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Scripture

Standing in the way of worship – the Guitars Journey.

Do you believe in Love

Lifted from: Jeremy – Don’t Eat Trash

I remember sitting outside in the middle of the bush in north west Sydney. I was surrounded by people I loved who stood in a ring around a raging campfire. I was at a youth weekend. The same youth weekend I had attended since I was a teenager. We were singing loudly into the night, to a God we loved.

We sang the words – “There is a God, he is alive, in him we live and we survive.” Words I could’ve sang in my sleep, written backwards, and a melody I knew four part harmonies too. But did I really understand what I was singing? Did I understand what it meant to have a God who was alive?

There is a couple of traditions in the church that adhere to the idea that guitars are the devils instrument and shouldn’t be used in the church. A tiny part of that sect of thought have come to the conclusion that, there is no proof in the new testament that the early church used instruments, in fact some verses refer to the strings of our heart, so we should just sing. With our voices.

I have also stood in a circle of lovely people, a tight knit group, who, with only a guitar as accompaniment, awkwardly stood around. Kind of singing, kind of into it. But not really. I spoke later to one of them who confessed, they couldn’t get into worship unless the music was loud.

Somehow, the guitar stood in the way of worship. Either because it was considered of the devil, or without it, we are in shock.

Amongst all of this tho, I have stood in groups, passionately loving the lord through song in the midst of a huge, well orchestrated band, and I have stood around awkwardly looking at my feet singing accapella. So what are we missing? If it has nothing to do with the music, then it must have something to do with the lyrics.

Have you ever sang words in a song that your heart passionately belts out but your logical brain is just like …. “what does shekinah mean? What does hosanna mean again?” But your whole heart is in it. You know deep down that what you are singing is good, but you don’t know why. Do we need to know the why? If worship is just between me and God, and the depths of my soul knows I’m praising, then words are irrelevant. In the same way that tongues is our heart praying prayers that our brain doesn’t understand, can our souls not sing also?

But when we worship as a group, is it different? Or is it merely solo worship in a room of people? If you took most of my corporate worship sessions and putt them in a graph, 99 per cent of them would’ve looked no different had I been in a large room or my own bedroom by myself. And I feel there is a disconnect there. We are the community of God, and as echos of the trinity shouldn’t we be connecting together like the trinity?

I heard a one liner this week that made me stop and think – If in worship your not listening and hearing God and your only thinking and singing about and too God, then it is no longer a relationship but you are stalking God.

Let me reword that – If you don’t let God speak in worship you stalk him. Have you ever stopped in the middle of worship and just listened? And some songs are written from Gods perspective, so I suppose that counts. But sometimes I feel like we need to give God more room to move.

I tried to experiment with this once. We were camping, in the middle of the bush and we circled up. I started playing my guitar and then I stopped. “Today I’m going to just play a soundtrack.

I have songs to play, but I don’t need to play them. If God puts a song in your heart, if God prompts you to speak out to the group, if God wants you to pray over someone – DO IT. Irrelevant of what I’m doing, I play this guitar more as a back track to improvise off” The next 40 minutes God broke a lot of freedom over our group.

Some things were prayed and sung out that would echo powerfully through out the next 7 weeks and beyond. We gave God the room and he used it. We saw this again two weeks ago at our national leaders meeting. And again even more recently in a worship time on base. We gave God room to move and he did.

I feel like the guitar stands in the way of God moving. If worship isn’t about the music, and its not about the words (necessarily – tbc) then its about US and GOD. And us and God can relate off the back of anything. In Uganda they don’t have guitars as much, but they do have drums and amazing voices. So we would worship for ages on beats alone. In India it was synth, in Ukraine it was a mixture of Korean, Russian, English and Danish – we related amongst different language. But when we put stipulations on worship we limit God.

– It has to have guitar
-it has to have no instruments
-it has to be thee and thous
-it can’t have slang words.
-It has to be the lyrics of the people
-it can’t be too loud or too quiet
-it has to have flute.

My relationship with my father is liberated from stipulations. I love him, we converse a lot. And he doesn’t need to be playing guitar.

When we worship God, we unite with our brothers and sisters through a common wording of a song. And God uses ALL to speak words over each other.

So some questions –

could you passionately worship God in a room full of people you love without any music?

Could you passionately worship God with 6 people and a ukelele?

Could you passionately worship and converse with God to hymns? To New songs with only 8 words in it? Dancing, kneeling, with no words?

Can you give God space?

Or is the guitar a security blanket? Because if it is, maybe we should set them all on fire.

A thought before I end…

I have now been working with young people for two years directly discipling and empowering. And the amount of time I hear this statement is saddening “I can’t be a worship leader because I can’t play guitar”
#oneofthedevilsbiggestlies.

Stop believing in limitations that aren’t from God.
God frees us to be what HE CREATED.

GET OUT OF HIS WAY!


Easter Sunday … He is Risen … and more

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Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

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

It was a bright and sunny day. What more could you ask for for Easter Sunday.

I did not attend services this year. But I did participate in an age old tradition.

The only thing that matters on tv on Easter Saturday is The Ten Commandments, from beginning to end. It is by far, one of the greatest works of art there is from ages past, that still runs on television in the 21st century.

Before I even was ready to go this afternoon, folks were calling and texting that they would not be making it tonight. So I cranked out set up and went outside to enjoy the day.

Surprise … We sat a full room. If you open – they will come. And they did.

We read another story from the Big Book, “Winner takes All.” The story of a woman born legally blind, her story of loss, alcoholism, family and the negative tape that plays in our minds, and how that tape took her to hell, before he entry into the rooms.

Now, she had a choice to either be happy or not. And in sobriety, she is happy, her life had changed and she became successful. And that came from the people who came into her life, the program that saved her, and the steps that shaped her.

Watching other people get sober over long periods of time is a blessing, and I know for a fact that God exists. And what better a day to speak of God, than on Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate the Risen Christ.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned…


Thursday – Eternal Values

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Courtesy: Summer Diary Project

The skies have been rumbling and grumbling over the past day or so. We get an odd rainfall and it passes. A thunderstorm passed through overnight, and it looked, earlier in the evening a little foreboding. It was a wise option to carry an umbrella just in case.

It didn’t rain on us tonight.

I did a little supermarket safari earlier in the day and the new grocery store is beginning to moderate their prices. The great opening sale is over. I also had to go by Provigo on the way out and they are matching some of the prices we saw over at the new store.

Needless to say, Adonis is taking traffic from the neighborhood staple stores.

We were out a bit early tonight and made a smooth transit from here to the Plateau. We hit a bus and two trains with little wait time on the way back.

The topic came from A.B.S.I. and Eternal Values:

Many people will have no truck at all with absolute spiritual values. Perfectionists, they say, are either full of conceit because they fancy they have reached some impossible goal, or else they are swamped in self-condemnation because they have not done so.

Yet I think that we should not hold this view. It is not the fault of great ideals they they are sometime misused and so become shallow excuses for guilt, rebellion, and pride. On the contrary, we cannot grow very much unless we constantly try to envision what the eternal spiritual values are.

“Day by day, we try to move a little towards God’s perfection. We we need not be consumed by maudlin guilt for failure to achieve His likeness and image by Thursday next. Progress is our aim, and His perfection is the beacon, light years away, that draws us on.”

The discussion went around and a few key words came up repeatedly.

One – that the book talks about spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Two – that who really knows what God’s perfection is, or what it looks like.

Three – that the universe is always changing, so with that posit, we are also always changing. It is up to us to figure out which way we are going to change, for the good or the bad.

Speaking of values. I could never, in my life, accept nor adopt the values that were taught in our home as I was growing up. They went against everything I believed. And I moved away from home, with some morality and set of values, however loose they were, I was too busy drinking and acting out to stop and think about them. But I had values. Who I hung around, who I dated and who I ultimately slept with.

That was then, this is now.

Ending up where I did at the end of my slip, in a big city I grew up in, I was in a hole, spiritually and emotionally. I was all alone, and you know, if I dropped off the face of the earth, then and there, nobody would have missed me or come looking for me. Because I was deemed pariah …

God, in his infinite wisdom began working in my life well before I began asking for help. It was an antecedent assistance.

I guess I recognized the almighty moving heaven and earth and I began to ask for certain things, that eventually came to fruition, just as I called them out and needed them.

I wanted change. Lies were told to me. And never lie to your children because eventually the truth will come out and it may not be a good end game.

I took a lie and I used it to my advantage. To finally get me out of a hole and into a life that was worthy of value and credence. When I came here, I had 36 years of living, knowledge and indoctrination.

The first two years were difficult as I experienced severe culture shock. Learning where my loyalties lay, and what values I would adopt coming to a new country and an entirely new life.

Which leads me to this proclamation to you folks South of the Border …

“Drop your beers and chips, get off the sofa and turn off the tv. Pack your bags, your children and whatever else you need and leave your homes and venture OUT into the world for ONE calendar year.”

Your life will change in ways you would never imagine. I guarantee you that.

Today my life has value. I have values. I hold certain beliefs and thoughts.

I don’t engage in maudlin guilt or depression. However it comes, that on the odd occasion I wax nostalgic and I remember all the men who went to their deaths so I could live. And yes, I have survivors guilt at times. Especially around anniversaries or specific death dates. But It comes and goes much quicker.

I am constantly learning about my feelings. I can count on one hand the times I have gotten really angry. And holding on to that anger comes and goes much quicker. H.A.L.T. is very useful. Letting Go, and Easy does it …

I will never see ultimate perfection, I am not Borg. The bible speaks of:

“Being perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.”

That is a daily job. Always striving to be better, not the best, because what is best?

I will close with scripture … Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

That is what we should do every day.

More to come, stay tuned …


Vigil …

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Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

 


Providence …

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The cross that sits atop Mount Royal during the “interregnum” or in between, is turned purple. And today we would see purple on vestments for Good Friday services.

This is the day that Christians mark the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross and the church is in mourning. Tony Campolo is oft to preach the message about it being “Friday … But Sunday is coming…”

Also to mention the words ” I Thirst …” one of the last seven statements Jesus makes from the cross before his death. The words in Hebrew I have tattooed on  my right bicep. This meditation which has been spoken about in the memoirs of Mother Teresa focuses on Jesus and his thirst for our love and devotion.

Tonight’s topic from the book As Bill Sees It spoke about ” Providence.”

There is a question on the first blank page of my Big Book :

ARE WE GOING EASY ON THE GOD STUFF ???

At some point in our lives, one way or another, we come face to face with coming to believe in a power greater than ourselves. Many of us grew up in some form of religion, one way or another. The odds are high that we have all been introduced to God sometime in our lives.

For the person coming in for the first time, God is a dirty word, a repellant, something to be avoided at any cost ! One way or another we process steps 1,2,and 3. We come, we come to, and we come to believe.

And even today there are folks who still struggle with the notion of God. But even if they cannot locate God – there is a passion to stay sober – to live – a power that moves them forwards, one day at a time.

The reading talks about never pushing our own agenda on those who have not come to the point of recognizing God for themselves, but we should be kind and observant, but never egotistical to believe that we have “all the answers” for anyone else in the room.

For every person in the room, there is a concept of “something.” From the simple “group of drunks, good orderly direction, get out doors even.” God is cultivated in each life to their abilities and their belief system.

Providence … To be provided for …

Coming off my slip, I prayed to God. Specific prayers of need and desire.

1. For the hangover to mark the end

2. For a member to come into my life

3. To get me to a meeting

One, Two, Three … all three prayers came to pass in succession. I took my last drink. An alcoholic came into my life and brought me to my next first meeting.

In Hindsight, I had completed One, Two and Three before I hit my first meeting. I knew where God was, and I believed. I just needed to ” come to.”

It is providence for me to say that everything I need in my life has come from the rooms, one way or another. I’ve never had to go outside the rooms for anything. I always tell people that if there is something on your mind or a need you have, take it to a meeting.

God does provide.

Lots of friends and fellows tonight, great fellowship and a ride home from the meeting. All in gratitude.

Tomorrow is the great Easter Vigil.

More to come, stay tuned …


The Reformation Project …

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Courtesy: Reformation Project.Org
Donations can be made at: http://www.igg.me/at/reformationproject

What Are We?

The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, Christian non-profit organization that seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read more below and visit our Statement of Faith to learn more about our beliefs.

We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States of America.

Our Plans and Our Vision

This fall, we will host our first leadership conference for 50 straight, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians who are committed to reform. From September 18th-21st at Asbury United Methodist Church in Kansas City, KS, we will put them through a Bible boot camp. There, we will equip them with the tools and training they need to go back to their communities and make lasting changes to beliefs and interpretations that marginalize LGBT people. Once they go back, we will continue to offer them personal, financial, and infrastructural support for months and years to come. We will ensure that even those with the biggest and most daunting of goals will have the means to accomplish them.

Crucially, the aspiring reformers that we train will not be seeking to change their churches by asking them to ignore or look past the Bible. The Bible is not anti-gay. It never addresses the issues of same-sex orientation or loving same-sex relationships, and the few verses that some cite to support homophobia have nothing to do with LGBT people. Careful, persistent arguments about those passages have the power to change every Christian church worldwide, no matter how conservative their theology. The mission of The Reformation Project is to train a new generation of Christians to streamline that process and accelerate the demise of homophobia in the church.

After we build our leadership training model with 50 reformers this year, we will start to expand aggressively. As soon as we raise the money to do so, we will open a headquarters here in Wichita, Kansas. We will host more conferences, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Here in America, we will partner with churches and pastors to develop vocal and visible allies in every church around the country. We will launch regional offices in places where LGBT people have the least support, and we will work to reform the churches there from within. Soon, gay kids in Jackson, Mississippi and Kingston, Jamaica won’t just have to hear on YouTube that it gets better—they will have the personal support of outspoken, influential Christian allies in their communities who can ensure that it does.

How You Can Help

In order to make our vision a reality, we need your support. This spring, we are running our initial fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, we need thousands of donors to pitch in to reach our goal of $100,000. This will fund our first leadership conference in Kansas City this fall, covering all of the basic expenses of those who attend, and it will allow us to start laying the groundwork for the future.

 

A Message From the Founder

A little less than a year ago, I gave a speech at a church in Kansas about the Bible and homosexuality and posted the video of it online. Two years earlier, I had left school at Harvard and set out on an improbable quest to confront homophobia in my conservative Wichita church and find acceptance there as a gay Christian….

Mission Statement

We are dedicated to training LGBT Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity through the teaching of the Bible.

Statement of Faith

The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, Christian organization. We are ecumenical in nature and mission, inclusive of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians alike.

We believe in:

  • The inspiration of the Bible, the Word of God.
  • The Triune God, eternally existent as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • The supremacy of God the Father, who created all things seen and unseen through Christ our Lord.
  • The deity of Jesus Christ, only begotten Son of the invisible God, firstborn over all creation, fully God and fully man, head of the church, author and finisher of our faith; His death for our sins; and His resurrection and eventual return.
  • The regenerative power of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Talks of Frocks …

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There is a reason I posted the prior article from the Daily Beast, because it resonated with me so vividly.

Let me tell you a story…

I graduated High School in 1985. I spent a year at the local junior college, but all the while, I was actively working at my home parish, I was an altar server, and a member of the youth group and later a Eucharistic minister.

In 1986, I applied to the Diocese of Miami – Minor Seminary in Miami. I took all the tests and passed, I guess. My parents were neither here nor there. It was because of my grandmother(s) that my passion for God was so strong.

All I wanted was to serve the church, And I did that without question during that year. I loved God with all my heart and all my soul. And I wanted to do right by my upbringing. But men at the seminary did not think that I was suited for ministry, that is why I only lasted a year.

You could say that when I was dismissed, God fell out of favor. I did not come out until I turned 21 and was well away from my family. What I didn’t know at 19 I should have in hindsight.

I was all of 19 years old. I had eyes for the church, and I was accepted into the minor seminary in the Fall of 1986 – thru – Spring 1987. I was a boy trying to find his way in a community of men who, in most cases, were older than me, also, (and this is purely hindsight observation) most of my peers knew who they were, as in sexual orientation.

There was a dichotomy of states I observed. I kept my nose clean, I did not make waves, I did my studies, went to chapel, participated in community, but still, I was an odd ball.

In hindsight, there were many things that I felt passionate about. A certain priest, had a problem with the drink. He would drink and find himself in the lodging hall and some of us took it upon ourselves to get him back to the rectory and into bed without incident. This happened more than once, and more than twice.

He eventually got sent away to dry out. And it was upon this campaign that I seized upon. I lobbied for him to be returned to us. Because he was a priest in a certain position of authority when he was sent away.

The priest who was installed as his replacement, was a Big Frock Priest. He loved his vestments, and you would have thought he had aspirations to the Vatican, by the way he held himself, marched through the chapel and wielded his limp fist. I did not like him. Because he had an ego of authority.

There were gay priests in residence at the seminary. It so happened that certain priests were taken out of their own churches because of personal issues that seemed as punishments for their transgressions. And were sent to live with us.

Among my fellows, there were surely young men who were gay. I did see them OUT in community, when I was asked to leave the community. Some of my fellows did end up being ordained. I have since seen them on televised masses on tv, and over the past years I have posted reports about the exploits of some of the priests that were in residence during my year.

I can tell you that YES there are gay priests in churches. And It would not phase me one bit to know that there are gay priests ensconced in the Vatican. It does not shock me to read items such that I have posted here.

One of the priests, whom I know was gay at the time, when I was in seminary, studied at the Vatican during his formation years. So it is not a stretch that there are homosexuals in the highest echelons of Holy Mother Church.

I will defend some men. Because although they may be gay, many of the priests I have come to know in all my years, are good upstanding priests who serve their communities without fail. They don’t run around in the shadows and act out as we have read below.

Some I will not defend.I do draw a line in certain situations.

As a young man, at that time, I had not come to any realization about my sexual orientation. And I must ponder how I would have turned out, had I remained in seminary and eventually ordained like some of my fellows. I don’t know how that would have turned out.

There were gay men in my formation class. Some were upperclassmen, some from other countries. We had a good population of seminarians from other parts of the Latin world. And it was apparent that some of them were terribly gay.

It was a bit off putting. We had orientation weekends when new prospects would come to visit the school, and for some, would be followed by coming online with us. One particular boy who came after me, brought along his trunk with his assorted speedos and colorful underwear. Which he wasn’t shy about showing off to us as he unpacked.

He did not last very long. He came and went in less than a season.

The rector of the seminary … Big Frock Priest … was a character. I would name him, but I won’t because that would bring me too much grief. I imagine that in hindsight, as an older man myself, today, that he was a priest with a flair for the dramatic.

You know when you stand in church and a priest raises his right hand to offer a blessing to the people, there is the regular way a priest would hold out his hand to offer that blessing. Then there was Big Frock Priest, who, like I said, had aspirations of higher office, his pointed blessings with hand held high in mock of a bishop or the pope. I can see it in my minds eye.

We’ve talked about Gay priests … and If they are the problem?

We cannot discount the countless men of faith who have abused their positions in the church to abuse children. Actions that are morally and ethically deplorable. I cannot condone these men.

You come to serve the church, and you come to serve God first and foremost. With that in mind, if you desire to abuse children, then renounce your ministry and be on your way.

I have known a handful of men in ministry. Many of them straight. But since my coming to Canada, and being educated here, my affiliation with the Catholic and Anglican Churches has introduced me to a group of saintly Gay Clergy in both the Catholic and Anglican faiths.

One of them is one of my best friends, is to be ordained later on this year.

There are gays in Catholic ministry. That I can confirm. It is not a stretch to think that there are gay priests in the Vatican. This whole gay black male situation in Rome is perplexing. But it would not surprise me if these allegations are true. There are priests, then there are those men who over step their roles and bring shame upon themselves and to us by their actions.

It’s kind of repugnant.

But what do you do with all that pent up frustration of ministry work day in and day out. having to perform for the masses and the bishops, cardinals and the many who pass through the gates of Holy Mother Church?

The gay priests I knew, who were schooled in Rome, were certainly members of a particular community, and surely there were others there are well. This is not just a North American Phenomena. Gays come from most civilized countries.

Pope Benedict XVI was always known as the bulldog, for his strict stance on Church doctrine. The late Pope John II appointed him to his position for the Doctrine of the faith, because he was so learned and highly educated and well known for his smarts and clerical knowledge.

With this kind of cleric in the highest office of Holy Mother Church, I don’t think for one moment that he did not know what was going on in his church? A watchdog of this caliber had to have eyes in the community.

But what was an 85 year old frail pontiff going to do about these men? What recourse was he to take, and what punishment could he enact? Who ever wins the next conclave is going to have quite the mess to clean up, in addition to all the scandals that are rocking the church from the inside.

Some gay men have good character and are good men.

Some gay men are characters and give us all a bad name.

Some gay clergy are priests first and human second.

Some gay clergy have blurred the lines between the sacred and the profane.

But what is the answer to these situations? Do we punish all the clergy for the transgressions of some? Do you defrock those priests who have been implicated in these tawdry accusations? Do you close every sauna in Rome and take into custody all those gay men who (the reports say) have damning evidence on those so called (transgression priests)?

What will unfold, and what is truth and what is false?

I guess we shall see.

I’ve stood in St. Peter’s Basilica, I have climbed to the top of the cupola and looked down into the papal gardens, and I have visited the tomb of St. Peter.

I don’t understand how men of faith could spit upon the church and their vocations by doing such stupid and repugnant things…

Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.

God is perfect; yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I can’t imagine what God is thinking about these things.

I would offer that he isn’t terribly pleased.


Ode to Armageddon …

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Sinai photographed from STS 109 – Shuttle Columbia March 1,2002 …

I’d imagine that if Armageddon was going to take place, this is the place we would imagine the first strike to take place, or the first event. It is 3:10 a.m. on Friday morning. Nothing happened, or should I say, nothing has happened

YET !!!

If you are a listener of Late Night Radio, ala Coast to Coast for any length of time you would know that all the crazies in the world listen to this show night after night. And we have been all through the list of crazies over the last year.

We have the ads for end of days Armageddon style food sales, you know, just for those moments when a disaster takes place and you need those ready to eat meals, They aren’t just for earthquakes and hurricanes Yall !!! If you have a spare couple of hundred dollars that you can plunk down for mass storage food stuffs, and you gotta have a place to put it all, and who has a spare bomb shelter in their property portfolio ???

I hear in UTAH that there are bunkers that have been prepared for today’s calamity to take place. I have also heard that the cleansing of the righteous from the non-righteous will take place today. That God is going to cleanse the earth of the sinful and errant peoples. That only the righteous will be saved from God’s judgment.

There is a town in Southern France that is supposed to be a vortex location and that when the earth meets its end, that the aliens are going to appear there and take away all those who fled to the safety of this mountain perch.

All over the tv tonight have been every kind of end of days programming. People trying to divine what the Mayans were trying to say and what that damned calendar and glyphs really have to say, since they are woefully incomplete, and the end story is all up to conjecture.

We’ve heard over the last year all those good preacher men who have foretold of the coming Apocalypse and twice they were wrong and God did not come screaming out of his heaven to take us all to heaven and send all the sinners to hell.

That would mean all of us LGBTQ folks. Because homosexuality is all so sinful and errant of God’s ways … Oh, I kid …

Did you partake in the hysteria of the end of days? Did you buy into the end of the world? Are you hoarding food, guns, ammunition and all kinds of food stuffs? Because you know, when the end comes later today it is going to be utter anarchy in the streets. People clawing and fighting for food and guns.

And those who are prepared for the end will be hunkered down in their bunkers and nuclear safe type hovels defending themselves from the marauding hordes of people who did not listen to the council of the folks who have spent the better part of the last year telling us all this it is coming and you’d better be prepared.

All this talk of financial ruin coming to the U.S. The wars over seas and the Arab spring running into Arab Winter. You never know if the Anti-Christ is going to rise from the desert sand of the Middle East somewhere like Iran or some other backwater Middle Eastern country. Because like I said above, if Armageddon was going to take place, you’d probably be looking over there for him.

I have read that the sun isn’t going to erupt in some hellish solar flare that is going to knock out the electrical and communications grids all over the world. And at this hour, I haven’t read of any earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions taking place anywhere in the world.

And when you wake and come upon this entry – having said your prayers to whatever God you pray to the night before, you will rise and the sunrise will be glorious – just like the day before.

And I am sure on Friday night on Coast to Coast they will be hosting a night of checking in with all those folks who have added to the mass hysteria that today is supposed to unleash on humankind.

Did the ancients get it right? Will we come to rise above ourselves and grow in spiritual awakening? Will we rise to the next level of humanity overnight? And what have we learn in this exercise of preparing ourselves for the end of the world. And what will we say to all those folks who are hiding in their bomb shelters as I write this.

Will we see a nuclear Armageddon from the East? Because if we do, for those of us who could not afford a bomb shelter – we are all goners … So I guess before I go to bed I should say my final prayers – kiss my ass goodbye and hope to wake up tomorrow morning.

Today my husband is traveling to Ottawa to see his family, and it may be his last meeting with them if we are to believe that something BIG will take place tomorrow some time. Who knows.

It’s the end of the world as we know it. And when you wake tomorrow – what kind of world will it be? And what will we say to all those crazies out there sitting in their bomb shelters and on mountain tops and those fleeing the big cities into the interior of the United States and Europe because the oceans are going to swell and swallow up all the coastal land. God forbid you know that volcano on the Canary Islands that is supposed to blow its peak and send a tsunami across the Atlantic and submerge the entire East Coast of the United States.

You are all FUCKED !!!

Shall we make a prediction of what all will happen the day after tomorrow?

Sit tight. I will report more as the day progresses.

More to come, stay tuned …


Make a list of things you’d like to change. Expand one or all of the point into a post. How do they inform one another? What connects them? What does that say about you?

cruise memere 2 copy

This photo was taken many years ago, I was a young twenty something, and the woman I loved more than life itself was still alive. My Memere …

This was a dream vacation we got to take together because I had a really great job and the ability to take friends and family aboard the ships on the odd occasion. There was no better way to repay her but with a trip to the Bahamas.

Oh by the way, this post is brought to you by Plinky.

It is Christmas. My 45th Christmas. Imagine, I lived to see 45 Christmases.

What would I like to change ???

I saw Sally Field on Oprah last night, speaking about her Human Rights Campaign Award for the Ally for Equality. And in her speech she spoke about her son, Sam. And how much she loved her son and that “God created him” so he’s gay, (then continued … Who the F*ck cares ???”)

And she said about the f bomb, that sometimes it is useful.

The holidays are really hit and miss for me. I love the holidays, and I hate them just the same. I find solace in doing for others on the holiday then reliving the knowledge that my family wants nothing to do with me.

I would change lots of things. I would love to see past resentments finally get rid of in my family. Instead of the way things are. Nobody speaking to each other, however I am in contact with my aunt in Florida. And my cousin in B.C.

Being gay is strike one on me. Being HIV+ is the second strike, and living abroad is the third strike. So what, I made life decisions for myself. It was all about me and not them. However I used them to get where I am today. Just luck my mother was still a citizen when I was born which afforded me a birthright.

I’ve been on the persona non grata list for more than a decade. And I wonder when do we stop punishing each other for growing up and making decisions  in our lives. And when do we move from Resentment into Acceptance ???

It’s not all about Me – or all about You. It’s all about Us …

I sent out 25 Christmas cards today. That two boxes of cards, and postage came to more than $50.00 … A nominal expense, but I enjoy cards. Sending them and getting them.

I wrote out one card to my family, in the states. Just my signature and sealed and set it on the pile. Last night I got balsy and tore up that card and wrote out a second card. With an invitation to dialogue.

You know, I am 45 years old. I am past middle age, when it comes to HIV. I am living on borrowed time, as they say. What would you give to hear your mother say that she loves you? Or your father the same. Or your brother say that he was interested in dialogue after more than decades of silence.

I’ve earned every minute of my life. I am a big man. And though my family lived on tit for tat backstabbing, we all played a part in where we are today. Everybody is guilty, for things we did or said, and for things we failed to say and do.

If I could change some things in the past, like knowing what I should have done when my grandparents had their strokes – they might have lived longer and our family would not have self imploded like it did.

My Memere lived a long life. The regret of my life, is not going to her funeral. That is another sore spot, because my mother did not want her infected fag son to be seen by the family. So she barred me from the funeral and burial. What was I going to say, “f*ck you, I’m going anyways???”

People who believe in the bible so hard, they loose sight of what is really the meaning of life, and what the words in the Bible really mean. How can you espouse the bible and never set foot in a church? Did Vatican authority really force you to think, believe and say the things you all said?

Like Holy Mother Church was in the next room !!!

In sobriety we work our steps. And I have been through my steps. I made my lists and spoke to my resentments and pain. Some items on that step 4 list never get removed for good. There is still bitterness and anger. But what can I do, I am powerless over people, places and things.

I know better than to get my hopes up. My 11th sober anniversary is on Sunday and what a sober gift it would be to reconnect.

All you gotta do is Google me. And there I am. I am not hard to find.

What does this say about me? Family is everything, when you have none. No gay boy or girl, should ever be sent away or forced out of their family just for being gay. No way, No how, No argument. No gay adult should feel less than because members of their own family deny they exist because they are gay.

Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can Never be regained. We all live on borrowed time, we are all going to die, and would you rather go to your grave with resentments in your life, or a clear conscience, surrounded by family?

Shit, I have a great friend in the sphere and on twitter who gave birth to a gay teenager (well he is a gay teenager today) and the second son is (Gender Queer) and son three is still too young to present. And she loves her boys. So does her husband Adam. I would kill to have a mom like Sam.

Times have changed, and You owe me at least respect.

The bible says “Honor thy father and mother.”

I find it hard to honor a human/humans who do not honor me. Love skipped a generation when it came to my parents. It seems they did not get the memo from the grandparents. They all died too soon to impart the message.

And I don’t know if I can teach an old dog new tricks.


“I Thirst” redux …

A point I almost forgot from the film this evening was the phrase “I Thirst.” It came oddly during the film, and several people who saw the film before me brought up this point, and equated the phrase as coming from Mother Teresa of Calcutta … which it did…

The notion of Thirst is a theme that runs throughout our lives, and more for the man or woman who is living a sober life. At the onset of alcoholism, we all experience the phenomena of thirst. And if we get caught up in “thirst” it takes us to our cups. And in time, and for most, the thirst grows ever more until we reach the point that we just cannot drink enough and our thirst becomes unquenchable.

But there is a solution. In the Book !!!

In order for that thirst to end, we must come to the realization that it is God who removes from us the compulsion to drink. A feat no man or woman could accomplish on their own, trying to “do it” themselves. Very few succeed at this juncture. When we hit bottom and realize that we are licked and that we cannot go on with this – there is the book.

And one day, sometime in early sobriety we reach the day that the desire to drink leaves us. And eventually we find “god as we understand him.” God is fraught with complications for many when they come in.

And I think, as I wrote earlier tonight, that the genius came when Bill W. employed the phrase “god as we understand him.” And in the beginning people come up with their own concept, be him God, or Good Orderly Direction, or simply “group of drunks” we gather together to share our stories and our experiences that become a very valuable bank of experience that we can all draw upon on a daily basis.

It is mentioned in the film this notion of “I Thirst…” And unless you are familiar with the story of just what “I Thirst” means and who spoke those words they fall on deaf ears. Where once we thirsted for drink, we come to find our concept of God and we begin to thirst for spiritual truth and peace.

We learn how to mediate thirst. We will thirst till the day we die, but to drink again would be a miserable choice in sobriety. Which is when we learn to employ prayer and meditation.

You may recognize “I Thirst” as one of the last words that Jesus says hanging on the cross. And it is this meditation that Mother Teresa has worked into a very fine meditation about thirsting for Jesus.

As I near my 11th anniversary, and having this phrase tattooed on my person, and hearing it again tonight in the film brings the meaning full circle, because I heard it spoken in reference to Bill and the Alcoholics Anonymous movement. It caught me off guard really, and I had to sit and ponder it seeing I left it off the first post. But the topic is one that can stand on its own here.

“I Thirst” is engraved on my 10 year chip and tattooed on my arm. And every day I bathe and during that I care for my ink with care and respect.

I may not thirst for the drink any more, but I do Thirst for God.

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

Here is the meditation from Mother Teresa…

To the end of her life, Mother Teresa insisted that the single most important reason for the existence of the congregation she founded was to satiate the thirst of Jesus. “The General End of he Missionaries of Charity is to satiate the thirst of Jesus Christ on the Cross for Love and Souls.”

“I thirst,” Jesus said on the cross when Jesus was deprived of every consolation, dying in absolute Poverty, left alone, despised and broken in body and soul. He spoke of His thirst – not for water – but for love, for sacrifice.

Jesus is God: therefore, His love, His thirst is infinite. Our aim is to quench this infinite thirst of a God made man. Just like the adoring angels in Heaven ceaselessly sing the praises of God, so the sisters, using the four vows of Absolute Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Charity towards the poor ceaselessly quench the thirsting God by their love and of the love of the souls they bring to Him.

Mother Teresa writes:

Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much is the love He has for each one of you – beyond all what you can imagine … not only He loves you, even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy…

For me it is so clear – everything in the Missionaries of Charity exists only to satiate Jesus. His words on the wall of every MC chapel, they are not from [the] past only, but alive here and now, spoken to you. Do you believe it? … Why does Jesus say “I Thirst”? What does it mean? Something so hard to explain in words – …”I love you.” Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.


Who do you say that I am …

Zwirner_Synagogue de Cologne

Words …

This morning we heard a teaching about words. The words we use, how we use them and what words we use. And how we speak them.

And I was struck by this passage:

The Entire Gospel reading: Mark 8: 27-38

Mark 8: 29-30 “He asked them, ‘but who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

And thus we have the question … “Who do  you say that I am?”

First – Who do YOU say that I am?
Second – Who do you SAY that I am?
Third – Who do you say that I am

Jesus asks this question several times within the entire passage. And thus the question can be asked of us. Jesus asks us, “Who do you say that I am?”

What words would we use to speak the words we wish to speak. And how would we speak them? The meditation continues in which we ponder the idea of words. Do we take words seriously? Do we choose our words carefully?

In this day and age the way we use words differs from the way words were used in decades past. Listening to words written in the Big Book some time ago, hearing them read out loud, some of us comment that the way the story teller used his words differs from how we would tell that same story today.

A fellow is publishing a book this week, and he shared that his editor read through his manuscript and deleted many words that were repetitive or redundant. When we read books, do we ponder how each author chose each and every word on the page, are the words deliberate or specific?

We use a lot of words sometimes. And sometimes words are better left unsaid.

Just a short meditation on the topic of words…


Matthew Vines … The Gay Debate – The Bible and Homosexuality

Look ^^^ up there …

A new PAGE has been added to the blog. It is a presentation by Matthew Vines on the Bible and Homosexuality. I wish I could post video on this blog, but I can’t, so you are in for a good LONG read !!!

If you click on the page and scroll down to the bottom, you can directly go to his You Tube account and watch the video, which last a little more than an hour.

It is very sad – if you go to the video and read some of the vitriolic comments that have been left on this video, the theology is sound and has been proven by researchers in the field of scripture and theology. Some people are purely ignorant and stupid. You’s think that in today’s world – people could be so vitriolic.

It is all about acceptance…

For many years I contended with one writing that was written by a Pastor who I have known for many years. But Matthew, on the other hand, has spent the better part of 2 years researching this topic and his presentation is rock solid.

But it is well worth the hour you should take to listen to a young man who Loves God and Loves Jesus and speaks from his heart about the six passages from the Bible that many Christians use to demonize and perpetuate hatred and condemnation.

He has studied Hebrew, Greek and Latin and in depth covers all the scriptures and explains the history, context and meaning of biblical history.

Take some time to participate. Show him some love,

Because in the end :

Being different is no crime. Being gay is not a sin. And for a gay person to desire and pursue love and marriage and family is no more selfish or sinful than when a straight person desires and pursues the very same things. The Song of Songs tells us that King Solomon’s wedding day was “the day his heart rejoiced.”

To deny to a small minority of people, not just a wedding day, but a lifetime of love and commitment and family is to inflict on them a devastating level of hurt and anguish. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates that Christians are called to perpetuate that kind of pain in other people’s lives rather than work to alleviate it, especially when the problem is so easy to fix. All it takes is acceptance.

The Bible is not opposed to the acceptance of gay Christians, or to the possibility of loving relationships for them. And if you are uncomfortable with the idea of two men or two women in love, if you are dead-set against that idea, then I am asking you to try to see things differently for my sake, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

I’m asking you to ask yourself this: How deeply do you care about your family? How deeply do you love your spouse? And how tenaciously would you fight for them if they were ever in danger or in harm’s way? That is how deeply you should care, and that is how tenaciously you should fight, for the very same things for my life, because they matter just as much to me.

Gay people should be a treasured part of our families and our communities, and the truly Christian response to them is acceptance, support, and love. Thank you, and thank you to everyone for coming tonight.

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/VinesMatthew
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/matthew.vines
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/VinesMatthew


Presidential Proclamation …

Courtesy: BarackObama Tumblr

The Greatest Commandment Matthew 22:34-40

 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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

You wonder if all those voters read the same bible as I do? And if they do, why did they vote the way they voted? Because in the end Love will win. You reap what you sow people. And one day, you will reap it big …


He is Risen, Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

Courtesy: He Qi China …

John 20

The Empty Tomb

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)  Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.


Scapegoat …

Courtesy: Pat

It was a dreary wet night. The air was misty with drizzle. And a little on the cool side. We were all waiting for tonight, I am not sure what we were all waiting for except that we would all be together again tonight for a meeting. And the people were not disappointed.

Someone threw a wrench into setup tonight, as I opened the door to our cabinet our huge box of paper cups was gone, and only 2 packages of cups were left. It seemed that someone was messy with the way they went about taking from us. The box must have been pulled out and the stuff that was there was just thrown back into it haphazardly. We made due …

We had a packed house. It was a good night for a meeting. Lots of sobriety in the room. And our speaker came, (I think) via the West Island, because she mentioned being a West Island Girl. And she knocked it out of the park. There was so much to her story that I tried to grasp one or two themes that she brought up to write on.

Alcohol for most, is but a symptom. But for our speaker alcohol was but the gateway drug that took her to the darkest places one could go, from an innocuous sip of beer as a child down the rabbit hole into a full fledged heroine addiction that almost killed her.

She spoke about being the black sheep in the family and being branded a scapegoat for all the sins and problems of her family. That seems to be a common theme that came up for me and grasshopper. But when she got sober, the rest of the family had to stop pointing fingers at her and start looking at themselves. Hence let us take two looks at “Scapegoat.”

“A person made to bear the blame for others.” In the historical religious sense the scapegoat was used to bear the sins of the priests and people on the day of atonement…

Lev. 16:8-26; R.V., “the goat for Azazel” (q.v.), the name given to the goat which was taken away into the wilderness on the day of Atonement (16:20-22). The priest made atonement over the scapegoat, laying Israel’s guilt upon it, and then sent it away, the goat bearing “upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited.” At a later period an evasion or modification of the law of Moses was introduced by the Jews. “The goat was conducted to a mountain named Tzuk, situated at a distance of ten Sabbath days’ journey, or about six and a half English miles, from Jerusalem. At this place the Judean desert was supposed to commence; and the man in whose charge the goat was sent out, while setting him free, was instructed to push the unhappy beast down the slope of the mountain side, which was so steep as to insure the death of the goat, whose bones were broken by the fall. The reason of this barbarous custom was that on one occasion the scapegoat returned to Jerusalem after being set free, which was considered such an evil omen that its recurrence was prevented for the future by the death of the goat” (Twenty-one Years’ Work in the Holy Land). This mountain is now called el-Muntar…

In the end she arrived in the rooms in 1990, but took until 2000 to really get it. And she shared that the first time you come in, it is a gift, but if you don’t get it the first time, you really have to work for it, no matter how many times you take a step into the rooms. Some of us took more than one run at sobriety before we really got it. But she is sober today some 11 years now.

We are all human and we all feel. Coming from being a fearful young girl, there are still some things she battles with today. Many of us deal with self esteem issues, being not enough, not being able to do enough good, fear and so forth and so on. That is something that we learn how to deal with in sobriety.

It was a great share. We laughed and we giggled, but really, we all felt for her getting up there and sharing such a stark warning of a story for us all … You come in, you go to meetings, get a sponsor and do service. Because if you don’t do those things, your success in the program are slim.

It was a happy ending to the night with not one but two cakes.

One of our trusted servants to the meeting, one of our many incredible and kind women I have ever met and know today took a 37 year cake from our Matriarch, we are all so happy for her. So much long term sobriety.

Secondly, a good friend from the South Shore, a woman I know very well, and have seen ever since coming into the rooms here in Montreal took a 41 year cake. It is always a blessing to see her in any meeting where ever that meeting is. She was pure joy.

A good night was had by all.

Dinner time and some late night tv.