, and the ending of that story will not be pretty. The hostages will be set free yet the lies and deceit still exist. Who knew, when and why and how come the truth was kept in the dark? Because sometimes the truth is scary, sometimes the truth is too much to bear for ones self or for a family to deal with.

It was another adventure in communication tonight. We always start class with a breathing exercise. One, Two and on the third breath we scream… nobody’s watching, it’s just us here…

You can’t breathe in yesterday, You can’t breathe in tomorrow, You can only breathe in the present moment. The here and now, right here in this moment.

We spoke tonight about truth and speaking ones truth. We also spoke about listening. How do we listen to others? She told us that everything we will be talking about in class is already known. But how much of it do we realize we know? Are we conscious? Are we consciously aware of ourselves?

I had a conversation with both my boys last night. I know them so well. I listen to them breathe. I listen to them talk. And I listen to when they get quiet. And I commented in class that one of my boys likes his silences.

When he gets quiet I know that one of two things are coming. More silence which means that something is going to remain unspoken, or that an “Oh By the Way” is coming… And she said to me that when a conversation goes silent for that moment that I should just be in the moment to be present and to allow the moment to come to its fruition. Maybe ask a question or maybe not say anything at all. But just to wait, and be present for him to say whatever it is he needs to say to me.

I am learning how to be a better communicator and a better listener. I think I am a bit more mindful of what I write, to be present to the words I type here in this little box. I am not so distracted tonight, but I am focused on the sermon that I am listening to at the moment. Again…

These were Jesus’ words to a distracted church…

Scripture: Matthew 21: 12-17

Jesus at the Temple

“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
” ‘From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise’

And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.”

Are you distracted in this moment? Are you reading with all of your heart? Is your mind still and is your heart at rest? I need to get something to eat and watch the news now.

More later, stay tuned…


Ted Haggard Had A Boyfriend

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“Oh God I want it, Oh God I need it, Oh God give it to me…”

Courtesy of : JOE MY GOD

Immediately after the Mike Jones scandal broke in 2006, officials at Ted Haggard’s New Life Church learned that Haggard had also had a longtime relationship with a young man at the church. The church paid for the young man’s silence with college tuition, but with suspicious timing, he has now come forward as the HBO documentary about Haggard is about to debut.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told the Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Boyd said an “overwhelming pool of evidence” pointed to an “inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship” that “went on for a long period of time … it wasn’t a one-time act.” Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began.

Reached Friday night, Haggard declined to comment and said all interviews would have to be arranged through a publicist for HBO, which is airing a documentary about him this month. Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly. Boyd said a Colorado Springs TV station reached him Thursday to say the young man was planning to provide a detailed report of his relationship with Haggard to the station. Boyd said the church preferred to keep the matter private, but it was the man’s decision to go public.

New Life Church says they will not pursue legal action against Haggard’s boyfriend for violating their agreement. Earlier this month, Haggard said that his sexuality doesn’t fit into “stereotypical boxes” and that he never claimed that he was heterosexual. He also expressed support for marriage equality, although an HBO spokesperson immediately retracted that statement. The documentary, The Trials Of Ted Haggard, debuts Thursday at 8pm. Mighty convenient, publicity-wise, eh???

Comment:

If he did it once, he did it twice, and if he did it twice, he did it a third time. I knew this story wasn’t finished. Sex, Money and Power. Three dynamic forces that perpetuate a lot of energy over time. I am sure there are boys lined up to tell their stories. The Saintly Pastor and all his little secrets…

Imagine when He had the gaul to sit with Barbara Walters and speak about God, Spirituality and the sin that was homosexuality… All that pent up internalized Homophobia and the vitriol he spewed at LGBTQ people over the years.

I always say, “The Dog that barks the loudest, has the MOST to hide…”


Train Station Dance

The T-Mobile Dance


James

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Baby: a boy, James
Weight: 7lbs 7oz
Length: 18 1/4″
Born: 6:03am, Tuesday January 20, 2009

After months and months we welcome James into the world. Go and show mommy some love. Sam’s Stories here. This is a where were you moment for the entire family. Mommy and baby are doing fine. We wish them all of God’s blessings.


Hopes and Dreams

Obama Inauguration

It is 2:40 in the morning and I am watching tv – Keith Olbermann. Would we have the audacity of hope to ponder that the agent of real change will come in the person and presidency of Barack Obama? With his soaring rhetoric and ability to move “millions” of people to vote and to gather for his inauguration, we must believe that the agent of change has come.

It was fitting that he began his “Ball” trek at the Neighborhood Ball because the Obama’s are Neighborhood people. His campaign began in the neighborhood and we are all part of a Global Neighborhood, no matter where we live.

It only takes one man to create change. We can look at the person of Jesus and know that change is possible, we can look and see the movement he started that exists to this day.

I believe that the ceiling of hopes and dreams has been shattered. I think the world now rests in the hands of all the young people from all over the world. We must dream big and we must hope high. We are a few hours into the new presidency of Barack Obama, and you know, I pray that in the morning when he rises from his bed, that he can stand up and support all the hopes and dreams that the world has placed upon his shoulders.

The road may be long, the mountain may be high, and the slope may be steep, but the world must stand behind him and support him so that he can climb the slope left to him by the previous tenant of the White House.

Failure is not an option. We cannot fail President Obama, we cannot fail our communities, we cannot fail our neighborhoods, we cannot fail ourselves.

Success may be slow and may only come in increments, but success will come, one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time, and one year at a time. We must believe, we must hope and we must dream.

We must dream because the world would be a very lonely and empty place without the dreams that we speak to the universe.

Imagine the ripple effect that Barack Obama may have on world leaders. Imagine that change starts in the U.S. and moves North and South, East and West. Far and Wide, here and there. If the voices of millions of Americans who voted can bring about this “agent of change” to the White House, imagine what we can do in our own countries?

They say that change begins at home. I have written that what we teach our children by thought, word and deed, will impact them for the rest of their lives. They say that the youth had a direct impact on the election of Barack Obama, as I saw tonight in interviews. The youth impacted their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. The U.S. was ready for change and change is on the menu tonight.

Change begins in our homes, in our villages, in our towns, cities and states. If Barack Obama can bring about a tidal wave of change for the U.S. imagine how we can change the rest of the world. I cannot begin to imagine what kind of change he will bring to his world travels in the first year of his presidency.

Barack Obama will be coming to Canada in February. Ottawa is only two hours from Montreal. The Canadian Prime Minister looks forward to working with the new U.S. President we are their closest ally, neighbor and trade partner, I think Canadians will all agree that Canada could use change like President Obama has spoken so eloquently about.

Dream Big, Hope High. In order to begin change, we must become the change we want to see. There is no limit to what we can do as citizens of “President Obama’s neighborhood.” The world celebrated today. Let that celebration be the impetus for all of us to create the change we want to see in our own locations.

We are to love God with all our hearts, with all of our strength and all of our minds, and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Let the neighbors and neighborhoods unite all over the world.

Change has come. And let it begin with me…

THIS is another Defining Moment…


Mandela praises Obama for his message of hope

nelson-mandela

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – On the day that he made history, Barack Obama got some heartfelt praise from Nelson Mandela.

The anti-apartheid icon said Obama’s inauguration in Washington has inspired the same sense of hope the world felt when South Africa threw off apartheid and elected its first black president — Mandela himself.

Mandela, in a letter released shortly after Obama took the oath of office Tuesday, said people around the world were inspired by his inauguration in 1994 to believe that “injustice can be overcome.” And he says Obama’s presidency offers a similar hope.

“Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done,” Mandela wrote. “Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place.”

Mandela also wrote of Africa’s pride at seeing Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, achieve such high office.

Across the continent Tuesday, particularly in Kenya, Africans celebrated Obama’s inauguration and marveled that a nation that once bought and sold African slaves was now led by a man with African roots. There was also recognition that Obama would have concerns and an agenda beyond Africa.

“We are aware that the expectations of what your presidency will achieve are high and that the demands on you will be great,” Mandela wrote. “We therefore once more wish you and your family strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead.”

Mandela, 90, has largely retired from public life and such statements from him are increasingly rare. But he seems to feel a personal connection to Obama — he also sent a letter of congratulations in November when Obama won the U.S. presidential election.

Obama “will always be in our affection as a young man who dared to dream and to pursue that dream,” Mandela wrote Tuesday.