Reference: Mercy Home for Boys and Girls
Many years ago, I spoke about a time when I met a priest who had MS, and his ability to minister and administer the sacraments moved me so much that after seeing him that first Sunday on his crutches, I swore I would never complain about my HIV status ever again.
I had to meet him, and to know him. Fr. Jeff became my spiritual director. Those were the years just after I had been diagnosed and I was facing many challenges and trials, the one thing that made the difference for me, I believe, was my faith in God and the men who led me on into life, from where I had been.
Fr. Jeff was a man of many talents and he introduced me to books. These books still sit on my bedside table decades later because they mean so much to me in my ministry to my boys and to the many who come to this blog. You will frequently hear me talk about Margaret Craven’s ‘I heard the Owl call my Name,’ the most important book that I always return to when I need spiritual direction. The other book, [pictured above] is a second book that changed my life. And it is a book that I take very seriously and from this book I have learned much in how I foster my boys and work in my mentor areas.
One day Fr. Jeff handed me this book, because I guess he felt that I was starting to see myself as an orphan, having been kicked to the curb by my friends and family. No One to Call me Home tells the story about the mission and ministry of the Rev. James J. Close, and his work with homeless and or troubled kids who happened along his path. I identified with many of the stories from the book, and in those days I needed as much help to find myself and my life as I could get.
Many of the men of faith that I encountered in those days always pushed me to live my faith and learn how to make wise decisions and start to build a life that would be a success, It seemed to me, in hindsight that that was what Fr. Jeff and the other priests of my parish had done for me. They helped me build a foundation, they fostered my faith life and my physical body. They asked me to pray and to come to church. Because that was where I would find God at the table. Still to this day the sacrament of the Eucharist is very important to me.
I had been sober for some time, and I was attending meetings in Miami, and the priests of the parish took care of my spiritual needs when it came to my sobriety. I had many issues that I was dealing with and it seemed this ‘orphan’ was as broken as many of the kids that wandered into Mercy Home. I needed to figure out how I was going to live, pay for food, and pay the bills on time and still have a little left over to get around. Life was a daunting prospect in those days because I was so sick for most of those years, yet I found the strength and the time to come to church every week, even if someone had to come and get me by car.
I was lost for a long time. And Fr. Jeff kept me on a very short leash and that was useful to me for many reasons. I never made a decision or made a move to do anything without having passed it by someone for comment or advice. I never took for granted the fact that I had a team of full time advisers to help me live. Many of my friends did not work to build this infrastructure for themselves, but I did. I do believe that had it not been for the men and women who were put in my path at the right moment, I would not be where I am today.
Last night I was reading from the book and I happened upon the story of Sam and the lengths he went to to erase every shred of his past by changing his name, and I chuckled because I did the very same thing – to rid myself of anything that spoke of my parents or their lineage. It was an attempt to start fresh without being tied to the past. I could not live up to the name I was given, and at that time, I was so sick, I did not want my parents to have any power to do anything to me, had I died. I did not want to end up in some unmarked grave, the dark little secret banished to spend eternity in a place they chose, so when I turned 30 that is exactly what I had done. That decision was surely one of the last nails that I drove into my father’s casket. There were a few more to come…
I may not have ended up in a home for boys, but I was surely living on the street with no place to go and no one to help me save the men and women I met during those years, who helped me find a place to live, that I could afford, I had medical care that was the best I could ask for. My doctors moved heaven and earth and I had access to every drug that came off the production lines. And most importantly, I had friends in sobriety that took taking care of me very seriously. A few of my friends had keys to my apartment and they would come and go as they pleased, David cooked, and Logan did the driving, and Jon was my spiritual connection to Church.
I had a lot of issues, and I was sick, and on the terms of family, I was on my own, because nobody wanted to know me from Adam, and that abandonment was a serious issue for the whole of my life from that point on. I have moved well past that stage in my life, and I learned about what was mine and what wasn’t mine.
Over the last 13 years I have learned a great deal about myself and about life. I keep returning to the books that were given to me because they keep me grounded and remind me of when I first began to read them and I can see, so many years later, the lessons that stuck for me and how these books have shaped the man I am today. And I reflect…
I knew what it was like to have No One to call me Home, in those years, even if I was much older that some of the boys that ended up at Mercy Home, but I had been through all of many of those stories from the book. Coming from an abusive home, having addicted parents who did their best, yet at the same time, they fell short of doing the right thing when it counted or mattered. I know today that parents are creatures of their upbringing and that children are subject to whatever upbringing that their parents had. Issues were black and white, there was no gray area.
I knew what it was like to grow up before my time, and finding myself in situations where I as a young child, found myself in the position of caretaker to my brother. I hated day care, and I would rather have gone home after school which is what had happened. My parents gave me a key to the house and my brother and I would come home after school, and this was when I was in grade school. I definitely was my brother’s keeper…
I learned how to cook, I learned how to clean and I learned how to take care of a home, I was a veritable Betty Crocker before I left my childhood. Was it the right thing, or the wrong thing? I had everything a child could want or need. The dysfunction came when my parents came home from work. Family was a secret, you never spoke to anyone what you saw inside your house to anyone else. I could identify with many of the kids in the book, as to what they had witnessed as children in their homes, except they ended up at Mercy Home, and I ended up where I had arrived when Fr. Jeff handed me that book and he said that I could have it. It’s the little things that matter to me today.
In those days, people with AIDS became orphans, because of the inability of many to be able to cope with the arrival of AIDS into their lives. Peer pressure and social gospel was a hard lined gospel. Over night, over a series of hours, families, relationships and partnerships were destroyed upon the news that someone they loved, knew or socialized with was diagnosed with AIDS. We became another segment of orphan children. I was 26 and I surely was not a man by any stretch of the imagination. But I grew up very quickly.
My years with Master Todd, came well before I had met Fr. Jeff. When Todd moved West and I returned to Miami in 1995, the priests of my parish became the next teachers, leaders and mentors for me. I went through many incarnations of self over the first ten years after my diagnosis. It took that long to learn my lessons, and build my boundaries. It took me eight years to find my ‘place’ in the grand scheme of things and in the universe.
From 1994 until 2001, I foundered in the great big sea. It was one thing after another, I was sick, but I was sober. That was a gift. I was lonely and the one I wanted to be with at that time, did not want to be with me, monogamously. So I made a series of really bad decisions. And they almost cost me my life. Lessons learned there for sure.
I got sober again in 2001, TODAY in fact is my SIX YEAR sober anniversary. December 9th 2001, Troy took me to my first AA meeting after my long suffering slip into the pit of hell. And I am sober today!!
I guess that is why I picked up the book, off the bookshelf and read it again, to maybe remind me of where I had been, as an orphan in a great big world. I had to relearn many lessons and I had to find my way into the world again. And it was fate and the hand of God who put me in the right place at the right time, to meet Fr. Jeff and be blessed to know him and be ministered to him. I have many fathers on earth, and I have a Heavenly Father in God, and I am still alive, and today I am sober by the grace of God and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
This afternoon Ms. Nikki called to wish me a happy birthday, which was really nice. She gave me my medallion last Tuesday, she’s a great friend. I put the link to Mercy Home at the top of this post, if you would like to donate to their ministry. I just thought that it was important to mention this book to you because from it, I took learned many lessons on how to love and to be of service to my boys.
Being a foster parent or a mentor takes a lot of work. And it isn’t easy, but I think I have done a good job with my boys. You just don’t walk into a situation knowing all the variables and life on life’s terms can be daunting, but we have persevered and we have had success, and so I know today that Fr. Jeff gave me some very important tools to use in my life today. And reading is fundamental, sometimes a very small book, yields great truth and lessons in love and miracles. I know today that there is someone to call me home now, because I know what it was like to have no one…
I was invited to a special unveiling of an exhibition at The Christ Church Cathedral today of art and information about The Primates World Relief and Development Fund. Directed at prevention and education about AIDS. A subject close to my heart, in fact, part of it as well. Below are photographs of the art on display for the next two weeks at the Cathedral.
Our Bishop, Barry B. Clarke, was on hand to open the exhibition and the chair of the Theology Department at Concordia University was there as well. They are looking for a few volunteers to show up and participate in the exhibition, if you have a spare hour or two, they could use your support.
It’s time to open our hands, hearts and minds to HIV and AIDS and respond with action, love and knowledge.
It’s time to stop the stigma and discrimination and act on God’s call to love one another, restore right relationships and ensure the dignity of every human being.
It’s time to break the silence and inaction and face a world with AIDS more holistically, more authentically and more compassionately.
It’s time to embrace all brothers and sisters as children of God without prejudice, judgment or fear.
This is the Altar piece from St, Michael’s Mission – artwork done by many artists. They represent different liturgical and seasonal scenes. The central panel is called “the life bearers,” to the left, “The Tree of Life,” and to the right, “beyond, what I see.”
The creator of this altar piece followed one of the artists home and this segment of photos is called “On the way home.” From St. Michael’s Mission.
What We Do
Development, Relief and Justice
PWRDF works in partnership with organizations in Canada and throughout the world to support people-centred development that improves the quality of daily life for vulnerable populations, promotes self-reliance, and addresses root causes of poverty and injustice. PWRDF is active in approximately 30 countries, and also accompanies Uprooted People – including victims of disasters, refugees, internally displaced people, and migrant workers. PWRDF partners are drawn from Anglican churches, ecumenical organizations and community-based groups. Partners address the root causes of problems and accompany communities as they move beyond survival into sustainable development.
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 20, 2007 – 1:00 pm ET
(New York City) Hotel billionaire Leona Helmsley, dubbed by the media “the queen of mean”, died Monday at age 87.
Helmsley and her husband, Harry, ran a $5 billion real estate empire. After his death she became involved in a series of scandals including two high profile lawsuits by associates who claimed they were disposed of when she learned they were gay.
She was tried and convicted in 1989 on tax evasion charges. The highlight of trial was testimony from a former housekeeper who testified that she heard Helmsley say: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”
Following release from prison she resumed her control over the real estate empire.
In 2003 a jury awarded a gay former employee $11 million in damages earlier this year when she was found guilty of firing him from his job managing the Park Lane Hotel because of his sexuality.
“Mrs. Helmsley started what I would call a really mean, really vicious homophobic attack campaign against me at the Park Lane,” Charles Bell testified as the trial.
He said she used derogatory terms to refer to gay men and testified that Helmsley’s attacks on him began three months after he had been hired by Patrick Ward, chief operating officer of the Helmsley organization, as general manager of the exclusive Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South.
The jury award was reduced to $554,000 on appeal.
Helmsley had met Ward in Florida in the fall of 2000. The aging billionaire become enamored with the 45 year old Ward, a former Miami optometrist. She brought him to New York to run her empire. But, when she found out he was gay she fired him too.
Ward also sued for wrongful dismissal.
In his court filings Ward claimed that he had “received numerous anonymous phone calls threatening me and referring to me in vulgar, homophobic epithets, at least two of which I believe were made by Helmsley personally.”
Ward said his caller ID showed the phone calls were coming from the Park Lane Hotel where Helmsley lived.
The court documents also alleged that Ward had received a threatening letter from someone connected to Helmsley.
“I received a bullet in the mail, as well as a copy of my employee life insurance policy from . . . Helmsley Enterprises with the ‘accidental death’ clause circled in ‘highlighter’ or lipstick,” Ward said in his affidavit.
But in 2005 a judge ruled that Helmsley was too old to be sued.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub said going to trial would be unfair to Helmsley, who was then 84. He said that Helmsley is a “woman of advanced years” who shouldn’t be forced to reconstruct the past.
Earlier this year, Forbes magazine estimated her net worth at $2.5 billion.
Helmsley died of heart failure at her summer home in Greenwich, Conn., her publicist, Howard Rubenstein said.
Cruise Ships coming to Montreal: Fall Schedule 2007
On October 8th I have been granted access on board the Fred Olsen Cruise Liner – Black Watch by GLP Worldwide Expeditions, who are representing Fred Olsen Cruise Lines in Canada. There are travel shows beginning in Vancouver and Victoria next week, and move Eastwards across Canada, calling in Alberta and as well Ontario.
On September 22 – and 23 the Arctic Sunrise will be ported at the Old Port in Montreal with open ship tours on both days from 12 noon to 6 p.m.
The Fall Foliage Cruise ship calendar is getting busy I will be posting other dates here as I get them.
22 – Spirit of Nantucket
25 – Maasdam
26-27 – Spirit of Nantucket
6-7 – Spirit of Nantucket
8 – Maasdam
8-10 – Grande Caribe
9-10 – Alexander von Humbolt
14-16 – Grande Caribe
15 – Christopher Columbus
19 – Veendam
22 – Maasdam
27 – Saga Ruby
1-3 – Grand Mariner
2 – Crystal Symphony
6-9 – Grande Caribe
8-9 – Black Watch
I have asked this question of some of the ministers that write for our sphere. For many years I have searched for the “Perfect Church.” Growing up in a predominantly white, middle class neighborhood gave rise to attending church with my friends. And that served me very well for most of my young adult life.
Labels had not been applied to us in this period of our lives so we were free to worship wherever we chose to. And in most cases our parents followed along, because the church was not only a religious landmark, but also housed Youth Ministry that everyone was part of for several years through high school and junior college and even for myself, Seminary.
After leaving seminary with a bad taste in my mouth for Catholicism, and Church, I walked away from God and his church. I thought that I had been slighted by clergy and I was pushed against the “choose us or get out” wall. It took me many years dealing with the truth to walk back into church.
This was always my childhood home, the Church I called home. It was the place that God and I communed. And after my leaving seminary – this was the church that I returned to many years later, as a weary, AIDS suffering sinner. I was sick, and I had been away, and I met a man who changed my life when I saw him say mass in this space with his crutches and MS. I vowed never again to complain about things in my life. And I have kept that word so many years later.
Being Gay, had its issues with Church. But not to the men who led this church forward. I was a part of this church and this is where I would find prayer, support and salvation.
As I grew into my 30’s I hit several questions in my life about faith, recovery and living with AIDS. I’d like to say that I found all my answers in “church” but that would be false. I was living in an area of town that did not afford me the ability to get to church any more. So I was not attending “church” where I had been for so many years. It was just logistically impossible to get there in time for mass.
During my second recovery, I was seeing a therapist and I had friends who were talking care of me at the time. I was having my visions and spiritual experiences outside the church I may have left the church “physically” but not emotionally and spiritually.
Faith is like a garden. Each one of us inhabits the garden of our own making. We tend that garden daily. In the morning we walk through misty, dew covered flowers and plants, and as the day wares on the sun tracks across the sky as we sit in that garden. I believe that everyone is born into some kind of spiritual tradition, more than most may speak of but nonetheless, someone puts the seed of faith within us at some point.
If you were like me, you were baptized, first communion ed and confirmed in the Catholic faith. Some were baptized in the baptist faith and others were raised in the faith of their parents or extended families. But we all carry that seed within us.
For many, being Gay and Christian or Being Gay and Catholic was something we battled with because of the politics of the church. Now in my 40’s I can tell you that I will not walk into, better yet worship in a space that does not welcome me fully into communion. I used to compromise my ethics and my politics because I was attached to the Catholic faith by an unbreakable umbilical cord that still exists today.
When I got sick, the priests told me to come to church and I did because they were 21st century men in an archaic world of Catholicism. That lasted as long as it had to to keep my in line with my faith and connected TO my faith. God was in the church, praying with others took place in the church. Mass took place within the church. And I was ok with that way of life.
When I got sober in 2001 I was filled with questions. My faith was strong because I KNEW who God Was and who god Is still. I did not need the physical building to give me what I had created and cultivated internally over many many years of spiritual exploration. You see, faith is not something you feed once a week in a worship service. Faith is not something you partake on any given Sunday.
I was sober a four months when I came to visit Montreal in the Spring of 2002. It was Ash Wednesday when I arrived. I celebrated Easter here and I loved it. This is such a rich religious city. Later I would meet a Jesuit priest who would give me the same puzzle piece he gave all the other boys I later met on the path later on.
This is where it all starts…
I had a reason to come here and I knew after two weeks of being here, that I needed to stay here. I went back to Florida, packed all that I could and I left, never to return. Lies my mother told facilitated my move out of the United States.
I started my journey of faith in the Church Basilica of Notre Dame. It took me weeks to start putting the faith puzzle together. and now six years later, I can tell you that there are still pieces of the puzzle missing.
I had to get used to living in Montreal, Pre-Iraq War. I had to find my place in the greater scheme of things. And that took a long time. I had my citizenship on February 17th 2003, and I was sober 14 months. I decided that I would go back to school. My chosen major in the beginning was Psychology, that quickly changed to Religion.
These were the years that demonstrations were taking place in the streets and Americans were being warned to sew Canadian flags on our backpacks, so as not to acquire the ire of Canadians in Montreal, because protests against the war were daily occurrences. I did that and I participated in those demonstrations. But eventually I would hit several crises points in my life, ONE would be “where do I fit in?” I had to find my place in the community and that took two years upon beginning University. I remember sitting in Donald’s office asking the all important question: “I don’t know where I fit in and I have one foot in the South and one foot in the North – I don’t know where I should be?”
He was always apt to tell me these key words:
“If you find yourself in between and you can’t decide where to go or move, then sit where you are and survey all that you see before you. FEEL your feelings and get in touch with your dis-ease with where you are. Consult your map and ask your questions of the people on the path, then when you are ready, plot your next step, but not before you are sure of your footing.”
I met a man of faith in the Chaplaincy office. I was a man of faith and I was sure in my faith as any other man or woman was. The one difference? I was a sure gay man living with AIDS. I made no excuses and expected no special treatment, just love and acceptance, which I found in Fr. Ray Lafontaine. Still to this day, as a fellow Christian and Catholic priest in my life, he challenges me in my faith to find the answers for myself.
I attended his church at Loyola on Sunday evenings. And that worked for me because there were others like me in the church and we were all accepted.
That haze of Summer lasted for two years. In that time I started working on my religious beliefs. And I maintained my sobriety by attending meetings in the basements of many of Montreal’s most beautiful churches. When Father Ray was moved to St. Monica’s church and new priestly blood was flushed into the chapel, I met my faith match…
Having been singled out over my marriage to my husband and the vile words shared with me by the existing chaplain of the University, I walked away from Church once and for all. Although when Fr. Ray and Fr. Paul said mass, I would always attend.
Having studied religion for so many years of my life, and having lived with AIDS for so many years, I knew several things. 1. I knew who God was. 2. I knew who God is not. and 3. I knew who I trusted to support me in my faith journey.
I have been separated from Church for a long time now. It took the invitation of friends to attend a mass said by the Very Reverend Gene Robinson in the Summer of 2006 at Christ Church Cathedral to seriously contemplate a return to Church. In 2003 I was married in the very Catholic Space at Loyal, much to the consternation of Georges Pelletier. We did it just to make a statement of faith, because the entire Loyola community was there to stand with us and profess our faith and love before our families, friends and God himself.
The only time I ever walked into a church, during my time in the field, was with my Great Aunt Georgette, may she rest in peace… I would pray in the mother house chapel with her and I would attend mass there as well. The last time I attended mass in the Mother House Chapel was the day we buried her in August of 2006.
I would never walk into another Catholic Church after her funeral. Although I still maintain a working relationship with men of Catholic faith, I don’t go to mass in the Catholic Church. The other day that marked a change in my Catholic belief system was the day that the Late Pontiff John Paul II died, and I attended mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
You see, while I was studying Religion in university, I was studying my past, making peace with it and learning why things happened the way they did for me, and I was afforded this historical review because of the professors that I studied with for the last four years. I polished my religious skills and I mastered my Christian faith.
I was getting sober in church basements and I was ministering to people in the field. I never walked away from God again. I knew better, and he would always wait for me to find Him. Some of you know about the last five years. Some of you sought me out from the field for spiritual guidance. And I was there for you without question.
I always knew where God resided within me. I knew where to find God, outside myself. I can walk into any church in the city and talk to God. And I can talk to God at any given moment of my day or night, because I have built a temple of God within me.
We are all temples of the spirit of God. Most of us do not know this truth. So I share it with you now. We are all created in the image of God, and therefore we carry the image of God within us. We are walking talking miracles of God’s love and grace. My garden of faith is Eden within me. And I share that garden with anyone who wants to come and walk amongst the flowers. I do not need a building or the perfect church to settle my restless heart.
I’ve spent the last five years searching for God in the sacred churches of Montreal. He was always there where ever I looked for Him. As for the perfect church? You will never find it, because of the true nature of men and women. Humans are imperfect sinners who need to be taught what is right from wrong. And those who come to church already have their preconceived notions of who their God is, and what they will be willing to accept, in the way of Christian teachings, dogma and practice.
So take a church full of imperfect humans and ask them to build for you the perfect church! With all the heads buzzing in the church, each with their notions of church and God, and what do you have? A room full of buzzing heads, who could not agree on what they would call church, and I am sure that their conception will not be what you had in mind either. The perfect church does not and will never exist…
Where did Jesus do his best work? In the field, over dinner in sinners houses. Working with the homeless and the poor and sick. How many times does Jesus step into a church in biblical writing? And what does he say about the ‘church?’ What would he say about all of the terrible incarnations of Church we have today – in the world?
I do believe that God and Jesus weep at the way Christianity is lived out in the millions of lives of people around the globe. We know the scripture, we know the reason yet we can’t see past the noses on our faces and we cannot take the plank out of our own eyes before we try to help another, so what does that say about active Christianity???
I’ve been in the process of Spiritual direction for some time now, ever since coming to Montreal many years ago. I have sought the advice of many people over the years. And I work with others “in the field” every day…
Where is my “Church?” If I had to give you an address, that would be the Christ Church Cathedral because the bishop has said to the LGBT community that we are just as important to the church as any one else. That he supports us and wants us to participate in community and be active participants in our own faith. I am 40 now, and I have my morals, beliefs and values, and if I choose to leave the Catholic faith based on principle I can do that today, because of the certainty of WHO I am and What my faith means to me, because I am ‘out of communion’ with Benedict’s Church, and I can live with that today.
But I don’t need a building to worship God. I don’t need the perfect church to teach me God’s word. I don’t need the perfect minister to keep me on the path of Godly living. Why, you ask? Because I can do all these things on my own. I celebrate my Christianity every day through prayer, word and action. I live my faith – therefore it is in front of me every day for all to see. I practice my faith. I talk the talk and I walk the walk, daily…
This is not a task I ask you to ponder on your own and it is not for the feint of heart either. But in order to build your inner church, you must start with a foundation, a garden. Mark out the space in your heart. Till the soil and plant your seeds. Give them plenty of water and sunlight and then pray over them…
We each have the capability to till our own gardens of faith within us. Because until you have a strong garden of faith within you, will you be able to find a church that will serve you, because without the understanding and cultivation of your own garden, do you remove the judgments within your heart of men and ministry.
If you are looking for the perfect minister of Christ, he will not appear, save Christ himself. We are flawed human beings, and therefore we must understand that and with that knowledge we can better serve the community at large, and if we able to serve the community at large, we can then see God for ourselves where ever we go, and in whatever church we visit.
The best work of the field is done in the most imperfect churches, because most people know that perfection is unattainable. Your Heavenly Father is perfect, so we have every ability to be as perfect as our heavenly father is perfect. But that will take a lifetime to achieve.
In order to find church outside of you, you must first build church within yourself. You must find your definition of God, you must let your faith garden grow. You must be strong in your faith because without strong inner faith, you will not have strong outer faith for community. Without using the gardening tools that God has given you, how can you practice your faith? You must find Sacred Space within yourself, and you must build sacred space for yourself, while you are in the field.
Because, what good would looking for the perfect Church do for you, if you do not have a handle on your own inner faith to begin with??? Build your inner church and invite God to inhabit your sacred space. Get to know this God of your own understanding. There are certain things a Christian must do every day…
- Read Scripture every day
- You must Pray every day
- You must Meditate every day
- You must Actively Practice your Faith every day
Because the simple act of prayer – asking God for those things that weigh heavily on our hearts, must be followed up with a period of silent “Listening” for God’s voice to speak to you. Because sometimes we get the answer… ‘keep praying, not today, NO!’ Cookie cutter Christianity is too easy. You must live your faith actively in community, that is one sure way to find Jesus in the field.
Start with your garden
Plant it, Till it, and let it grow
Listen to your heart song
and share it with the world
Take off the blinders on your eyes
and see the world in its imperfect state
Find Christ in the field and walk with Him
talk the talk and walk the walk
practice your faith in ACTION
in time your heart will soften
and you will see God
and you will find that
‘Perfect Union with Christ’
A church will find its way to you
Because you will be ready to serve…
What do I do first? Well, I don’t have the movie in my collection, although I should. I can run around the house as I wish. Hubby has gone to see the in laws for the weekend. And I can do whatever, whenever and not have to worry about anyone else. I enjoy time to myself, since I get very little of it in normal life.
I’ll have to go by the DVD store …
I have made a pot of chicken stew this afternoon so that I can eat all weekend and not have to cook, or do dishes! yay…
I had a conversation with an old friend today. One of my many mentors that are made available to me at a moments notice. You see, I don’t make any major decisions or changes in my life without proper guidance from my mentors.
I know my young apprentice is going to read this so I have to be careful what I write. I have been working with him trying to teach him some valuable lessons in people skills, being out in public and learning what is right and wrong. People skills and most importantly FUN !!! I asked him the other day what he has learned from our time together and articulating information seems to still be an issue.
Space – Words – Language – Anger …
Everyone is allowed personal space. Something I guess we need to talk about is personal space. Knowing when to let alone and to stop invading peoples personal space. I live with another person. We each have our space. Our computer has a partition and I do not invade his space and hubby does not invade mine. We don’t read each others mail, nor do we fight over the box. Living under the same roof with another, your mother, your renter and your summer guest, each of you have personal space. You do not own the right to be controlling. You do not own the right to invade someone else’s space. You are a young man, your mother is an adult. THEREFORE, she is owed her space AND her privacy.
- You should never raise your voice at your mother
- You should never SWEAR at your mother
- You should never EVER raise a hand to your mother
- You should respect her space at home, on the computer and in public
- Learning to be an adult takes years of work, study, respect and love
- Disrespectful and Angry behavior is unacceptable
- We don’t need to read mom’s mail – That Is Private !!!
- Yes, please – Thank you and – how can I help you work much better
Women are different from men. Men and women both need their space at home and outside the home. It is imperative that you GET THIS, Today!! We need that security of personal space to do what it is that we (as adults) need to do for ourselves and for you. Living in such close quarters doesn’t lend very well to “space” and everybody needs to work together to “create safe and private space” when it is necessary. It is VERY important to remember that your mom needs her space.
We are guests in our parents houses – my parents made that perfectly clear to me on countless occasions.
So my friend Chuck, has a son named John. They are in the same boat we are. But John is a few years older than my apprentice. I needed to have a fatherly conversation with someone who could give me sound advice about what to do with my apprentice.
Life is difficult for kids growing up in a regular world. So one must take into consideration how it must be for the boys who have certain issues. I can’t make a decision or take a step in the right direction in regards to school, without proper guidance from someone up further on the path. I want to work to keep things SAFE, CALM, and Happy.
I want to make the right decisions for all parties involved. So I know what I need to do now. I know how to proceed, and I know there is constant assistance, whenever I need it from people who know where I am going with regards to my apprentice.
I know you are going to read this and critique what I have to say, and that is just fine with me. So Rather I be honest with you and write on my blog, what is on my mind, and give you something to think about before our next meeting.
Time to watch some tv.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte speaks to the media Monday morning clarifying his position.
This situation is a travesty. And workers that have been on strike, need to return to work and clean up this MESS of a cemetery and bury the Hundreds of dead now being stored on the property in the buildings and refrigerated trucks. These workers have no respect for the dead nor do they respect our community! It is time to get back to work and get this situation taken care of before Winter sets in on us.
CTV.ca News Staff
Montreal’s Roman Catholic archbishop has called out for an end to the labour dispute that has crippled a major cemetery’s operations.
“I have no button that I can push to say you get there, you get there, I have the power to bring understanding in a difficult situation,” Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte told the media on Monday.
About 500 bodies remain unburied in a refrigerated cemetery vault at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges because of the lockout.
All burials have been put on hold since May 16, when about 130 cemetery employees were locked out, prompting a strike.
The union and families have asked Turcotte to intervene on more than one occasion but the archbishop has said he does not have the power to meddle in a labour dispute.
“I have been asked to intervene and I must remind everyone that I can not do so,” said Turcotte in a press release dated Aug. 2.
“It is true that the law confers a certain number of powers to the bishop. However, the cemetery remains under the administration and management of the fabrique whose property it is.”
Citing a legal act governing cemetery management, Turcotte said the autonomy of administrators is required.
Turcotte still decided to meet with the families to speak with them about their ordeal.
Debra de Thomassis, a woman who has been waiting to bury her grandmother and is spearheading a class-action lawsuit against the cemetery to get it working again, said the families were asked questions.
“He basically asked us how we were feeling, how we came upon to be stuck in this conflict,” she said. “He totally understands out position and is with us all the way.
“I think he decided to get involved because he needed to let everybody know what was his real position, what were his real powers,” she continued. “He doesn’t necessarily have the powers to go into the management of the administration but he certainly has the power to let them know his position.”
The families also asked if the archbishop could work out a deal where they could have a requiem and see their loved ones one more time. De Thomassis said the archbishop is looking into it.
The union has said it will not return to work until at least some of its demands are met.
According to management, salaried employees currently make an average annual income of $49,000, while seasonal workers make $27,000.
The union is demanding improvements in five key areas:
- A defined benefit pension plan, in which workers can acquire previous years of service;
- A four-day work week;
- An increase in the number of weeks available to seasonal workers from 26 to 36;
- Greater departure allowances; and
Limiting the use of subcontracting
They have been without a contract since 2003.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Annie DeMelt
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
I never thought that doing something good for another would turn around and bite me in the ass. Christian ministry and emergent churches are the new faces of Christian worship and ministry. What I am is immaterial to Who I am. In the past few months as my degree was conferred to me by a University, I was thrust into a position of ministry leadership, not by my own choice, but by popular acclimation of the group who thought that I was the most logical person to lead them, in the wake of a colleague dying.
I have been working in my field here in Montreal for over five years. I work with the addicts, the alcoholics, the sick and the dying. I have probably spent more years in the ACTIVE practice of Christian Charity longer than most of you would even care to consider. When my friends were all dying of AIDS who do you think ministered to their souls, took care of their physical bodies, fed and bathed them and in the end buried them when parents of Christian faith walked out on them and left them in the streets to die alone!
My work was something that my peers and my supporters highly encouraged. I looked all over the world for the model that I would adopt to begin my work here. That church was RE:HOPE in Glasgow.
Let me stop for a moment and say this loud and clear. Just because I am a gay man, does not infer that any people I choose to support, or pray for, or attempt to raise funds for, speaks of the sexual orientation of anyone. There are straight writers on this blog and there are gay writers. They all have good messages and are people that I respect and admire. We all learn from each other.
So I know that RE:HOPE is trying to raise 12,000 GBP for their trip to the Holy Land this fall and I went OUT of my way to try and help them, because it was an easy choice and it was the right choice. I used the term “Partnered” and that has come back to me also.
You may not agree with some of my theology, and the obvious sane fact that I am a gay man of faith – speaks of just how much work I have done in 40 years of life to find my way through Christianity and Catholicism. I take what is good and I leave what is bad.’
Christianity isn’t perfect, and it is truly flawed. But Christ is perfect in his simplicity and direct in his message. People are flawed too in their beliefs and theology. People are imperfect yet God is perfect…
People have commented and Scott has commented about my choice of words and today he writes me to admonish me and to tell me about being careful of what I write, I got that.
What troubled me more – and to the point that – because I am a gay man in Ministry, some have gone as far as to question the sexual orientation of Scott Burns. I have to say that I am disgusted by this little piece of information. Don’t people have better things to do with their time than to wonder about the sexual orientation of people? Have we not grown past this little issue? Are we all adults here?
I’ve never met Scott, but I believe in his ministry. Enough to put my own reputation and this blog on the line in the sense of credibility and respect. So what, I am Gay and Scott is not? Does my support of his ministry automatically make him gay or make him suspect? Have we backtracked that much in the year 2007, that doing good Christian work comes with parameters and judgments by some? Of course it does, I should know that.
All of you out there are Christianity Majors and have decades of Christian study and worship under your belts, right? All of you have spent years in University studying Church history, Christian History and Christian Origins. right??? And all of you have spent time in a Catholic Seminary in the pursuit of priesthood as well, I suppose?
I do not make choices rashly or out of one side of my brain. You may not agree with my stance of Church, and you can question my “take” on Christian Theology. I have spent over 20 years of my life studying religion, in seminary and in University so I do know much more about church and Christianity, than the run of the mill lay person or arm chair Christian.
Living with AIDS – over 14 years now gives me certain understanding of what charity and forgiveness and true unconditional Christian love is. I know what doing the right thing is, if you lived with the threat of death every day of your life, knowing just what is going to kill you and how, you either do one of two things, you find FAITH fast or you give up and die.
I took the high road. Seeking ministers, priests and bishops who were accommodating and understanding. I am part of the Anglican faith now because I was told, unequivocally that the Montreal Diocese agrees with the blessing of Same Sex unions. I, in fact, am Married, and have been for now three years. We had a United Church wedding before God and our families.
So if you have a question about my Christian faith – You Ask Me! If you have a problem with me You Tell Me.
I cannot believe that trying to help another ministry would come back with questions, inferences and disagreements. I love it when people come to read, and many do each day. I reach out to millions with this blog, we have even saved a few lives here and there with the work that we do here.
All my kids and my peers and supporters who are part of this ministry are straight. One of them is in Seminary this fall. NONE of them question my ability to serve based on my sexual orientation. My exploration of faith has brought me to this point. And I will even go so far as to say that I probably have a better Christian practice than most of you out there, because you have to deal with doctrine, theology and teaching.
I study Theology and though I may not agree with it, and for the most part I do not agree with any church that limits its membership to those who believe and are straight from those who believe and are gay. I have struggled with this issue for the whole of my life. And I have made peace with it.
I CAN reconcile being Gay and Being Christian, IF You CANNOT then that is your issue, not mine.
I do what I am called to do. I serve where I am called to serve. And I love unconditionally because I am commanded TO! I read scripture too and those six references to same sex, homosexuality and sleeping with a man as to a woman are all scriptures that I have spent a great deal of time, during my studies, trying to understand. I don’t think that you have spent as much time studying scripture as I have in 25 years.
Nobody has the right to judge what kind of Christian I am – or question the ministry that I work with. The reason that we have emergent churches and church plants and Christian ministries popping up all over the world is in response to the way Christianity has played out over the centuries. Nobody is pleased or agrees with the model we have, so we set out and create our own. I have done that after reaching the conclusion after prayer, study and academic work to know that Church Christianity will not work for me – it never has.
I have been a Catholic all of my life, I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary as well and I left because I would not serve Man and also because I was not a pedophile and I was not going to spend another year keep secrets for my fellows and the Catholic administration.
The members of the Anglican faith, here in Montreal, have been planting seeds in my heart for a year. They allowed me to come and go as I please. And they loved me unconditionally. And now I have made a conscious choice to become part of the Anglican communion because the Bishop himself has given the LGBT community a green light in his church. I have already written about this.
Can a Gay Man be spiritually centered – Yes of course he can. Can a gay man lead a church, Many do, quietly. I can tell you how many gay priests we have in Montreal and how many are open about it and they still have parishes and communities. I can tell you that I know a handful of Christian Ministers who will speak on my behalf and tell you that I am as true to Christian faith as I can be.
I hook up with a church I see does good work and I try to style a ministry by its example, maybe partner wasn’t the right term but still, I pray for that community and I work for the betterment of that community and I work tirelessly trying to help them.
I write letters to my supporters on my time to help You, and I get a letter of “this weighs on my heart too much” ok, that’s your issue not mine. I was just trying to help you out of a situation that you placed yourself in, then you wrote about it and asked for help, how many of us listened to you and went out of their way to help you???
And I am admonished for doing something charitable and good. I am told that Some do not agree with my theology! That’s your issue not mine. Some do not agree that a Gay man can be a good example to the people he leads, because of the inherent problem with being gay!
I will tell you here and now that sexual practice in my marriage is between ME – MY GOD and My Husband, and nobody else. Go read my writings on the Sacred and the Profane. Maybe you will learn something about how much I respect the two states of grace. You cannot have the Sacred without the Profane, because they inform each other.
They are married in a coexistence of grace.
I would like to know from you, my readers just what objections you have to what I am, Who I am and what I choose to do for a living? I put those buttons on my blog because the ministries that are there need support either financially or Spiritually. I won’t make that mistake again…
I choose to support the needs of many and they should be grateful that a stranger would put himself out there to help another human being because he believes in the ministry of Christ. So until further notice I will remove all connection and fund raising for any ministry accept my own.
If you cannot understand what it really means to be a Christian and you can’t accept that maybe a Gay man with religious leanings, a full degree in Christian Religion Study and a further pursuance of a Pastoral Ministry Degree in Theology can lead and be a good example and a wise leader, then I invite you to be on your way.
Don’t waste another moment reading here and please, do us all a favor, do not return to this place, because we have no use for you either.
Yesterday I turned forty years old, and I had my own issues with faith, life and death, but to receive a letter of concern, admonishment and as I read it a separation in Theology and Christian faith practice insulted me. And to know that people who have come by here have questioned the dignity of another minister AND question his Sexual Orientation just because his visage and ministry appeared on the side bar of this blog made me sick to my stomach. I thought we were all adults here and that we were grown up enough to lay down our judgments and issues for the shared communion of Christianity. I guess I was mistaken.
Like I said, if you’ve got a problem with me, that is Your Problem not mine. If you don’t have the balls to approach me and state your case, that is also your problem not mine. If you question the way I practice my Christianity, that is also your problem, not mine.
If you do not know enough to understand that I have struggled with Christianity for the whole of my life and that I probably know MORE about the intricacies and minutiae of Christianity than you do – that’s not my problem.
God speaks to me – and he knows I am Gay, He also knows I am HIV positive, so do all my kids, my friends, my peers, and even my husband. They all love me just the same. God Loves me Unconditionally. There is no separation between God and Myself.
I don’t have time to sit here and write sermons like this and justify why I can practice Christian faith because of …. to you. I don’t need to. You can sit your happy ass down and write me and tell me of your concerns with my theology and practice and if I feel moved I will write you back, or even take the time to embarrass myself in front of you by writing a rant like this one again!
I know a lot more about Christian Theological issues than you might think. I have battled with the best and the brightest when it comes to theological and ministerial discussion. And we agree to disagree. The Catholic Church allows me access to the sacraments because it is a RITE of my Catholic upbringing, I was baptized into the church and in all my years only ONE priest saw fit to condemn me openly and with that condemnation he lost his parish and his people, they all left his church! In the Anglican faith I am in full communion with the Bishop’s church and it is high about time. God WEEPS at the intolerance and judgment of Christians all over the world. And we pray for them just the same.
I have studied Papal History and I continue “on my time” to further that theological education outside the classroom. I know all about the Churches laws and decrees, I have studied at great length – the life of John Paul II one of the most important Popes in Modern History second only to John XXIII. I don’t agree with all of his writing, especially about women, birth control, homosexuality and assorted other dimensions of his writing, but you must admit that in the hallowed darkness of his chapel the Pope begged God for forgiveness for some of what he did in public, forced to speak so many words at the consternation of the Holy See and those Bishops and Cardinals who were close to the See of Peter. So I know all of your arguments.
Christianity MUST evolve or else crumble in the ruins of its own intolerance and judgmentalism and condemnations. The Church must change to accommodate the many people who have grown up in a faith and as adults we are divided from the faith because of the stance of those conservative men in certain positions. The curret Pope Benedict will never earn my allegiance or respect, because he is a dog of a man. HE is responsible for much of what John Paul II wrote as he was the man in the position of keeper of the doctrine of the faith, now he is Pope, God help us all…
Faith for me as a gay HIV Positive man is cut and dry. You do good for others, and you love others and you maintain a humble presence in the world and you do no harm. I think that this simple theological model works. Don’t quote me mumbo jumbo theological ideas because all the theology in the world will not change the man I am today and what I choose to do with my life.
Theology is too wrapped up in rules and dogma. I am wrapped up in simple Christian faith for simple Christian people. Faith is simple. Talking the talk is one thing, Walking the Walk is surely another. I can do both – I can talk the talk and I do walk the walk. You ask any of my people about what I do day in and day out, and just how much of my time I spend helping others because I am called to do that and I am sure you would be pleasantly surprised. Men of faith should be this “giving” of their time and talent for the little pittance I make in return. I work my ass off to the bone day and night, I write, I work with others because work was done for me when I needed it to. Ministry is not just about preaching the Gospel to people, but getting down in the gutter with them. How many Christians get out there and really get their hands dirty? Not Many.
So I see a group that gets their hands dirty and I start talking them up and I pray for them and I try to raise funds for them. I do that for my group too. All is not words and bible, show me the money at the end of the day – I don’t make nearly enough to support my house yet, and I have another 18 months to go before I hit my Masters and Pastoral ordination, but I am in the field, I have been in the field for years.
I have been a Christian presence in my Gay Community since I was a young boy, And I was in the trenches when Christians were fleeing like in the exodus from infected sons, daughters and children. I stuck and stayed. I raised money, stood in picket lines and I was there through the worst time when Christians turned their back on men and women who were sick and dying. I WAS THERE! I cannot tell you the countless and thankless hours that I spent in service to my community because NOBODY else would dare touch us or help us. So speak to me about active Christian Ministry. Tell me you know from what people like me lived through in our own lives! Tell me you know the words that self righteous Christians used to condemn people and people lost their jobs, apartments, lovers, family and friends. Were you there?
I can tell you about Christian families that THREW their sons on the STREET, Churches who REFUSED to perform funerals, Christian men and women who worked in funeral homes that REFUSED to process AIDS infected dead boys and men.
This is a double sided issue. Men acted with one another. Men did what they did. Do we condemn them as well? They are all DEAD and I am still alive, so God in his wisdom still sees good in me to fill my lungs with air and gives me life each day. I know how I was infected. I was trying to help another sick soul who LIED to me and then killed himself and I found out After the fact!! So fuck me right? I got what was coming to me right? I was a sinner just like the others. So fuck us !!! right??
Good Christian men kept me alive when all I wanted to do was die already. They believed I had a place in God’s kingdom, even if we did not go to any certain church. I learned Christian Charity from the best. I learned what Jesus meant by Loving others as I loved myself the hard way. I had no choice because good upstanding self righteous Christians could not stomach the horror and filth – the sickness and death. Yet, they could walk into church on Sunday’s and quote scripture and condemn from their Holy Pulpits and pews, UGH it makes me SICK to think about the past…
I can tell you that some of us angry gay men who were Christians who went to school to become morticians so that they could start funeral parlors to give our friends proper burials and I know renegade priests who WOULD perform funerals for us and the minions of people who worked behind the scenes behind the Christian iron curtain who DID walk the walk when we needed it.
I can also tell you about cemetery workers who refused to dig graves and those religious men who stood in the way of us burying those people in hallowed graves. Shall I continue? I can tell you about ministers, Christian ministers TODAY who still condemn us. And you want me to follow their theology?
I think Not!!
And I know good Christian people who loved me when my parents disavowed me and wrote me off as infected goods. I was not immune to judgment and condemnation. I got it from my own family which speaks to the effect that my family has no role or place in my life today – and I am 40 years old and I am still here writing this story.
I was there with Jesus, changing diapers, cleaning up shit and puke and feeding people – And I sat with them until they died, while Christians all over the world sat on their tuffets condemning us and alienating and judging us and telling us that
“AIDS was God’s punishment for our sinful lifestyles.”
I SPIT on the people who did that and I will SPIT on whomever says that to me today.
And God WEPT!!!
Christians could learn from the ministerial work we did in the trenches when it really mattered. So nobody owns the right to judge or critique my Christian life, ministry, theology or practice. Because when I take my last breath – it will then be God and I in a discussion of life review and I know for sure that he will look at me and say:
“Well done, good and faithful servant!”
1 Corinthians Chapter 13:1-3
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Deuteronomy Chapter 6:4-7
Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one, and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
End of Sermon…
I’m reading again, “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” and I am in the mindset to write about the custodianship of the living earth. The earth is in a shift, I think we can all agree on that – and attention is now on prevention and maintenance of the earth as it exists today. I have written recently about the fact that many people in my own community are not “Being Maintained” by anyone, they are lost among the crowd, banished to sidewalks, doorways and shelters. What can I do to change that? Write…
What if the governments of the world decided to stop warring and fighting amongst themselves? How much money would we have to spend on other things like food, shelter and water? I heard a comment on late night radio last night that
“There will be wars fought over drinking water!”
I am sure that there are some who think about the Order who seek to bring down the number of earths inhabitants by the millions. There is a surplus in population in certain areas of the world, and for some that is too much, and they would rather see them eradicated than to house and feed them.
The earth is sputtering on its axis. Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Hurricane, Oceanic changes to salinity and food source and the cooling of warm water fisheries all over the globe are causing catastrophic changes to major areas of the worlds oceans. How many more signs do we need from Mother Earth to tell us that something is wrong? And if we don’t stop with our preoccupation with war, division, killing and ignorance, that when “IT” happens we will not survive whatever IT will unleash.
I know better than to sit in my what if’s and coulda, woulda, shoulda! I can look out my windows from here and see trees and grass and the mountain off to the North. We can look out at our world and know that there are forests and people and animals who live amongst that forest. Forests are burning – trees are dying – infestations of beetles are killing swaths of forest across Canada, borne on the winds moving West to East. But I wonder what haven’t we done as custodians of the earth to try and mitigate these things from happening.
What if, The Almighty came down from heaven and told warring factions to lay down their arms, and those in power were removed and power was granted to the masses to govern themselves and the wars stopped all over the earth, not just in certain areas. All the warring areas on the globe. What if we heard from on high that “they” believe that wars fought over ideologies and factions needed to end today, right now, for us to stop killing each other and become custodians to one another. How would that change the face of the earth?
Is there a way for the world to get up and state unanimously that the wars should end? Can we impeach presidents around the world, in countries that are sponsoring, funding and are waging wars on other peoples? Do you see what I am asking here?
We truly need to depose several key world leaders, and the American President AND his entire cabinet need to be removed from office, sooner than later. Because America has been hijacked and “Nazi Control” is becoming an adjective to explain George W. Bush.
Mr. Bush, we are not With you –
And We Stand Against You!! It is time to leave Office…
DO WE want to maintain another Hitler in office? Do we want this man making law and imposing unconstitutional amendments upon his people and the world? Because if he does it – the world is watching and you know, the only reason Hitler was so successful at what he did in the Holocaust, was because the people listened to him, and if the American President can do what he is doing, that gives free reign to other leaders to do the same!!! Bush still has the ears of many world leaders, who are not MAN or WOMAN enough to say NO! We will not follow you. So what do we do?
There are some in power who would see people determined to be locked down and subjugated. That is already happening all over the globe, in many countries. Darfur, Sudan and in other areas of Africa, people are corralled into camps, with no water, electricity or better yet SHELTER. People are being slaughtered by militia men. We need to stop them and the killing needs to end. Genocide is happening in OUR time once again, and on many fronts, we must stop the genocide because:
“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”
In the Middle East, the most contentious area of the globe, not to mention Iraq and the Fertile Crescent area of the world including Afghanistan, the militias and the Taliban are trying to eradicate (on a mass scale) entire peoples akin to the likes of Adolf Hitler. If we prayed for the savior to come again and save us, this would be the time and the place.
We must now act, decisively and verbally. We need to lobby those who are in power to do the right thing. We need to Impeach the President. We need to stop the killing in Darfur, we need to stop the wars in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. We need people on the ground who can be trusted to help reconcile the factions that are fighting with each other and those factions who have fighting going on within themselves. We need ambassadors to get in the game and negotiations must be made to end the worlds strife and wars. If we don’t start this now, WHO is going to take our place later to hold those in office accountable for
“Crimes Against Humanity”
It’s not about who – but What is in this photo, read on…
There are too many people around the globe, being ignored. There are entire continents and nations of people that need to be cared for, not to forget those people in warring countries who need to be fed, re-housed and repatriated back to where they came from, those who had to flee to save their own lives. Rich countries sit back and say “we are doing all we can for those inside our borders.”
Yet on the European continent we know for a fact that there are disenfranchised peoples, in the millions, who are not being cared for properly because of the arrogance of status, ethnic superiority and ignorance to accept everyone for who they are not what form of dress or religious affiliation they identify with.
It comes down to the people to start the tide of Anarchy and Dissension. It is time to take back our land and our government from those who have taken it from us. They have been poor stewards of the land, the environment and of peoples. We must stop this – there is too much conflict in the world, so much that any “other” needs are being ignored at the expense of the whole, for a chosen few.
It Is Time to:
Bring the Soldiers Home – Stop the Wars. You either follow certain prescriptions here: (1) You bring ALL warring leaders to Justice, (2) Let them kill each other and save us the headache, or (3) You bring ‘Just’ Diplomatic Solutions to Warring Factions and Areas – and Sit Down and HAMMER out Peace Agreements and Co-Existence Clauses.
Isn’t it time to sit down and think and come to the realization that what war has done for the last 4 years has NOT worked, so let’s allow the Diplomats to work on Peace.
The Mission is NOT Accomplished.
Peace and Democracy has not been attained and WON’T be attained with the present course of action. WAR does not create Democracy – it Breeds Contempt, Rancor, Hatred and brings Division instead of creating Unity.
In Stopping Wars, Governments Agree to Equal care to all Soldiers repatriated home and for their families. And Agree to Rebuild war torn areas with the funds used to carry out war, and Care for those most affected by the war in their Respective regions.
This applies to Canada and the United States and All Countries involved in wars worldwide. It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against WAR!! It is NOT Unpatriotic to stand against a President or a sitting Prime Minister.
Democracy is built on the premise of government for the people by the people !! Well People need to start speaking out for Change…
The ‘People’ are being AND have been hugely ignored, save those who support the puppet in office and his cronies he protects. The Ship is Sinking – and is Going down. Who is going to save us? It comes down to us, those of us who are writing around the world, to speak up and ask each and every one of our readers to join this movement. To call your leaders and rulers to task, to make them accountable not only to you the citizens of the country that you reside in, but also to the immigrants who have resettled there as well. Leaders need to be accountable to the earth as well.
Or We Shall Pay when Catastrophe Occurs
We cannot remain self absorbed and self centered. We must step beyond the borders of nationalism and ethnic superiority. We all must be made equal, in that we must begin to love and take care of each other and to become custodians of the world at large, and it begins with me. It begins with you. It continues with US. We must, with a resounding voice say “we have had enough of this…” It is time to end this.
Before We Kill Each Other Trying to create Peace !!!
We must become better custodians to the earth. If we stop the raping and pillaging of the land, we must stop the wars, we must stop the killing of innocents. We must stop the tide of suicide bombers. West and East must come together. The West and The East must agree NEVER to wage war again, however possible that is… We must find peaceful and RIGHT means to the future sustaining of the worlds populations. We MUST find an earthly solution, if we must, a heavenly solution.
“We Have Failed to Remember
and We Have Failed to Never
Let It Happen Again”
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
Survival in Auschwitz
It has been a quiet day today. I have the house to myself. I got some much needed chores done around the house, with musical accompaniment. At 5:00p.m. eastern time, Madge played Wembly in London. It was a great set from Madonna. She sang “Hey You” with a young peoples chorus, “Ray of Light” and “La Isla Bonita” and finally “Hung Up.” It was like going to the concert itself because she had all her dancers, props and even the stage set up for the runway portion of her music. Fantastic. I only video taped the last number.
If you are interested you can visit the “Live Earth.Org Site”
We started watching the concerts last night from Sydney. It is time to get conscious and start making a difference. I am waiting on the new Canadian Tire to reopen up the block before I start my Summer renovations. The “Tire” is upgrading and doubling its size in the mall, and we have some much needed renovations that need to happen as the sun has charred all of our window blinds and they are falling apart. Light bulbs need to be replaced and the new “green” bulbs are not cheap. But nonetheless, Montrealers are very active in the recycling and green initiatives. So we do our part. I don’t have a car so my carbon footprint isn’t that BIG!
So what will you do to change the world? And have you started? Share with my readers what you have done to help the planet. Comments are open and always appreciated.
Ugh. So it begins again.
This Friday I will begin these new drugs when my local pharmacy receives some of my meds. These four drugs based on my Geno-Pheno typing information on my last checkup tells us that these drugs used in conjunction should produce great results as my doctor is confident that this mixture of meds will work. He attended a seminar this week about these meds and studies have been very promising.
Some of the meds, as stated below are not YET on the market, even here, but I am getting them through expanded release on governmental approval, and a selection process based on current lab work collected at the clinic site. Drugs released to patients on expanded release are closely monitored and approved based on current labs that will be checked every six weeks, once treatment has begun.
I have to drop labs once this week for baseline numbers – then repeat labs every six weeks after treatment begins.
I have already begun to loose weight now that I am off the Zerit, Videx EC and Viracept regimen that I was on. I have been on a drug vacation for a month now, as my body is starting to change. I am also on a new diet – less sugar, diet drinks and juices, and a lower cholesterol and carbohydrate meals.
Here is the drug information for those of you who might be interested.
1. TMC 125 (Etravirine) 100 mg. Twice a Day (BID)
What is Etravirine?
- Etravirine is in a category of HIV medicines called non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Etravirine prevents HIV from entering the nucleus of healthy T-cells. This prevents the cells from producing new virus and decreases the amount of virus in the body.
- Etravirine will need to be used in combination with other drugs. Clinical trials will evaluate its effect in combination with other drugs, including protease inhibitors (PIs) and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs).
What is already known about Etravirine?
- The etravirine dose being studied in phase III clinical trials is two 100mg tablets taken by mouth, with food, twice a day.
- Like other NNRTIs, etravirine might interact with other medications, including those used to treat HIV. It is important that your personal physician and/or the research nurse or study investigator be aware of all drugs you are taking, including those you buy without a prescription.
- It is expected that etravirine, when combined with two nucleoside analogues, will have strong activity against HIV in people who have never taken an NNRTI in the past.
- In clinical trials, the 800mg twice-daily dose was considered to be the safest and most effective. However, a new formulation of etravirine is being tested. Instead of 800mg twice-daily, the new formulation will allow for a much lower dose: 200mg twice-daily.
- It is not clear how effective etravirine is against strains of HIV that are already resistant to currently available NNRTIs. All of the currently marketed NNRTIs are highly cross-resistant to each other. Test tube data suggest that etravirine might be effective against strains of HIV that are at least partly resistant to any of the approved NNRTIs. But this cannot be determined until information from clinical trials is made available.
2. TMC 114 ( Prezista – Darunavir) 600 mg. Twice a Day (BID)
What is Prezista?
- Prezista is an anti-HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medicines called protease inhibitors. Prezista prevents cells infected by HIV from producing new virus. This reduces the amount of virus in your body.
- Prezista must be used with low-dose Norvir® (ritonavir) and in combination with at least two other anti-HIV drugs.
- Prezista, manufactured by Tibotec (a division of Ortho Biotech Products), was approved for the treatment of HIV by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 23, 2006. Prezista, combined with Norvir, is only approved for HIV-infected adults who have tried other anti-HIV drug regimens in the past. This includes people who have HIV that is resistant to more than one protease inhibitor. It is not approved for HIV-infected people starting anti-HIV treatment for the first time.
What is known about Prezista?
- Prezista has a different structure than other protease inhibitors and is active against strains of the virus resistant to other protease inhibitors that are currently available.
- The correct dose of Prezista is 600mg twice a day (two 300mg tablets twice daily) plus 100mg Norvir twice a day (one 100mg capsule twice a day). Norvir is necessary to help keep levels of Prezista high in the blood, which is very important for the drug to be effective.
- At the present time, Prezista is only approved for HIV-positive people who have tried other anti-HIV medications in the past. However, once-daily Prezista is currently being studied in clinical trials for HIV-positive people starting treatment for the first time (two 400mg tablets combined with one 100mg Norvir capsule once a day).
- Prezista, combined with Norvir, should be taken with food. The type and amount of food is not important. In other words, Prezista/Norvir can be taken with a full meal or a light snack.
- Prezista is recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for HIV-positive people who have tried and failed other protease inhibitors in the past. It is not recommended by the DHHS for patients who are new to anti-HIV treatment or starting a protease inhibitor for the first time.
- Clinical trials have demonstrated that Prezista is an effective option for patients who are not likely to respond to older protease inhibitors, especially when it is combined with other anti-HIV medications that a patient’s virus is still at least partially sensitive to.
- Prezista works best when it is combined with anti-HIV drugs that the virus is still sensitive to. However, this can be challenging for HIV-positive people who have tried several anti-HIV drug regimens in the past. Drug resistance tests, such as genotypic assays and phenotypic assays, and treatment history, can be very useful in figuring out which anti-HIV drugs the virus is still likely to respond to.
TMC114, now called Prezista, has since been licensed in Canada, while access to TMC125 remains restricted, and I am receiving it on expanded release through the clinic.
3. Integrase Inhibitor ( MK0518 – Raltegravir) 400 Mg Twice a Day (BID)
I am receiving this drug via expanded use through the clinic.
One of the critical steps in the HIV life cycle is the integration of the virus’s genetic information into the host cell DNA. This allows the host cell to turn into a “HIV factory” and produce many, many virions each hour. The enzyme integrase is the enzyme that accomplishes this task. Integrase inhibitors serve to stop this enzyme.
Integrase inhibitors are oligonucleotides, which are small segments of DNA or RNA that are synthetically prepared. Modified oligonucleotides can serve to block RNA/DNA interactions and modify protein or enzyme synthesis.
One drawback to integrase inhibitors is that it only has one chance to act for each cell. If it fails, any further attempts are futile since the genetic information is already incorporated. In contrast, NRTI’s have thousands of opportunities to act during the process of reverse transcription.
The integrase protein contains three domains:
- an N-terminal HH-CC zinc finger domain believed to be partially responsible for multimerization,
- a central catalytic domain
- a C-terminal.
Both the Central catalytic domain and C-terminal domains have been shown to bind both viral and cellular DNA. Currently no crystal structure data exists with Integrase bound to its DNA substrates.
Additionally, several host cellular proteins have been shown to interact with integrase and may facilitate the integration process.
Integration occurs following production of the double-stranded viral DNA by the viral DNA polymerase, reverse transcriptase.
Integrase acts to insert the proviral DNA into the host chromosomal DNA, a step which is essential for HIV replication.
Integrase catalyzes two reactions;
- 3′-end processing, in which two deoxynucleotides are removed from the 3′ ends of the viral DNA.
- the strand transfer reaction, in which the processed 3′ ends of the viral DNA are covalently ligated to the host chromosomal DNA.
Integration of the proviral DNA is essential for the subsequent transcription of the viral genome which leads to production of new viral genomic RNA and viral proteins needed for the production of the next round of infectious virus.
Essentially, integrase is a key step in allowing viral DNA to become a permanent member of the host genome. This integrated proviral DNA is then translated using host cell machinery (see translation) into viral proteins.
In November 2005, data from a phase 2 study of an investigational HIV integrase inhibitor, MK-0518, demonstrated that the compound had potent antiviral activity, and the manufacturer, Merck, is undertaking further clinical studies. 
It is important to note that there are currently no FDA-approved integrase inhibitors available to the public.
4. Norvir (Ritonavir) 100 mg. Twice a Day (BID) Protease Inhibitor
What is Norvir?
- Norvir is an anti-HIV medication. It is in a category of HIV medications called protease inhibitors (PIs). Norvir prevents T-cells that have been infected with HIV from producing new HIV.
- Norvir is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for the treatment of HIV infection in 1996.
- Norvir is one of the two drugs in Kaletra®. Kaletra contains the protease inhibitor lopinavir and small amounts of Norvir.
What is known about Norvir?
- The official Norvir dose for adults is six 100mg capsules twice a day. However, this dose is rarely used anymore because it is associated with a number of side effects. However, Norvir is still being usually used at much lower doses (one or two 100mg capsules twice a day) to help boost the levels of other protease inhibitors in the bloodstream.
- Norvir has been approved for use in children 1 month of age and older. The dose will depend on the child’s body size. The dose should be between 350 to 400mg per square meter of body area, twice a day. As the child grows, the dose will increase. However, the dose should not exceed 600mg twice a day. The starting dose should be 250mg per square meter of body area. Every 2 to 3 days, the dose should be increased by 50mg, until a total of 400mg per square meter of body area is reached. For children who cannot tolerate a dose of 350 to 400mg per square meter of body area, alternatives to Norvir should be tried. To learn about treatment options for children, click here.
- Norvir, even if low doses are used with another protease inhibitor, should be taken with a meal or light snack.
- Refrigeration of the Norvir capsules is recommended but is not necessary if they are used within 2 months and stored below 77° fahrenheit (25° celsius).
- All of the protease inhibitors are broken down (metabolized) by the same family of enzymes in the liver. In order for the protease inhibitors to be metabolized by these liver enzymes, they must first either slow down its activity or speed it up. All of the currently approved protease inhibitors slow down the activity of these liver enzymes. Norvir is the most powerful of all the protease inhibitors in this regard, even when low doses of the drug are used.
- In turn, Norvir can prevent other protease inhibitors from getting to the enzyme, causing levels of these other protease inhibitors to increase in the bloodstream. This can make the other protease inhibitors more effective against HIV. It also means that lower doses – or less frequent daily doses – of these other protease inhibitors can be taken. This is why low doses of Norvir are often combined with other protease inhibitors: to make them more effective and easier to take.
Before it falls behind the mountain. The sky wasn’t this dramatic tonight, but the sun was setting as the meeting let out and Louise and I were on our way, I just happen to look up at that right moment where the sun was blazing orange-red and was just atop the mountain looking towards the North. Between the trees, the church steeple and the mountain in front of us, Louise said to others standing outside the church
“Come quick and see the sun set, and for a brief moment, stop what you are doing and enjoy the moment.”
This is actually a photograph of a Montreal sunset.
The negative, petulant energy that has been so pervasive at our meeting has passed on and we had a clear night to navigate the wonders of sobriety. Aside from dogs in the church we didn’t have any other pressing issues to discuss at the business meeting, thank the Living Christ.
One of my boys was actually early tonight and we there to help us set up, which was a noted change from his usual pattern of fly in and fly out and stay distant. Tonight it was as if God has opened the little door into his heart and he sat and shared with us like never before which was fantastic. We have exorcised the bad juju from the room.
Interesting that a new crop of newbies are coming around. A woman shared tonight that she was diagnosed with cancer and that someone told her to “come to us” that we would help her – and that struck me. She actually said, amid the insanity of doctors and not drinking someone actually said to her, GO to Tuesday Beginners and share, and they will help you. I guess we are doing something right? A number of our women have been diagnosed and been through surgery, chemo and radiation so we have a very good group of strong women who can help each other and that support each other so well.
You never know who is going to walk down those steps on any given Tuesday. It seems that our work in the community has brought us some new blood and some new life and people to serve, albeit through a cup of coffee and some cookies and a kind word. A lot of people showed up for our “Meeting before the Meeting” which is nice, it is a time for us to get to know new people and talk amongst ourselves on the business of the week, how we are all doing, what we are all struggling with at the moment and we have some added time to share with members who might be in a rough spot. Our little practice of caring about others – having compassion is spreading.
Isn’t that one of the ways we stay sober? To show up and do service and to understand that sobriety doesn’t come on our time but on God’s time, and all we have to do is show up every week and open the door and build it, and they will come…
- All my boys showed up tonight
- We were able to help someone through just being there
- That everyone is well, and safe and serene
- I was able to share experience, strength and hope
- That new blood has been infused into our community
- That people come to us because they know they will find help
- The business meeting wasn’t a fiasco this week
- There is food in the fridge
- There is a roof over my head (I forgot that last night)
- and I have a warm bed to sleep in
- And we saw a beautiful sunset on the way home
- Being sober one can admire, observe and participate in the solitude and beauty of the seasons, the changing leaves, the whispering wind, the beautiful warmth of Summer
That’s all for now…