Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. B-Down Gobo Light Show – Memories. A Wordpress Production

FLUUUUU!!!

Harbinger …

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It is a doctor kind of week. And they say here, unless you are dying, never go to the hospital aside from your appointment day, because you would sit in the E.R. for 2 days before a doctor would see you…

Yes, that happens here.

So a little visitor came to me over the past week or two. It appeared as a little pimply thing on my left lower lip. I picked at it and paid it no mind. I surely was not feeling sick, and didn’t have it in mind to get sick. But the damned thing was persistent. It stayed and the flu came to our home.

Hubby got hid blindsided, and if he gets it, I am surely gonna get it. And it is brutal. I have pain in places on my body that I never feel pain at. A cough that keeps me up at night. But today I finally found a pill to make it stop long enough for me to sleep a few hours, earlier today.

Hubby is nailed in on finishing his readers papers for his final M.A. defense on the 24th of this month. But sickness has prevented him finishing it up. I’ve had to step in to shop, cook, do laundry and go to the pharmacy to stock up on exotic pills and potions to take care of ourselves.

We have been sleeping a lot. We’ve missed late night radio all week having gone to bed before midnight and having turned the radio off when we get to sleep eventually.

God damned it that cold sore … If it appears. You will get sick.

That little harbinger of things to come, I thought I could ward it off with all the pills I take on a daily basis, but having an already compromised immune system makes me far easier a hit for a cold or the flu.

I rested up today, after doing two loads of laundry, a trip to the pharmacy and two trips to the supermarket, had my disco nap, where I actually slept.

I was up on time and prepared for my Thursday night meeting. And it seemed that folks were a little off, so the whole meeting was a flight by the seat of our pants. The chair thought she was chairing next week, instead of this week, so she chaired tonight. She went into the crowd and found a victim (read: Speaker) to speak and appointed readers, thankers and the lot.

Never say no. I read the steps tonight.

It was a good share. Lots of warning of what will happen if we become ungrateful or take our will back or stop going to meetings. Even that little thought that “aw, I can do it myself, I don’t need you !” Maybe I can drink normally now I’ve been sober a while. NOT !!!

The message was well received. And the warnings were heeded.

Very soon, the Thursday night meeting will begin … May 2 2012 … And we won’t be attending St. Matthias any more. We are still looking for a cabinet or some box like thing to hold our stuff. But we have some time still yet.

That’s all for now.

Gonna head to bed soon. Friday night is another meeting. And I said I’d go and support the chair, and to bring along a new friend.

More to come, stay tuned…


Wednesday Wrap Up …

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I’ve navigated another week of studies. Quite successfully I might add. I attended a meeting at the Multifaith Chaplaincy this afternoon and we have a plan of action set up for the university. I have a list of things to do for next week.

I went to visit one of my esteemed colleagues afterwards and we talked about life and school. Donald is studying at the Anglican College in pursuit of holy orders and is very happy with his choice to do so. We welcomed him into the Anglican Church on Holy Saturday this past spring.

I told him that maybe I have found a venue to put my Pastoral Ministry Certificate into action. And he told me that maybe “Holy Mother Church was calling me back …” I just laughed. We’ll see if that is true.

The end of the month is coming and we will be getting financial aide on Friday. That means bills and pills will be bought as well. I bid on an item on Ebay this past week, and wouldn’t you know it, I bid high enough that my bid went uncontested and I won it. And on Friday I will get to pay for my item and it will totally be mine.

Let’s try this again … I got booted off just now and it didn’t save half of the post I had written here so let’s pop the memory back in…

H1N1 — We checked the website for the island of Montreal and found out that we can get our vaccines on Monday since I am immunocompromised and I am also a diabetic, so I get to pass go, collect $200, and go to the head of the line, and so does my hubby.We’ll be traveling down to Verdun to get our vaccines, hopefully it won’t be a mad house like we have seen on tv the past few days.

Let Us Pray !!!

If you are in Montreal and need info you can CLICK HERE and find it.

So that’s that for now.

More to come Stay tuned …


Rosh Hashanah

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In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. –Leviticus 16:24

Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 12, the first of Tishri. L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem — May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

I also learned that there is more than one “New Year’s Day” in the Jewish calendar — sort of like we have a new fiscal year and a new school year in ours: “In Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and Jubilee years begin at this time).” [From Judaism 101 website on the holiday]

Thanks Michael…


Andy’s memory of September 11th

The Last Debate: Andy’s story …  

What I remember most is the silence.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began like every other day.

I was running a little bit late for work at my temp job on the Upper East Side, but it was a casual environment so despite the time I went ahead and walked across Central Park instead of catching the M79 bus to 5th Avenue because the weather was spectacular. It was warm but not especially humid, and the sky was a royal blue. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.

It was about quarter to nine.

I had my Discman with me (no iPods yet) and was listening to the second act of Parsifal (the Karajan, with Vejzovic and Hofmann) as I took my usual loop around the top of the Great Lawn, with its famous panoramic view of the wall of midtown skyscrapers rising from the tree-lined perimeter of the park. I was just approaching the lawn when a distraught-looking man tried to get my attention as he pointed southward to the sky. I figured he was just another looney, so I ignored him.

But a few steps later, I glanced out toward the city and noticed a small, black cloud over the tops of the towers, which like an inkblot began to spread ominously over the skyline.

At that time of day, the park is filled with unleashed dogs and their owners. At the top of the oval path, a few of us gathered to speculate: obviously a building was on fire somewhere. “Hope everyone’s all right,” someone said.

Then a park worker drove up in his big green pickup. “Do you know what’s going on?” we asked him. “They say a plane flew into the World Trade Center,” he replied.

We looked at the crystalline sky. What? How, on a day like today, could someone possibly fly into a building? I don’t think any of us were thinking airliner. And we were certainly thinking accident. The guy turned up the volume on the truck’s radio.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen…we’re…we’re getting an unconfirmed report that a second plane has struck the second tower,” the incredulous voice on the radio said.

Among the small group that had gathered to watch, there were various responses of “Nah, no way,” “Someone’s confused,” “Couldn’t be,” “Just a rumor,” and things to that effect.

Then the voice spoke again: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm it now, a second airliner has struck the second tower. Both World Trade Center towers are on fire.

Silence.

You know that phrase, “weak in the knees”? In that awful moment, it became clear, without anyone having to say it, that the city was under attack. People were dead. A lot of people were dead. As I turned again to see the expanding plume of smoke speeding toward Brooklyn, my stomach clutched and my head reeled as I steadied myself on the fence surrounding the lawn.

Our small group dispersed quickly and silently.

As I headed toward my job on 75th Street, I passed a playground on the south side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; toddlers were running and swinging and chasing each other and squealing with joy, while Caribbean nannies and stay-at-home moms sat peacefully on benches in the shade. I envied them their collective innocence, short-lived as it was about to be.

By the time I reached the job, the Pentagon had been struck, as well, and the media were warning of hundreds of airliners still in the sky. As the company was housed in a national historic landmark, we soon received a phonecall from the police ordering us to evacuate.

The subways were closed and the buses were mobbed, so there was nothing for it but to begin the seven-and-a-half mile walk home, and I headed across Central Park once again. The noxious plume from the catastrophe, like the darkness that wends its way out of Mordor before the final siege of Minas Tirith, hung like a banner of death over the city: the funeral pyre of nearly 3,000 innocents.

No one was walking their dog in the park now. No children were playing.

At the corner of 86th and Central Park West, an elderly man was standing in front of the building, tears running down his face. “It fell down,” he said to me, his voice quaking and cracking with anguish.

“What?” I asked, unsure of what I’d heard.

“The tower…it fell down.” My mind could not wrap itself around the imagined vision of a 110-story skyscraper, a global icon, falling down. I simply could not picture it; could not accept it as belonging to the realm of the possible.

When I reached Broadway, the owners of a bodega had set a television set on folding chair on the sidewalk so passersby could see the news. I had missed the collapse of the second tower by seconds; all that was visible was that awful, boiling grey cloud of debris where there ought to have been gleaming silver buildings.

The city had been sealed off; the bridges and tunnels were closed, and there was nothing for anyone to do but go home (if you could). There was hardly any traffic at all on Broadway, save the occasional loaded cab or jam-packed bus. Now and then there would be an ambulance, sirens wailing.

What was remarkable was the silence. No one spoke. There was no music playing anywhere. Only sirens.

Two and a half hours later I reached my apartment. I called my parents to let them know I was okay, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in stunned, silent grief, nauseous and scared, as I wondered what was next, and tried to come to terms with the discovery that there were people in the world who wanted to kill me.

I would spend nearly six years wondering what was next. From that moment on, I never once set foot on a bus or a subway or a plane or stepped inside a theater or any other public place and didn’t worry about a bomb or other atrocity. Though I had been, thankfully, far from the World Trade Center at the time and never in any danger, I began to have nightmares and panic attacks. On the subway, my chest would constrict, my heart would begin to ache and I’d have to get off at the next stop and walk around above ground until the nausea went away. I was often late for work.

Some days I called in sick, because I just couldn’t get on the train.

Once I fled a performance at the Metropolitan Opera, mid-aria. The sweat began pouring down my brow and the familiar, tight-chested “I think I want to puke” sensation overtook me, and I headed for the exit.

I think it’s no coincidence that I lost my voice in 2002.

I don’t speak often of these things. It hurts to remember; it hurts to remember a day when strangers came among us, into the heart of my beautiful, beloved city, to hurt us. To kill people, to incinerate them in a blinding red-orange flash, or to strand them with the options of leaping to their deaths or waiting for 100 ceilings to come crashing down on top of them. It hurts to remember how this tragedy was appropriated to justify a war of utter insanity. It hurts to remember the previously unknown anxiety that began to haunt me daily, manifested in a physical disorder which, slowly, night by night as I suffered through recurring nightmares of being blown apart on the subway, dismantled my dreams and a decade of hard work, literally eating away my career aspirations in baths of stomach acid.

Now, 3000 miles and six years later, I realize that in many ways, I’m still fleeing the attack.

Eternal Rest Grant them, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them…
Thank you Andy


Andy's memory of September 11th

The Last Debate: Andy’s story …  

What I remember most is the silence.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began like every other day.

I was running a little bit late for work at my temp job on the Upper East Side, but it was a casual environment so despite the time I went ahead and walked across Central Park instead of catching the M79 bus to 5th Avenue because the weather was spectacular. It was warm but not especially humid, and the sky was a royal blue. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.

It was about quarter to nine.

I had my Discman with me (no iPods yet) and was listening to the second act of Parsifal (the Karajan, with Vejzovic and Hofmann) as I took my usual loop around the top of the Great Lawn, with its famous panoramic view of the wall of midtown skyscrapers rising from the tree-lined perimeter of the park. I was just approaching the lawn when a distraught-looking man tried to get my attention as he pointed southward to the sky. I figured he was just another looney, so I ignored him.

But a few steps later, I glanced out toward the city and noticed a small, black cloud over the tops of the towers, which like an inkblot began to spread ominously over the skyline.

At that time of day, the park is filled with unleashed dogs and their owners. At the top of the oval path, a few of us gathered to speculate: obviously a building was on fire somewhere. “Hope everyone’s all right,” someone said.

Then a park worker drove up in his big green pickup. “Do you know what’s going on?” we asked him. “They say a plane flew into the World Trade Center,” he replied.

We looked at the crystalline sky. What? How, on a day like today, could someone possibly fly into a building? I don’t think any of us were thinking airliner. And we were certainly thinking accident. The guy turned up the volume on the truck’s radio.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen…we’re…we’re getting an unconfirmed report that a second plane has struck the second tower,” the incredulous voice on the radio said.

Among the small group that had gathered to watch, there were various responses of “Nah, no way,” “Someone’s confused,” “Couldn’t be,” “Just a rumor,” and things to that effect.

Then the voice spoke again: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm it now, a second airliner has struck the second tower. Both World Trade Center towers are on fire.

Silence.

You know that phrase, “weak in the knees”? In that awful moment, it became clear, without anyone having to say it, that the city was under attack. People were dead. A lot of people were dead. As I turned again to see the expanding plume of smoke speeding toward Brooklyn, my stomach clutched and my head reeled as I steadied myself on the fence surrounding the lawn.

Our small group dispersed quickly and silently.

As I headed toward my job on 75th Street, I passed a playground on the south side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; toddlers were running and swinging and chasing each other and squealing with joy, while Caribbean nannies and stay-at-home moms sat peacefully on benches in the shade. I envied them their collective innocence, short-lived as it was about to be.

By the time I reached the job, the Pentagon had been struck, as well, and the media were warning of hundreds of airliners still in the sky. As the company was housed in a national historic landmark, we soon received a phonecall from the police ordering us to evacuate.

The subways were closed and the buses were mobbed, so there was nothing for it but to begin the seven-and-a-half mile walk home, and I headed across Central Park once again. The noxious plume from the catastrophe, like the darkness that wends its way out of Mordor before the final siege of Minas Tirith, hung like a banner of death over the city: the funeral pyre of nearly 3,000 innocents.

No one was walking their dog in the park now. No children were playing.

At the corner of 86th and Central Park West, an elderly man was standing in front of the building, tears running down his face. “It fell down,” he said to me, his voice quaking and cracking with anguish.

“What?” I asked, unsure of what I’d heard.

“The tower…it fell down.” My mind could not wrap itself around the imagined vision of a 110-story skyscraper, a global icon, falling down. I simply could not picture it; could not accept it as belonging to the realm of the possible.

When I reached Broadway, the owners of a bodega had set a television set on folding chair on the sidewalk so passersby could see the news. I had missed the collapse of the second tower by seconds; all that was visible was that awful, boiling grey cloud of debris where there ought to have been gleaming silver buildings.

The city had been sealed off; the bridges and tunnels were closed, and there was nothing for anyone to do but go home (if you could). There was hardly any traffic at all on Broadway, save the occasional loaded cab or jam-packed bus. Now and then there would be an ambulance, sirens wailing.

What was remarkable was the silence. No one spoke. There was no music playing anywhere. Only sirens.

Two and a half hours later I reached my apartment. I called my parents to let them know I was okay, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in stunned, silent grief, nauseous and scared, as I wondered what was next, and tried to come to terms with the discovery that there were people in the world who wanted to kill me.

I would spend nearly six years wondering what was next. From that moment on, I never once set foot on a bus or a subway or a plane or stepped inside a theater or any other public place and didn’t worry about a bomb or other atrocity. Though I had been, thankfully, far from the World Trade Center at the time and never in any danger, I began to have nightmares and panic attacks. On the subway, my chest would constrict, my heart would begin to ache and I’d have to get off at the next stop and walk around above ground until the nausea went away. I was often late for work.

Some days I called in sick, because I just couldn’t get on the train.

Once I fled a performance at the Metropolitan Opera, mid-aria. The sweat began pouring down my brow and the familiar, tight-chested “I think I want to puke” sensation overtook me, and I headed for the exit.

I think it’s no coincidence that I lost my voice in 2002.

I don’t speak often of these things. It hurts to remember; it hurts to remember a day when strangers came among us, into the heart of my beautiful, beloved city, to hurt us. To kill people, to incinerate them in a blinding red-orange flash, or to strand them with the options of leaping to their deaths or waiting for 100 ceilings to come crashing down on top of them. It hurts to remember how this tragedy was appropriated to justify a war of utter insanity. It hurts to remember the previously unknown anxiety that began to haunt me daily, manifested in a physical disorder which, slowly, night by night as I suffered through recurring nightmares of being blown apart on the subway, dismantled my dreams and a decade of hard work, literally eating away my career aspirations in baths of stomach acid.

Now, 3000 miles and six years later, I realize that in many ways, I’m still fleeing the attack.

Eternal Rest Grant them, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them…
Thank you Andy


Longing for the Divine

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I’ve changed the header again. I can’t seem to stay on one photograph. I was running through some images and I came back to this one, because I guess, I am missing that component of my life as it was lived so long ago.

I’m tired and all I really want to do right now is curl up in a pew, in the chapel, before God and his angels. The photo you see above is of the rear wall mural located inside the chapel of the Seminary of St. John Vianney in Miami. I approach the chapel from the residence hall close by. The glass doors open for me and I take that first step upon the flagstones that are paved throughout the chapel. To my right and my left are tall glass doors that shudder with the breeze blowing against them.

The lights are low, save for the sacrament candle hanging to the right of the mural. As I walk down the center aisle of the chapel, my footsteps echo off the walls and reverberate through the vast empty space. I approach the altar and genuflect to the altar and greet my God in his holy place. It is said that you can take a boy out of the church, but you can never take the church out of the boy.

As defiant I am against institution and my railings against all that is ‘christian’ It in these moments that I long to be before the almighty alone before the tabernacle of God. Listening to the Litany of the Saints as chanted by the monks, I reflect on all that is holy within me. I know His voic, He has more than once spoke my name. And funny, that I was able to hear it amid the din in my head. There was a time when I could fresh recall it at will, but now I have to look for it today.

I have visited some of the most important “Churches” in Christendom and though they are grand in scale, and pronounced for their place in the living of Catholicism, it is the sacred chapel where I consecrated myself to God that I return to in my minds eye.

We are all called, to a life of holiness, whether we choose to follow that call is up to us, save for the judgment of men who would either deem us able or disabled to follow. Which I think is my biggest resentment with “Church.” Walking on the path of God is a lonely path, because no one can walk the journey for you, you must walk it alone. Because when you hear the voice you have to choose, to walk towards or run from. I don’t think I have completely run away from it.

You can’t run from God, because He is always there. You can choose to walk off the path and do what you need to do, but eventually, you find that the path looks really good from where ever you are standing and when you take that first step back onto the path, there God is waiting for you to resume your journey. “I was waiting for you, you know, I can hear Him say to me!” “Why did you go away from me?” “You can deny me and ignore me, but you must admit that my voice draws you near to me, you long to hear me call your name.”

The chant continues…

Tantum Ergo III

I must admit that the silence is beautiful, the chant fills the space with such heavenly sacred sound. All voices praising God and his heaven. The Preacher man is apt to tell us about his chapel in the Rockies where he like to nap before God and his tabernacle in Crede. There are times in the life when I muse on the thought of just walking away from all of this and finding myself in an abbey somewhere out in the hills, just me, the monks and God. It’s not like I wouldn’t have far to travel, there are plenty of Holy Places in this city of light where God’s footprint can be seen on any given street anywhere in Montreal, because “here is where it all started.”

From my front door within a few minutes walk, you can find yourself transported to a place that is otherworldly, Godly in fact. So many churches – and not a moment to spare out of my busy day to find one open where I can be alone with my God. I guess that’s my fault, that because of my stubbornness and principles, I won’t walk into a church because of politics, and I know that God is not about politics. It is at the last of the night as I sit here in the quiet before the silence and I take a few moments to contemplate the Holiness of God and His majesty.

Have you ever felt the sublime majesty of God in his holy place? Have you ever felt what it feels like to raise your voice to God and sing his praises? Do you know what it feels like to have God wrap his arms around you and hold you to his breast as you weep for the grandeur of it all? God is perfect, He is mighty, He is sublime. There is nothing that I write here, right now that I do not know. Just that I don’t take enough time during my day to remember and reflect. I guess this post shows you that I can go from the Profane to the Sacred in a matter of hours. Sometime you just gotta say “#$&%!!!”

I never said I was perfect, I said that God was perfect. I never said that I was God either. Well, it is getting late and I am exhausted and I have things to do tomorrow, it’s my day off and my home group. Maybe I will find myself a quiet corner of a chapel tomorrow before I have to chair the meeting.

Stay tuned. I may visit God with you again soon.

Isn’t this an interesting journey? I leave you with Great Expectations…

The morning finds me here at heaven’s door
A place I’ve been so many times before
Familiar thoughts and phrases start to flow
And carry me to places that I know so well
But dare I go where I don’t understand
And do I dare remember where I am
I stand before the great eternal throne
The one that God Himself is seated on
And I, I’ve been invited as a son
Oh I, I’ve been invited to come and…

Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond my wildest imagination
Lord, I come with great expectations

So wake the hope that slumbers in my soul
Stir the fire inside and make it glow
I’m trusting in a love that has no end
The Savior of this world has called me friend
And I, I’ve been invited with the Son
Oh I, I’ve been invited to come and…

We’ve been invited with the Son
And we’ve been invited to come and…

Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond our wildest imagination
Lord, we come with great expectations


Labels … Let us Reflect on them …

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Krystalnacht – The Night of the Broken Glass…
The Beginning of The Holocaust

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Work Makes You Free …

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A Survivor from Buchenwald

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Yad Vashem – Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial

 

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Auschwitz – Concentration Camp

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Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon – Synonymous for AIDS

Pride Flag

The Pride Flag – Proud Symbol for all things Gay

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The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt – For all those who died from AIDS
My friends,My family, My brothers and sisters…

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The JEW – The Star of David used during the Holocaust …
**********************************

You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

 

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The Homosexual – Also Used during the Holocaust …

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A Young Man – Hungarian Jewish Boy –
From Fateless, the Motion Picture

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The Label Chart Used By the Nazi Party within
the Death Camps and Concentration Camps to
Identify people…
Location, Ethnicity, Area, Orientation, Religious Affiliation

 

There weren’t only Jews in the Camps…

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The ACT UP slogan for Gay and AIDS circa 1980

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What Would Jesus Do???

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This is my Label – I earned every hour of it, with Pride…

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We Should Be Proud, but we should remember what labels have done to millions world wide over the Decades. I think it is time to move past them, to stop labeling and Outing people. I think we need to learn to live together PEACEFULLY in order to stop the killing of ALL people around the world…

THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER – SO THAT WE NEVER FORGET!!


Luciano Pavarotti – R.I.P

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Prolific Tenor Pavarotti Dies

09/05/2007 4:53 PM, E! Online
Joal Ryan

Opera was not the 20th century’s surest route to superstardom. But it was if you sang like Luciano Pavarotti.

Pavarotti, the literally and figuratively larger-than-life tenor whose recordings sold more than 100 million albums, and whose voice boomed everywhere from the Metropolitan Opera to Johnny Carson‘s Tonight Show, died in Italy Wednesday after a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

Dubbed the King of High C’s, for the showiest chandelier-shaking note in his repertoire, Pavarotti was hospitalized last month. Earlier Wednesday it was reported that his condition had taken a turn for the worse.

The singer underwent cancer surgery last year. It was the latest in a series of health setbacks that plagued the enduring performer in recent years.

Even during his most recent hospitalization, Pavarotti’s wife insisted the singer would sing again. It was a message that Pavarotti himself likely approved.

“I think the important thing is to sing very well until you sing, and have the fresh voice like my father did,” Pavarotti told the BBC in 2005. “My father was a great tenor. Beautiful voice. And he was fresh until two weeks before he died at the age of 90.”

Pavarotti’s father, Fernando, was a member of the local choir in Modena, Italy, where the future opera star was born on Oct. 12, 1935. Pavarotti would follow in his father’s footsteps–and then forge a whole new path.

The turning point for Pavarotti came when he was 25–and had a day job.

“Let’s say, [in] the beginning, I am an elementary school teacher,” Pavarotti told the BBC. “And on 21 April 1961, I became a tenor.”

That’s when Pavarotti, fresh from winning a key competition, made his professional debut on the Italian stage in a production of La Boheme.

From there, Pavarotti embarked on a career that made him the world’s most famous opera singer, able to command the attention of 500,000 in New York’s Central Park, as he did in 1993, or recruit stars such as James Brown, Sting and Bono for his annual “Pavarotti & Friends” benefit concert.

“He knows the public loves him for himself, not only for his voice. If he lost his voice tomorrow, they would still love him,” the late Terry McEwen, a record executive and opera director, said of Pavarotti to Time in 1979. “He could go on performing, he could be a different kind of star.”

A different kind of star is exactly what Pavarotti was. He was overweight, lived in a tux and sang in tongues foreign to most casual Saturday Night Live viewers, and, yet, his fame transcended the opera house, making him right at home before, yes, most casual SNL viewers. (He dueted with Vanessa Williams in a 1998 episode of the sketch-comedy show.)

Pavarotti won five Grammys, earned a night at the Kennedy Center Honors alongside the likes of Jack Nicholson, Julie Andrews and Quincy Jones, starred in his own Hollywood movie, the 1982 romantic-comedy Yes, Giorgio, a flop, and fronted who knows how many local PBS pledge drives thanks to his popular concert videos with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, known jointly as “The Three Tenors.”

Eternal Rest Grant Him and May Perpetual Light Shine upon Him… 


In pictures: Germany’s biggest synagogue

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Germany’s biggest synagogue, on Rykestrasse in Berlin, has reopened after a lavish restoration.

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Rabbi Chaim Roswaski, who presided at the ceremony, described the reconstruction as “a miracle”.

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Friday’s inauguration saw rabbis bringing the Torah to the synagogue, in a ceremony witnessed by political leaders and Holocaust survivors from around the world.

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The synagogue was set ablaze on Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938.

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The synagogue, with a 1,200-person capacity, has been described as one of the jewels of Germany’s Jewish community.


In pictures: Germany's biggest synagogue

_44089732_interiorstar_afp220.jpg

Germany’s biggest synagogue, on Rykestrasse in Berlin, has reopened after a lavish restoration.

_44089736_rabbis_ap416.jpg

Rabbi Chaim Roswaski, who presided at the ceremony, described the reconstruction as “a miracle”.

_44089737_torah_carry_afp416.jpg

Friday’s inauguration saw rabbis bringing the Torah to the synagogue, in a ceremony witnessed by political leaders and Holocaust survivors from around the world.

_44089858_interior_crowd_ap416.jpg

The synagogue was set ablaze on Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938.

_44089731_inauguration_afp416.jpg

The synagogue, with a 1,200-person capacity, has been described as one of the jewels of Germany’s Jewish community.


Diana …

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“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”


(Ephesians 3:14-21).

 

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

I remember that night. It was a Sunday (August 31st 1997). I mean, it was late Saturday night going into Sunday morning, if memory serves. I was home, sitting in front of the television watching the late news when the report came across. I was stunned to say the least. For me, during those years, Diana was my champion, someone who knew me, who understood me, someone who would speak kindly of me, and those like me.

 

I got dressed and walked up to “Cheers” which was a bar around the corner from home that I used to party at over the years. I got into the DJ booth and we turned the SAT tv on to World News, the music stopped, drinks were dropped and everyone in the bar stood there watching the news as it came across live from World News Outlets like CNN and the BBC. The night never recovered.

 

My friend Annie, an ex-pat from the UK lived two doors down from me and we sat up all night watching the news. I had an outdoor area in front of my apartment where I set up a shrine to Diana – and everyone in my building stopped by the leave flowers and a candle.

 

 

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love:
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.

Thaxted
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) – Cecil Spring-Rice (1859-1918)

 

We rose early on the morning of the funeral for Diana Princess of Wales. We wept and we sang sitting there in my apartment that morning. Diana, the People’s Princess will never be forgotten.

 


Prince Harry leads Diana tributes

Prince Harry

Prince Harry called Diana “our guardian, friend and protector”


Harry’s tribute

BBC News Online

Prince Harry has told a service to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, that she was “the best mother in the world”.

Family and friends joined Princes William and Harry for the service at Guards’ Chapel near Buckingham Palace.

Harry told the congregation, which included the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles: “She made us and so many other people happy.”

The Bishop of London said it was now time to “let Diana rest in peace”.

The Right Reverend Dr Richard Chartres, said the princess’s memory should no longer be used to score points, and urged: “Let it end here.”

‘Love and gratitude’

Harry, who was 12 when his mother was killed, said her death was “indescribably shocking and sad”, and changed his life and that of his brother forever.

He added: “When she was alive we completely took for granted her unrivalled love of life, laughter, fun and folly.

“We both think of her every day. We speak about her and laugh together at all the memories.”

Prince William, who was 15 when Diana died, gave a reading from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians which asked for inner strength.

The Queen

The Royal Family were cheered as they arrived at the chapel

In full: Harry’s tribute

In full: Bishop’s address

Send us your comments

Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, also gave a reading.

The service included Diana’s favourite classical music by composers Rachmaninov and Mozart and four hymns, concluding with Diana’s favourite, I Vow To Thee, My Country.

The service also included two prayers written by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessors Tony Blair and John Major were accompanied by their wives to the service.

The Duchess of Cornwall was invited to the hour-long memorial but decided not to attend, saying her presence would be a distraction.

Former members of the princess’s staff, all of the bridesmaids and page boys from her 1981 wedding, and over 110 representatives of charities and organisations with which she was associated were also on the guest list.

ORDER OF SERVICES

1100 – two-minute silence at Harrods

1200 – main memorial service at Guards’ Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London; service at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting, Aberdeen

1630 – memorial at Manchester cathedral

1715 – choral evensong at Bristol cathedral

1800 – prayers at Llandaff cathedral, Cardiff

The Order of Service in full [35.0 KB]

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Earlier, Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi died in the crash alongside the princess, laid flowers at a shrine he has built at the London store and held a two-minute silence.

Other memorial services for the princess are being held at venues across the UK, including Manchester, Bristol, Aberdeen and Cardiff.

Hundreds of people attended the Manchester service, which began at 1630 BST. It included readings, a blessing, and music played at the princess’s funeral.

Admirers of the late princess have tied flowers and cards to the gates of Kensington Palace – her former London residence – as they did in 1997 after her death.

Members of the public have also left bouquets and gifts at Althorp, where Diana is buried, at the gate of Sandringham estate in Norfolk where she was born.

It was the first time Althorp had been opened on an anniversary of her death.

Althorp is the home of Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer.

He invited charity workers, members of organisations supported by Diana and limited numbers of members of the public into the estate.

Princess Diana

When she was alive we completely took for granted her unrivalled love of life, laughter, fun and folly

Prince Harry

In pictures: Diana memorial

Palace vigil for supporters

Harrods silent for tribute

Earl Spencer said: “This year, though, I wanted to invite, as my family’s guests, representatives of those charities and groups particularly associated with Diana.

“It seems a fitting way to remember her invaluable association with so many fine organisations.”

Several visitors had applied for tickets offered in a local newspaper.

Betty Clarke, 80, of Northampton, said: “She’s an icon and will never be forgotten. I was really glad to come and pay my respects.”

A service will be held at the nearby St Mary’s Church, in Great Brington, on Friday night to give members of the local community and staff at the Althorp estate a chance to reflect on Diana’s life.

Tributes to the late princess have also been left near the Eternal Flame monument by the tunnel in Paris where she was killed.

Princess Diana died, aged 36, along with her companion Dodi Al Fayed, 42, and chauffeur Henri Paul, when the Mercedes they were in crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel on 31 August 1997.

The princess’s death provoked an unprecedented outpouring of national grief, with hundreds of thousands gathering to mourn outside Kensington Palace, where they left a sea of floral tributes.


Change…

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It seems that God has something in mind for me, I am not sure what that is, but Summer is over and life now changes with the seasons. The Fall is upon us and this is my season to prepare for the great silence. Over the next few months school will become the norm again, and as the leaves turn and fall – you will witness God in ways you might have never imagined.

Once again, I have been put between a rock and a hard place by another group of people who left me with secrets and riddles about my ability to lead. It seems that my credentials and abilities are in question, and once again, I am not going to deal with the bullshit games.

You either like me or you don’t – You either align with me or you don’t – it is very simple. Ministry is not about ego, secrets or personalities. I’ve never been an egomaniac, in fact I think I am pretty sober for the most part. But I will not be undermined after working all Summer to build a community. Now that community is, as far as I am concerned, without a leader. Because I am not going to deal with the drama.

Life is too short for drama and politics

They say when people have problems with you that it is their perception of you that is the problem and also that what people think of me is none of my business. I do not like change, but after much time spent in prayer and meditation, and proper consideration, I am rightfully ok with the way I feel. And isn’t life all about “Perceptions?”

I am now free to concentrate on my studies, and to offer my services to those who used to count me among the chosen few spiritual advisers. I remember that I am not perfect and surely I am not God.


Crazy – Servant of the Bones…

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Cue the music – start the fog machine – blue light GOBO slow pans across the floor through dimly lit space, and the first beat comes…

I am alone, it is early, the bar is not yet open, but I am there alone. Just me, the music and the spirit of God. Well, what little spirit of God there was at that time of my life. It is mid-summer in Ft. Lauderdale. I have just told Todd that I was going to die…

He wept.

Over the next few weeks, the teaching would begin. The team rose to the call, one of the boys was sick and was left on the side of the road with nothing but what little dignity was left in his soul. All I needed would be provided come hell or high water. Wild Horses would never stop the charge for life. We were all sick, we were all dying. Save for two people in the entire organization. My champions would save me, if I wanted it or not. Death was not an option and I would either get it or I would die…

So it began…

At that time, the temple of sin was alive and things happened so quickly that if you blinked you would miss it. The temple was filled with every earthly delight, Bosch would have been pleased with our Garden of Earthly desires, carnal, profane and truly sinful. I loved every minute of it.

The rule was set…

You have a life, outside the temple. When you come to work, you leave your baggage at the door, do not bring it in here. No exceptions. Come to work, and you will serve me your Master and do whatever you are told without question without complaint, is that clear!

Yes Sir…

I took that time of my life as sacred and profane, but that is another story. You can read about the Sacred and the Profane over there in Pages… This is another thread to a long running story of how this boy was made a man, a saved man, a profane man, and in the same vein Sacred. You never know where your lessons are going to come from, and you are grateful for the wisdom and time people took out of their lives to care for you and teach you lessons that nobody else was going to teach you. So pay attention Little One.

This is your life we are talking about…

The gobos are tracking across the floor slowly through smoke and mirrors as the music plays just for you. I learned very early on, in that space that music would identify particular moods, paint particular pictures. Farkle and I had a ritual. He IS the only one left from the fray of men who lived and died from the temple of sin. We began each shift in our own way, begging god another night, another day, another minute. I was surrounded with warriors fighting their own significant battles with AIDS. I was not hit by the KS demon. I was not plagued by things I saw and witnessed, thank the creator. It was ugly. It was brutal and it was most importantly the fight of the century for all of us. Many men went to their deaths in our arms. We bathed them, clothed them and in the end we buried them.

Angry Larry…

When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.

People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.

For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.

I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.

Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Master Todd. When the word was spoken, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men. Especially me…

We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.

Let’s get it on…

Shift was begun at eight. The wells were filled the beer was stocked and the ice bins were full. Put your money in the drawer and let’s get the music thumping. Like clockwork at the strike of eight bells the first note hit the turntables. They were lined up around the building. Cars were parked all over the place. The temple worship had begun. Heaven was found amid the souls of suffering men who knew they were all marked for death, but for tonight, whatever you desired was fulfilled. You could drown away your sorrow and dip into the well of living water if you wished as well. You have never lived until you party like your dying with crowds of undulating flesh as far as they eye can see. The ghosts of those men now inhabit the fantasies and dreams I have still to this day.

One by one, two by two, they died in our arms. We held them until they took their last breaths. Memorialized in the careful and blood soaked threads of quilts, as the years went by, they started collecting by the dozen, then by the hundreds. If you’ve ever seen the entire quilt unfurled, all the men who were part of my life in those first years of my epidemic life, they are all together in death, as they were in life. Memorialized until the end of time. And we remember each of their names.

So many young boys torn from life before they knew what hit them. Men who infected them had died as well. Many of my friends were taken on trips that were detrimental to them, and just robbed them of life that was still left to live.

Todd saw to it that I would never go there…

You come to work, dress as you will, you obey me and do not waver from my eye, for I know your carnal desires and you are too young to tempt the devil with his dance. Because I surely did not know what could befall me if the right charmer enticed me into his web of desire, and they all knew I was fair bait. But in order to dine from my buffet, you needed explicit permission of my Master, who never allowed any man to defile me like many had been. I was off limits. I never crossed the line provided because that meant disrespect and I could never bear to break my Master’s heart with disobedience.

I loved Him, and He loved me – I had many problems. I was depressed and angry and resentful. I had the scars of traumatic visions of my dead lovers corpse in my head, and the words of his mother still ring in my ear today “I hope that every night until you die, that you see the corpse of my dead son in your field of vision.” That curse still lives with me and will go with me to the grave. Five day old corpses are not pretty. I had to identify the remains when all was said and done. Save that he was wearing jewelry that I could identify and part of him was still recognizable – God forgive me…

I remember that day, it was early afternoon the morgue called me from work to come and do the deed. I drove in and looked upon him in that room, I wept tears that burned into my soul forever. I just could not imagine – the pain was so hard to bear. I drove over to the bar. Bill was working behind the bar. I drank until I could not stand up on my own. I drank for a week, straight…

Todd and Bill needed to find me a solution and quick, because I was on the outs.

I started suicide therapy in a group setting that lasted 32 weeks. Nothing like rehashing death week after week, until the pain was purged from your soul, but is it ever? Months went by until I got my news.

But they cared for me in all my brokenness. A young angel would earn his wings back. Come hell or high water. In the end, when all was said and done, at the end of the day I survived, but so many did not. And each night I offer them prayers in hope that when I meet my death that all of them will be waiting for me in the Temple Of Earthly Desire in the promised land of the Kingdom of God, where the sacred and profane are mingled with the blood of the Almighty and the blood of my friends who have gone before me, on that day we will be cleansed of our sins.

And forgiven by God…

Amen

Goodnight angels of men


Finding the Perfect Church…

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I have asked this question of some of the ministers that write for our sphere. For many years I have searched for the “Perfect Church.” Growing up in a predominantly white, middle class neighborhood gave rise to attending church with my friends. And that served me very well for most of my young adult life.

Labels had not been applied to us in this period of our lives so we were free to worship wherever we chose to. And in most cases our parents followed along, because the church was not only a religious landmark, but also housed Youth Ministry that everyone was part of for several years through high school and junior college and even for myself, Seminary.

After leaving seminary with a bad taste in my mouth for Catholicism, and Church, I walked away from God and his church. I thought that I had been slighted by clergy and I was pushed against the “choose us or get out” wall. It took me many years dealing with the truth to walk back into church.

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This was always my childhood home, the Church I called home. It was the place that God and I communed. And after my leaving seminary – this was the church that I returned to many years later, as a weary, AIDS suffering sinner. I was sick, and I had been away, and I met a man who changed my life when I saw him say mass in this space with his crutches and MS. I vowed never again to complain about things in my life. And I have kept that word so many years later.

Being Gay, had its issues with Church. But not to the men who led this church forward. I was a part of this church and this is where I would find prayer, support and salvation.

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As I grew into my 30’s I hit several questions in my life about faith, recovery and living with AIDS. I’d like to say that I found all my answers in “church” but that would be false. I was living in an area of town that did not afford me the ability to get to church any more. So I was not attending “church” where I had been for so many years. It was just logistically impossible to get there in time for mass.

During my second recovery, I was seeing a therapist and I had friends who were talking care of me at the time. I was having my visions and spiritual experiences outside the church I may have left the church “physically” but not emotionally and spiritually.

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

Faith is like a garden. Each one of us inhabits the garden of our own making. We tend that garden daily. In the morning we walk through misty, dew covered flowers and plants, and as the day wares on the sun tracks across the sky as we sit in that garden. I believe that everyone is born into some kind of spiritual tradition, more than most may speak of but nonetheless, someone puts the seed of faith within us at some point.

If you were like me, you were baptized, first communion ed and confirmed in the Catholic faith. Some were baptized in the baptist faith and others were raised in the faith of their parents or extended families. But we all carry that seed within us.

For many, being Gay and Christian or Being Gay and Catholic was something we battled with because of the politics of the church. Now in my 40’s I can tell you that I will not walk into, better yet worship in a space that does not welcome me fully into communion. I used to compromise my ethics and my politics because I was attached to the Catholic faith by an unbreakable umbilical cord that still exists today.

When I got sick, the priests told me to come to church and I did because they were 21st century men in an archaic world of Catholicism. That lasted as long as it had to to keep my in line with my faith and connected TO my faith. God was in the church, praying with others took place in the church. Mass took place within the church. And I was ok with that way of life.

When I got sober in 2001 I was filled with questions. My faith was strong because I KNEW who God Was and who god Is still. I did not need the physical building to give me what I had created and cultivated internally over many many years of spiritual exploration. You see, faith is not something you feed once a week in a worship service. Faith is not something you partake on any given Sunday.

I was sober a four months when I came to visit Montreal in the Spring of 2002. It was Ash Wednesday when I arrived. I celebrated Easter here and I loved it. This is such a rich religious city. Later I would meet a Jesuit priest who would give me the same puzzle piece he gave all the other boys I later met on the path later on.

This is where it all starts…

I had a reason to come here and I knew after two weeks of being here, that I needed to stay here. I went back to Florida, packed all that I could and I left, never to return. Lies my mother told facilitated my move out of the United States.

I started my journey of faith in the Church Basilica of Notre Dame. It took me weeks to start putting the faith puzzle together. and now six years later, I can tell you that there are still pieces of the puzzle missing.

I had to get used to living in Montreal, Pre-Iraq War. I had to find my place in the greater scheme of things. And that took a long time. I had my citizenship on February 17th 2003, and I was sober 14 months. I decided that I would go back to school. My chosen major in the beginning was Psychology, that quickly changed to Religion.

These were the years that demonstrations were taking place in the streets and Americans were being warned to sew Canadian flags on our backpacks, so as not to acquire the ire of Canadians in Montreal, because protests against the war were daily occurrences. I did that and I participated in those demonstrations. But eventually I would hit several crises points in my life, ONE would be “where do I fit in?” I had to find my place in the community and that took two years upon beginning University. I remember sitting in Donald’s office asking the all important question: “I don’t know where I fit in and I have one foot in the South and one foot in the North – I don’t know where I should be?”

He was always apt to tell me these key words:

“If you find yourself in between and you can’t decide where to go or move, then sit where you are and survey all that you see before you. FEEL your feelings and get in touch with your dis-ease with where you are. Consult your map and ask your questions of the people on the path, then when you are ready, plot your next step, but not before you are sure of your footing.”

I met a man of faith in the Chaplaincy office. I was a man of faith and I was sure in my faith as any other man or woman was. The one difference? I was a sure gay man living with AIDS. I made no excuses and expected no special treatment, just love and acceptance, which I found in Fr. Ray Lafontaine. Still to this day, as a fellow Christian and Catholic priest in my life, he challenges me in my faith to find the answers for myself.
I attended his church at Loyola on Sunday evenings. And that worked for me because there were others like me in the church and we were all accepted.

****

That haze of Summer lasted for two years. In that time I started working on my religious beliefs. And I maintained my sobriety by attending meetings in the basements of many of Montreal’s most beautiful churches. When Father Ray was moved to St. Monica’s church and new priestly blood was flushed into the chapel, I met my faith match…

Having been singled out over my marriage to my husband and the vile words shared with me by the existing chaplain of the University, I walked away from Church once and for all. Although when Fr. Ray and Fr. Paul said mass, I would always attend.

Having studied religion for so many years of my life, and having lived with AIDS for so many years, I knew several things. 1. I knew who God was. 2. I knew who God is not. and 3. I knew who I trusted to support me in my faith journey.

I have been separated from Church for a long time now. It took the invitation of friends to attend a mass said by the Very Reverend Gene Robinson in the Summer of 2006 at Christ Church Cathedral to seriously contemplate a return to Church. In 2003 I was married in the very Catholic Space at Loyal, much to the consternation of Georges Pelletier. We did it just to make a statement of faith, because the entire Loyola community was there to stand with us and profess our faith and love before our families, friends and God himself.

The only time I ever walked into a church, during my time in the field, was with my Great Aunt Georgette, may she rest in peace… I would pray in the mother house chapel with her and I would attend mass there as well. The last time I attended mass in the Mother House Chapel was the day we buried her in August of 2006.

I would never walk into another Catholic Church after her funeral. Although I still maintain a working relationship with men of Catholic faith, I don’t go to mass in the Catholic Church. The other day that marked a change in my Catholic belief system was the day that the Late Pontiff John Paul II died, and I attended mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

You see, while I was studying Religion in university, I was studying my past, making peace with it and learning why things happened the way they did for me, and I was afforded this historical review because of the professors that I studied with for the last four years. I polished my religious skills and I mastered my Christian faith.

I was getting sober in church basements and I was ministering to people in the field. I never walked away from God again. I knew better, and he would always wait for me to find Him. Some of you know about the last five years. Some of you sought me out from the field for spiritual guidance. And I was there for you without question.

I always knew where God resided within me. I knew where to find God, outside myself. I can walk into any church in the city and talk to God. And I can talk to God at any given moment of my day or night, because I have built a temple of God within me.

We are all temples of the spirit of God. Most of us do not know this truth. So I share it with you now. We are all created in the image of God, and therefore we carry the image of God within us. We are walking talking miracles of God’s love and grace. My garden of faith is Eden within me. And I share that garden with anyone who wants to come and walk amongst the flowers. I do not need a building or the perfect church to settle my restless heart.

I’ve spent the last five years searching for God in the sacred churches of Montreal. He was always there where ever I looked for Him. As for the perfect church? You will never find it, because of the true nature of men and women. Humans are imperfect sinners who need to be taught what is right from wrong. And those who come to church already have their preconceived notions of who their God is, and what they will be willing to accept, in the way of Christian teachings, dogma and practice.

So take a church full of imperfect humans and ask them to build for you the perfect church! With all the heads buzzing in the church, each with their notions of church and God, and what do you have? A room full of buzzing heads, who could not agree on what they would call church, and I am sure that their conception will not be what you had in mind either. The perfect church does not and will never exist…

Where did Jesus do his best work? In the field, over dinner in sinners houses. Working with the homeless and the poor and sick. How many times does Jesus step into a church in biblical writing? And what does he say about the ‘church?’ What would he say about all of the terrible incarnations of Church we have today – in the world?

I do believe that God and Jesus weep at the way Christianity is lived out in the millions of lives of people around the globe. We know the scripture, we know the reason yet we can’t see past the noses on our faces and we cannot take the plank out of our own eyes before we try to help another, so what does that say about active Christianity???

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I’ve been in the process of Spiritual direction for some time now, ever since coming to Montreal many years ago. I have sought the advice of many people over the years. And I work with others “in the field” every day…

Where is my “Church?” If I had to give you an address, that would be the Christ Church Cathedral because the bishop has said to the LGBT community that we are just as important to the church as any one else. That he supports us and wants us to participate in community and be active participants in our own faith. I am 40 now, and I have my morals, beliefs and values, and if I choose to leave the Catholic faith based on principle I can do that today, because of the certainty of WHO I am and What my faith means to me, because I am ‘out of communion’ with Benedict’s Church, and I can live with that today.

****

But I don’t need a building to worship God. I don’t need the perfect church to teach me God’s word. I don’t need the perfect minister to keep me on the path of Godly living. Why, you ask? Because I can do all these things on my own. I celebrate my Christianity every day through prayer, word and action. I live my faith – therefore it is in front of me every day for all to see. I practice my faith. I talk the talk and I walk the walk, daily…

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This is not a task I ask you to ponder on your own and it is not for the feint of heart either. But in order to build your inner church, you must start with a foundation, a garden. Mark out the space in your heart. Till the soil and plant your seeds. Give them plenty of water and sunlight and then pray over them…

We each have the capability to till our own gardens of faith within us. Because until you have a strong garden of faith within you, will you be able to find a church that will serve you, because without the understanding and cultivation of your own garden, do you remove the judgments within your heart of men and ministry.

If you are looking for the perfect minister of Christ, he will not appear, save Christ himself. We are flawed human beings, and therefore we must understand that and with that knowledge we can better serve the community at large, and if we able to serve the community at large, we can then see God for ourselves where ever we go, and in whatever church we visit.

The best work of the field is done in the most imperfect churches, because most people know that perfection is unattainable. Your Heavenly Father is perfect, so we have every ability to be as perfect as our heavenly father is perfect. But that will take a lifetime to achieve.

In order to find church outside of you, you must first build church within yourself. You must find your definition of God, you must let your faith garden grow. You must be strong in your faith because without strong inner faith, you will not have strong outer faith for community. Without using the gardening tools that God has given you, how can you practice your faith? You must find Sacred Space within yourself, and you must build sacred space for yourself, while you are in the field.

Because, what good would looking for the perfect Church do for you, if you do not have a handle on your own inner faith to begin with??? Build your inner church and invite God to inhabit your sacred space. Get to know this God of your own understanding. There are certain things a Christian must do every day…

 

  • Read Scripture every day
  • You must Pray every day
  • You must Meditate every day
  • You must Actively Practice your Faith every day

Because the simple act of prayer – asking God for those things that weigh heavily on our hearts, must be followed up with a period of silent “Listening” for God’s voice to speak to you. Because sometimes we get the answer… ‘keep praying, not today, NO!’ Cookie cutter Christianity is too easy. You must live your faith actively in community, that is one sure way to find Jesus in the field.

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Start with your garden
Plant it, Till it, and let it grow
Listen to your heart song
and share it with the world
Take off the blinders on your eyes
and see the world in its imperfect state
Find Christ in the field and walk with Him
talk the talk and walk the walk
practice your faith in ACTION
in time your heart will soften
and you will see God
and you will find that

‘Perfect Church’

is but
‘Perfect Union with Christ’

AND

One day
A church will find its way to you

Because you will be ready to serve…