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Wounded Warrior Project

All is Right in the World

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I slept in today, UGH! But I did get to my evening class with Sara, my Celtic Christianity class, which I totally enjoyed. Sara’s classes are comfy and warm and cozy that you come in and you sit and allow the feeling to wash over you that “all is well in the world.”

That doesn’t speak of an easy ride mind you, but one of conscious thought and work. I have been reading the course pack and through tonight’s discussion we have learned a few things. That there is more to Celtic life than we may have known. That each reading in the book is set in its place for a reason.

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Imagine standing before a forest, you boys out West can better understand this than I can paint a picture, but Sara used the forest imagery tonight. And I remarked how each reading, if laid upon the one prior paints a picture in successive layers of reading, and information. And the readings tease you to walk into the forest and turn leaves over looking for further clues to the real truth of the Celtic.

We are invited to start exploring the forest for clues to our study for this term. It is not all so easy, and reading about the past – we must use our lenses of hermeneutic suspicion, to read each text and article with a critical eye. I used that term tonight, and Sara giggled to the rest of the class, “oh Jeremy, you are so clever, aren’t you!” I had to explain this strategy with my fellows.

It’s all good…

And my young warrior from the West came to visit! You can check out his blog, The Life of Robert Wesley, he is a very special friend that I have known for some time.  Joy of joys he has decided to continue writing!! YAY!!

On the way home I hit “Came to Believe” in time for the second speaker, just so I had some time to sit with myself and be quiet and listen to another speak about his trials and tribulations about recovery. I just wanted to sit and listen, which is always a good thing to do when possible.

Over all is was a great night. Now I am gonna hit some dinner and chill out…

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A photograph from the Portfolio of Robert Wesley from B.C.


Monday Night …

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I got some mail from London today and in it was a really wonderful gift from my Big Sis, needless to say I was amazed and overjoyed. I have really great family and friends, all over the world. It is far easier to love one another than to criticize or be hateful. So this little note starts off my gratitude list for tonight. Thanks Sis…

  • I didn’t drink today
  • I hit a meeting
  • I had a great day in class this morning
  • I saw some new friends
  • I did some writing earlier
  • I have great friends
  • I have a great life
  • Tomorrow is my Home Group
  • And I am right, and I am happy!!

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 “Oh to be this young and beautiful – again…”

So I was trolling my reads today and I ran across this picture over on DAN NATION, it seems he’s got a new job in the valley and I spied me some Chad Fox, isn’t he a cutie? Kinda makes me want to move out to the coast and join the Sunday Brunch Crowd! I even got an invitation from Dan the man himself!! I love me some CHAD FOX!!

What could be better than a room full of beautiful men on a Sunday morning? I don’t know about you but we don’t have that many good looking men here in our fair city! OMG!!

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The Forest, I love the forest. If you get a chance go over and take a look see at COOPER’S CORRIDOR, he has some beautiful writing and photos of his family from an outing this past weekend. Cooper is another fantastic read, no one should go without every day. He breathes such joy and wonder into my day, because he is such a gifted writer. I think this weekend we shall take a meander out to the green space and take some photos of our forest in the middle of the city (we call it Mount Royal). The real forest is far, far away from here up North.

From Cooper’s Blog: one of his favorite words, Forest:
“Because it is full of promise … because it is wild … because it is fragile … because it is strong … because it sings of simply being … because it is part of my bones and blood … The forest is in my heart”

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You can go read my friends and show them some love. First we have Steve, we call him Dr. McCoy, because he’s a Trekkie! I wrote a piece earlier for Arkano, he lives in South America and he is new to our little “Bubble of Love.” My read list, over on the Blog Roll is getting ‘closer’ by the day, as I noticed that many of my friends here, read over there and they comment as well. So please, if you like to look at beautiful men, and you are interested in fantastic reads, check out my read list. I have updated all the links and I am sure everyone will appreciate your visit.

Fall is on it’s way, it is 19c here and rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days! AS is the custom here in Montreal, the weather cools off, the rain comes, then we have our fist cold snap “in the city” then the leaves start turning in earnest. This photo above is a wishful prayer for Montreal in the coming weeks.

Tonight’s meeting was an experience. I heard what I needed to hear. I spent an hour doing nothing but be present and to live in the moment. My Monday night commitment to support “Came to Believe” persists. Things I heard tonight:

  • It’s all Good
  • Live in the Moment
  • Stay in the Now
  • At any time of the journey, you are right where you are supposed to be at any given location and at any moment on the time line
  • There are no mistakes in God’s time
  • Live and Let Live
  • Easy Does It
  • But for the Grace of God
  • Think, Think, Think
  • First things First

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I took a resentment to a meeting, and I left her there. But I will close with this little blurb on the Blog Nazi!! If you have a complaint about anything you see, read or perceive on this blog, please, by all means, let me know. If I have misrepresented Concordia University in any way, I haven’t heard that from any one. My disability and my student status is between my doctor, myself, my husband, my department, the government and the University and NO ONE ELSE! What I do with my education is my business. If you don’t like something on this blog, there are certainly other blogs for you to read. I am not changing my presentation or writing for anyone, even YOU Rebbecca.

They say in AA that acceptance is the KEY to all of my problems, and if someone has a problem with you, that – that is a direct signal that someone has a problem with themselves. And what YOU think of me is none of my business. If I have a problem with you then I need to look at me and find out what’s wrong with me. So you got a problem, first ask yourself what that problem is, and then fuck off…

I’ve never EVER had anyone complain about something I have shared on this blog, nor posted to this, my personal web log. AND I am not going to take horse shit from some chick who has an axe to grind with me so get the fuck off my blog! Oh, that felt good!

DO YOU GET THE PICTURE???


What is your definition of History???

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“May I speak freely Miss?”

“It’s just one fuckin’ thing after another…”

Rudge…


Religions of Tibet

Buddha with a view

More on this topic later this evening.

The Class is amazing. Many of my friends from last term are in the class as well. I really like my professor, because he brings real life stories from his visits to Tibet and surrounding areas of that far land to the classroom, so this isn’t just class, but it is a real life educational trip to a real place not only read about in a text book.

I’m tired so I shall write some more later. I don’t have class on Friday’s so we are back to regular schedule now. I get my 3 day weekend now, with Friday being cleaning day at home.

Talk to you soon…


Labels … Let us Reflect on them …

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

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Work Makes You Free …

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A Survivor from Buchenwald

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Yad Vashem – Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial

 

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Auschwitz – Concentration Camp

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Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon – Synonymous for AIDS

Pride Flag

The Pride Flag – Proud Symbol for all things Gay

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

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

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

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

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

 

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The Homosexual – Also Used during the Holocaust …

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

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

 

There weren’t only Jews in the Camps…

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The ACT UP slogan for Gay and AIDS circa 1980

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What Would Jesus Do???

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

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

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


Wednesday… The First Day

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Skool Daze …

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Today was a busy and exciting day for students across Montreal, as I am sure, in many other cities across Canada. It is Frosh week here in Montreal. Students are moving into dorms and the stores all over the downtown core are busy.

We spent the afternoon shopping like mad women. I started at skool to buy textbooks which are never cheap, but this semester a few of my books I was able to buy used which saved me a chunk of cash.

Theo 204/AA Christian Ethics:

1. Living with Other People – Melchin
2. Reason Informed by Faith – Gula
3.  Course  Pack – not available yet

Reli 398P/AA Religions of Tibet:

1. Religions of Tibet – Samuel
2. Tibetan Civilization – Stein
3. Religions of Tibet in Practice – Lopez

Theo 206/A – XT Origins:
Texts not available yet…

I noticed that there were many Holocaust texts on the shelves so I found a new copy of “Night” by Elie Wiesel, Elie is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I have wanted to read this text to put into my collection of Holocaust writings on my bookshelf, since I took Holocaust Studies last fall.

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Hubby and I set out for a shopping trip to Alexis Nihon Plaza, which is pictured above, the mall is just up the street from home. I wanted to get some new clothes, since we’ve been wearing the same duds for months. I have to say that Zellers is a great store – which is where we get a lot of clothing for the year. $85.00 bought us 5 new shirts in assorted colors and prints, which was fine with me. We also needed folders, pens and paper.

Don’t you love – back to skool shopping?

We bought a new printer for our computer, The HP Desk Jet 4160 model. It is sleek and quiet and really nice. It has all these great printer capabilities with bells and whistles. It came with an extended warranty which was on sale, all in total the printer cost $70.00.

We have all that we need for skool now, hubby still needs to get some books, and next week classes begin. I have resigned from The Common Ground and shut down the blog, because I’m not going to deal with school girl drama. So that’s that for today. Maybe I will write some more later tonight, I haven’t done my reads yet today.


The End of a Season

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“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

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I make no bones about WHO I am, I make no bones about WHAT I am. I will not argue about sin or homosexuality again. I should have never engaged you in the first place, that was stupid on my part, but enough is enough. If you don’t agree with me then please, by all means, get the fuck out, I invite you never to come to this blog again.

I invite you, the Evangelical Christian, to choke on the scripture you read and I invite you to call God on the phone and ask him personally what He thinks of me, and I invite the first person who gets access to God to come and share with me what Almighty God has said to him or her about me. There is plenty of writing in my pages for you to consume, think about and understand about what makes me who I am and what I believe and how men of faith supported me when many of YOU condemned me. Who was right, and who was wrong? I am still here and my faith is all I have and that alone sustains and keeps me.

We shall agree to disagree on Sin and Homosexuality. Because until God drops out of his heaven to tells me to come home or stop, I will live my life, as I have lived my life, as it has been for years. I will stay sober, I will stay clean, I will continue my Theological Studies and I will be respected for WHO I am and not discriminated based on WHAT I am.

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I have meditated on yesterdays writing, and So I publish an abbreviated portion of that post for you all to read. Summer is at an end. And I am going to re-group and pull back my commitment to work with others, based on recent goings on. I am not pleased, but I will deal with it, like any sober member would. I stick to my base. I pray and meditate and I remember that I cannot help everyone, lest I loose myself in the process.

I’ve decided to add more academic courses to my schedule and that schedule is as follows:

  1. Theology 206 Origins of Christianity – Mon-Wed 10:15 to 11:30 a.m.
    Lucian Turcescu
  2. Theology 204 Introduction to XT Ethics – Wed 6:00 – 8:15 p.m.
    Fr. Ray La Fontaine
  3. Religion 398P (Special Study) Religions of Tibet – Thursday 6:00-8:15 p.m. Marc Des Jardins

I thought that I would add another class to my schedule because it is a special study section in the Department of Religion, and add to that Marc Des Jardins has spent time in the field during his Summers and I happen to like him as a professor, and I look forward to this class. I am taking care of me now.

What is said, has been said. What is done, is done. What is in the past is in the past. I have made my decisions, and thus my post written last night. Suffer the little children, they now rest in the hands of God. I am not going to suffer any longer.

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When I stay in my day and put the principles of AA into practice, I know that I am not alone in sobriety. This second chance at sobriety gives me insight/hindsight into the first attempt which failed. The first time I was living life – yet I was going to meetings. Both were mutually exclusive. With learning to live with AIDS back then, as life taught me, I did not incorporate the two worlds well enough.

This time around I did the right thing. I invested in my sobriety much more. I engaged the program like never before. When I came to Montreal, I had to invest time and life into staying sober because here you had to travel nightly to different places for a meeting. There aren’t many multiple meetings in the same location every night. They don’t exist except for two meetings, 7 a.m. Wood and 5 o’clock shadows.

I found a home group and I invested in that group. An investment that I honor today. When I got sober in Montreal, people invested in me, took care of me and gave me right guidance. Today I give back to that meeting. I invest my life around my sobriety. Life is worked around my home group and other meetings.

I do nothing during the hours I attend meetings. I do not usually make any decisions without first passing my ideas past another drunk. So it goes. Because I am invested in my sobriety, I usually stay ahead of the wave. And I have a bank of time and knowledge to draw upon when I need it.

I work with others and I invest in new comers. But I do not force my way into their lives, I have learned that force feeding an infant is pointless because they will only choke and throw up on you. I choose my battles wisely in sobriety. I hand off my number and my counsel wisely. And I sure as shit do not waste my time with people who don’t want it.

It is a waste of my time, talent and knowledge to try and work with someone who doesn’t want to get sober. That’s why I don’t have sponsees at the moment. I work best in the field where everyone has access before, during and after a meeting. I go to a handful of meetings and I serve others. I never say no to sobriety, because you must give it away to keep it.

With that said I have made a decision.

I can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. I can lead a horse to water, but I cannot make it drink. I can lead by example, but faced with current situations, I should have taken a more cautious approach. I was put into a no win situation. There are just some things I know in sobriety that translate into the world I live in like ENABLING.

Abuse is unacceptable. Lying is unacceptable. Pushing someones buttons to see how far they will lurch is unacceptable. If we allow people, children, and spouses to run rough shot through our lives with no concrete action of circumstances, then we end up being victims of the situation we participated in.

If we enable a child to run riot through the house and we enable a child to be disrespectful and ignorant, then we have failed them as parents. If we enable a spouse to abuse us, and we don’t extricate ourselves from bad situations, then we suffer the consequences of our choices and indecision to act wisely.

If a wife allows her husband to abuse her, and she does nothing, then she suffers. If a partner allows their significant other to abuse drugs and alcohol or us and does nothing then we call that enabling them. We also call that insanity.

I cannot help anyone out of a hole if I am in their with them.

I was invited to invest time, talent and experience into a project this summer, that has disastrously backfired. So I am going to apply the rules of sober engagement to this situation. In order to keep me level headed. I gave freely of what I had, and I invested hours, days, weeks and months into working with others, and what did that get me?

Lies, Deceit, Abuse and Disrespect.

I was asked to take on a challenge that has occupied me for some time. And I gladly did it, in the hope that I would affect change, what did that get me? Heartache. If we allow children to run riot through our lives and abuse us and disrespect us, verbally, physically and emotionally, then we have failed at good parenting. We have failed to be good stewards of our children.

If we enable our children to run riot and we enable them to continue disrespectful behavior then that child will grow up into a disrespectful and abusive adult. If we cannot step up and demand that things change and set the rule of law in our home, thereby allowing children to abuse us, then why bother being a parent in the first place?

If we spend countless hours teaching our children right from wrong, good from bad, acceptable from unacceptable, and we spend hours trying to figure out their motivations for lying, cheating and deceiving and we fail to stop that behavior, then we have failed to be good examples. If our children learn that they can run riot and be disrespectful and ignorant and petulant, and we do nothing, but sit and let them run riot, it is our own fault.

Brilliant gifted children who know the law, know the truth and know that there are consequences for bad behavior yet STILL they push us up against the wall and test our resolve to be good parents, role models and authoritarians, they have failed at learning where they fit into the family dynamic. I can only lead by example.

Alas, I have failed to be a good example.

Like new comers in the room, they think they know it all, yet they stumble. And it sometimes takes years to teach them the same lessons we learned ourselves. And with those lessons we offer them “quickie passes” to avoid the pitfalls, yet many choose to take the long and hard road instead of the learned road. That is why I stay away from newbies because they are usually fucked in the head for the first few months of sobriety.

I allow them to see me exist, participate and share experience, strength and hope with others, in the hope that they will want what I have and in time, they may accept me into their lives and at that point they choose to engage, I did not force them to engage.

Henceforth, I am not wasting another moment working with others, who disrespect me, do not listen to me nor want to change their lives for the better, even if they are challenged. My investment of time and talent came at a personal price, my sanity.

And my sanity is worth more than I get paid for.

When you want my help – you let me know, and only when you want to change. Because I am not wasting any more time, placating you or enabling you either. Kelly never called me back. So I guess I am not that important.


God's Warriors Part 1 – Judaism

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God’s Warriors – CNN Site
Tonight on CNN – Christiane Amanpour began her series called “God’s Warriors.” I happen to watch the second showing late tonight here in Montreal. This first part covering the Judaism portion of the documentary was very enlightening.

Having grown up with World News as a nightly dinner time fare, I have watched the world change in my lifetime. Wars have been fought, millions have died and still to this day there is conflict in the Holy Land. I am only going to address this first portion of the program as Islam and Christianity follow tomorrow and Thursday. You can visit the site above.

I make no bones about this fact that I am pro-Israeli. This conflict, it is said could be tempered by the “correct political agreements” for all parties involved, if you watched this episode of Christiane’s report. She chronicles the debate, the conflict and the war that rages between the Israeli and Palestinian people to find, colonize and legalize states.

There is a great divide when it comes to the Holy Land as the three major world religions those being Judaism, Islam and Christianity are literally on top of each other in the old city. All three religious groups share common holy ground and all debate the rights of others to visit certain holy sites. This is made clear by the Jews who pray at the Western Wall and are not allowed to ascend to the Temple Mount held by the Islamic faith at the Dome of the Rock. The hallowed location – it is believed that the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.

I am not known for my politics or my political writings because I don’t feel that I own the right to write political commentary on subjects that I am clearly not a master at. I guess I could write my observances as a writer to what I see. The battle for land has been going on since before I was born and this conflict will continue until leaders take the time to negotiate a proper settlement over land, holy sites and statehood. Leaders have come and gone, the few peacemakers of the past were assassinated by their detractors.

It just seems to me that there is enough land in the middle east to go around. The factions of Jewish warriors have made it their life’s goal to see Israel turned back into the land that they say “biblically” was theirs from history as the Torah speaks of. They take their stance from the Book of Ezekiel 37:14

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I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ “

I have spent my entire undergraduate career in University studying the world’s great religions from Christianity to Judaism, Islam to Buddhism and the far east Jainism back into my own back yard, religions of Canada and Native Studies. I have been granted a scholars gaze at the conflicts that spread around the world. Each major religion, speaking here of Judaism, Islam and Christianity hold certain biblical passages a doctrine and this, in my opinion, as well shown below is the basis for the ongoing conflict. Whether that be Jewish zealots and Islamic and Christian fanaticism. We are not immune to religious debate at Concordia University and we are not immune to religious conflict either.

There is a calm uneasiness on campus during the school year on the Mezzanine when groups rent tables to promote their views and clubs. In studying world religions, I was granted access to the many faiths on campus. I visited the Ghetto Shul for Passover and I attended Friday Prayers at the Concordia Islamic Prayer space in the Hall building. Attendance of these religious ceremonies was part of my studies and I am fully aware of what the facts are concerning land, statehood and jihad.

The conflict between the Palestinians and Jews is long standing. With the rise of Islam and the sad fact of jihad and terrorism, we stare down the gauntlet every day of our lives in many places in the world. This fact was driven home to me when I moved to Canada and began my immersion into community here. Montreal is a cosmopolitan city of millions of people who span the bredth of religious beliefs. I was forced at one point to make my choice of where I called home. I chose to become a brother of the True North Strong and Free. My education in religious conflict began when the United States declared war in Iraq. Living in Montreal gave me perfect vision of inner conflict in my own community.

Do you think that we all took this all is stride? That we did not march in the streets and did we not have continuous dialogue on campus and within all the campuses across Canada dealing with the common threat of war, revolt, terrorism and fanaticism? We faced all these things and much more. People in the United States, namely the south where I grew up did not see Islam make their presence known. I did not know a Muslim soul growing up but I had friends from other parts of the world.

Coming to Montreal was an earth shattering experience. I started university and began my journey into the world of Religious Education. It has been said of me that had I not been born a Christian, I would have been a Jew. And I contemplated conversion more than once during my university career. I love the three great traditions. I studied Judaism and Judaic History. So I am familiar with all the conflict in the Holy Land. We live with that inner conflict here every day. I am part of that conflict, representing the Christian branch of religious scholars now graduated. I use the term “scholar” very lightly, I am still a student of religion, yet above the fray, my degree grants me this title.

I took a unit on Islam, yet I failed the final exam and in turn I failed the class because I was stupid. That was the only “F” I have on my transcript. But this failure was the greatest opportunity that I ever had to learn something form the ashes of my failure. I met the most amazing man of faith – the professor of the class on Islam. He was a Sufi mystic. And he changed my life in ways that I cannot explain, but Islam is for tomorrow nights writing. Suffice to say, there is more to Islam than jihad and terrorism. I will expound on these ideas tomorrow.

There is always a solution, if all parties can come to the table and work out the fine minutiae and details of peaceful coexistence. It can be done, but in my lifetime?

That is the question the three faiths must approach, ask and solve…

You can read the report from News day.com:

We haven’t seen Christiane Amanpour in quite a while – in, oh, like 15 minutes or so. Flip on CNN and there she is, somewhere, though usually somewhere over there, in the war-torn world and far away from our safe, tethered and generally anesthetized lives. Outside of Anderson Cooper, Larry King or maybe Lou Dobbs, she is CNN’s most visible presence and someone who has amassed a pretty amazing body of work at this network over nearly 25 years.

If this doesn’t sound like a reasonable buildup for her six-hour tour of religious fanaticism that begins Tuesday at 9, then the fault is mine alone. “God’s Warriors” is an estimable achievement, even for a subject that has been relentlessly worked over by hundreds of scholars, journalists and book authors in recent years, including Amanpour herself. (It’s even hard to say how much of “God’s Warriors” has been strip mined by Amanpour before, although “Struggle for Islam,” which won her an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2002, addressed similar themes.)

But what’s special about “God’s Warriors” is the sheer totality of it. Over six hours, Amanpour and her team seem to capture the essence of a hugely important moment in world history, and with the exception of the title, do so without hyperbole or histrionics. It’s really the best of Amanpour – and really, dear, old, battered and much-maligned CNN, too.

“God’s Warriors” is about three world movements – though as you watch, you will probably want to come up with a better word to describe them. It’s about the religious zealotry that has forged so much of the global political landscape since the end of the Cold War. These “warriors” are fighting over radically divergent views while bound by some similar ones, too. In a paradox that unfolds over these hours, they are blood enemies on some obvious level yet strangely allied on another.

But Amanpour’s broadcast is far from comfort food. In a style typically restrained though never diffident, she explores the historical roots of these views that have become more pinched and close-ended over time. Offering no all-encompassing or compassionate solutions – at least in her reporting – the religious extremists are instead steeped in dogma and intolerance. Some of these “warriors” abhor violence. Others, of course, resort to it as a matter of course.

“What they have in common – Jews, Christians and Muslims – [is] the belief that modern society has lost its way,” Amanpour says in voice-over. “They say God is the answer.” (Tuesday’s broadcast is “God’s Jewish Warriors,” followed by “God’s Muslim Warriors” Wednesday and “God’s Christian Warriors” Thursday.)

What else do they have in common? Apparently an abhorrence for Britney Spears, who is made to represent Western culture’s over commercialized and oversexed ways. But West Bank militants are probably not deeply concerned about Spears’ recent car-ramming episode, although the “Christian Warriors” – evangelicals – haven’t exactly been advocating her album sales. The title itself is a silly stretch, too, placing under one all-encompassing catchphrase the kids at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University with the kids at some madrassa in Pakistan learning how to lock and load AK-47s.

Get beyond these superficial flaws, and a richly layered broadcast unfolds. Tuesday and Wednesday’s programs are the best, and “Christian Warriors” is the most dispensable. Much of the material in that installment has been reported so often – from Falwell, whose interview with Amanpour was the last before his death, to Ron Luce’s Battle Cry, the evangelical youth crusade. – that it’s already numbingly familiar.

But Iranian-born, globetrotting, battle-hardened Amanpour is at her best in the Middle East. She seems intent on interviewing everyone – patiently, at length, and pointedly. Tuesday’s Jewish “warriors” were inspired by the Book of Ezekiel (“Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers”) and refuse to be pried loose from their West Bank settlements spread out over 26,000 square miles. They’re fighting rear-guard with Palestinian militants and a frontline battle with much of the rest of the world, while some of their biggest allies are America’s evangelicals.

Amanpour also interviews author and historian Gershom Gorenberg (“The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements”) who questions the settlements’ legality. She presses Theodor Meron, former counsel of the Israeli foreign ministry, on a “top secret” memo he had once written claiming the settlements violated the Geneva Convention. (He sidesteps the question.)

Wednesday’s Muslim Warriors” is filled with dozens of interviews, too (former President Jimmy Carter appears throughout) and a long historic perspective. It begins with Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian religious leader who inspired Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri and died in an Egyptian prison 41 years ago. She tracks the story of Ed Hussein, a former London jihadi who later published a book on his experience (“The Islamist”). She also travels widely in Iran, where she attends a passion play with Shiite Muslims who weep openly over a 1,400-year-old story.

And her journey ends up in America, with a New Jersey social worker, Rehan Seyam – born and reared in Islip – who insists on wearing a hijab (veil) in public. Like many others of her generation, Amanpour reports, Seyam is more orthodox than her Egyptian-born parents.

But one of God’s warriors? Hardly. She’s squarely in the middle of society’s struggle between the secular and non-secular. The punch line to Amanpour’s story: Seyam and millions more like her are growing in number and have no intention of backing down.

Part 2 – Islam, Wednesday Night… Stay tuned…


God’s Warriors Part 1 – Judaism

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God’s Warriors – CNN Site
Tonight on CNN – Christiane Amanpour began her series called “God’s Warriors.” I happen to watch the second showing late tonight here in Montreal. This first part covering the Judaism portion of the documentary was very enlightening.

Having grown up with World News as a nightly dinner time fare, I have watched the world change in my lifetime. Wars have been fought, millions have died and still to this day there is conflict in the Holy Land. I am only going to address this first portion of the program as Islam and Christianity follow tomorrow and Thursday. You can visit the site above.

I make no bones about this fact that I am pro-Israeli. This conflict, it is said could be tempered by the “correct political agreements” for all parties involved, if you watched this episode of Christiane’s report. She chronicles the debate, the conflict and the war that rages between the Israeli and Palestinian people to find, colonize and legalize states.

There is a great divide when it comes to the Holy Land as the three major world religions those being Judaism, Islam and Christianity are literally on top of each other in the old city. All three religious groups share common holy ground and all debate the rights of others to visit certain holy sites. This is made clear by the Jews who pray at the Western Wall and are not allowed to ascend to the Temple Mount held by the Islamic faith at the Dome of the Rock. The hallowed location – it is believed that the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.

I am not known for my politics or my political writings because I don’t feel that I own the right to write political commentary on subjects that I am clearly not a master at. I guess I could write my observances as a writer to what I see. The battle for land has been going on since before I was born and this conflict will continue until leaders take the time to negotiate a proper settlement over land, holy sites and statehood. Leaders have come and gone, the few peacemakers of the past were assassinated by their detractors.

It just seems to me that there is enough land in the middle east to go around. The factions of Jewish warriors have made it their life’s goal to see Israel turned back into the land that they say “biblically” was theirs from history as the Torah speaks of. They take their stance from the Book of Ezekiel 37:14

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I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ “

I have spent my entire undergraduate career in University studying the world’s great religions from Christianity to Judaism, Islam to Buddhism and the far east Jainism back into my own back yard, religions of Canada and Native Studies. I have been granted a scholars gaze at the conflicts that spread around the world. Each major religion, speaking here of Judaism, Islam and Christianity hold certain biblical passages a doctrine and this, in my opinion, as well shown below is the basis for the ongoing conflict. Whether that be Jewish zealots and Islamic and Christian fanaticism. We are not immune to religious debate at Concordia University and we are not immune to religious conflict either.

There is a calm uneasiness on campus during the school year on the Mezzanine when groups rent tables to promote their views and clubs. In studying world religions, I was granted access to the many faiths on campus. I visited the Ghetto Shul for Passover and I attended Friday Prayers at the Concordia Islamic Prayer space in the Hall building. Attendance of these religious ceremonies was part of my studies and I am fully aware of what the facts are concerning land, statehood and jihad.

The conflict between the Palestinians and Jews is long standing. With the rise of Islam and the sad fact of jihad and terrorism, we stare down the gauntlet every day of our lives in many places in the world. This fact was driven home to me when I moved to Canada and began my immersion into community here. Montreal is a cosmopolitan city of millions of people who span the bredth of religious beliefs. I was forced at one point to make my choice of where I called home. I chose to become a brother of the True North Strong and Free. My education in religious conflict began when the United States declared war in Iraq. Living in Montreal gave me perfect vision of inner conflict in my own community.

Do you think that we all took this all is stride? That we did not march in the streets and did we not have continuous dialogue on campus and within all the campuses across Canada dealing with the common threat of war, revolt, terrorism and fanaticism? We faced all these things and much more. People in the United States, namely the south where I grew up did not see Islam make their presence known. I did not know a Muslim soul growing up but I had friends from other parts of the world.

Coming to Montreal was an earth shattering experience. I started university and began my journey into the world of Religious Education. It has been said of me that had I not been born a Christian, I would have been a Jew. And I contemplated conversion more than once during my university career. I love the three great traditions. I studied Judaism and Judaic History. So I am familiar with all the conflict in the Holy Land. We live with that inner conflict here every day. I am part of that conflict, representing the Christian branch of religious scholars now graduated. I use the term “scholar” very lightly, I am still a student of religion, yet above the fray, my degree grants me this title.

I took a unit on Islam, yet I failed the final exam and in turn I failed the class because I was stupid. That was the only “F” I have on my transcript. But this failure was the greatest opportunity that I ever had to learn something form the ashes of my failure. I met the most amazing man of faith – the professor of the class on Islam. He was a Sufi mystic. And he changed my life in ways that I cannot explain, but Islam is for tomorrow nights writing. Suffice to say, there is more to Islam than jihad and terrorism. I will expound on these ideas tomorrow.

There is always a solution, if all parties can come to the table and work out the fine minutiae and details of peaceful coexistence. It can be done, but in my lifetime?

That is the question the three faiths must approach, ask and solve…

You can read the report from News day.com:

We haven’t seen Christiane Amanpour in quite a while – in, oh, like 15 minutes or so. Flip on CNN and there she is, somewhere, though usually somewhere over there, in the war-torn world and far away from our safe, tethered and generally anesthetized lives. Outside of Anderson Cooper, Larry King or maybe Lou Dobbs, she is CNN’s most visible presence and someone who has amassed a pretty amazing body of work at this network over nearly 25 years.

If this doesn’t sound like a reasonable buildup for her six-hour tour of religious fanaticism that begins Tuesday at 9, then the fault is mine alone. “God’s Warriors” is an estimable achievement, even for a subject that has been relentlessly worked over by hundreds of scholars, journalists and book authors in recent years, including Amanpour herself. (It’s even hard to say how much of “God’s Warriors” has been strip mined by Amanpour before, although “Struggle for Islam,” which won her an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2002, addressed similar themes.)

But what’s special about “God’s Warriors” is the sheer totality of it. Over six hours, Amanpour and her team seem to capture the essence of a hugely important moment in world history, and with the exception of the title, do so without hyperbole or histrionics. It’s really the best of Amanpour – and really, dear, old, battered and much-maligned CNN, too.

“God’s Warriors” is about three world movements – though as you watch, you will probably want to come up with a better word to describe them. It’s about the religious zealotry that has forged so much of the global political landscape since the end of the Cold War. These “warriors” are fighting over radically divergent views while bound by some similar ones, too. In a paradox that unfolds over these hours, they are blood enemies on some obvious level yet strangely allied on another.

But Amanpour’s broadcast is far from comfort food. In a style typically restrained though never diffident, she explores the historical roots of these views that have become more pinched and close-ended over time. Offering no all-encompassing or compassionate solutions – at least in her reporting – the religious extremists are instead steeped in dogma and intolerance. Some of these “warriors” abhor violence. Others, of course, resort to it as a matter of course.

“What they have in common – Jews, Christians and Muslims – [is] the belief that modern society has lost its way,” Amanpour says in voice-over. “They say God is the answer.” (Tuesday’s broadcast is “God’s Jewish Warriors,” followed by “God’s Muslim Warriors” Wednesday and “God’s Christian Warriors” Thursday.)

What else do they have in common? Apparently an abhorrence for Britney Spears, who is made to represent Western culture’s over commercialized and oversexed ways. But West Bank militants are probably not deeply concerned about Spears’ recent car-ramming episode, although the “Christian Warriors” – evangelicals – haven’t exactly been advocating her album sales. The title itself is a silly stretch, too, placing under one all-encompassing catchphrase the kids at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University with the kids at some madrassa in Pakistan learning how to lock and load AK-47s.

Get beyond these superficial flaws, and a richly layered broadcast unfolds. Tuesday and Wednesday’s programs are the best, and “Christian Warriors” is the most dispensable. Much of the material in that installment has been reported so often – from Falwell, whose interview with Amanpour was the last before his death, to Ron Luce’s Battle Cry, the evangelical youth crusade. – that it’s already numbingly familiar.

But Iranian-born, globetrotting, battle-hardened Amanpour is at her best in the Middle East. She seems intent on interviewing everyone – patiently, at length, and pointedly. Tuesday’s Jewish “warriors” were inspired by the Book of Ezekiel (“Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers”) and refuse to be pried loose from their West Bank settlements spread out over 26,000 square miles. They’re fighting rear-guard with Palestinian militants and a frontline battle with much of the rest of the world, while some of their biggest allies are America’s evangelicals.

Amanpour also interviews author and historian Gershom Gorenberg (“The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements”) who questions the settlements’ legality. She presses Theodor Meron, former counsel of the Israeli foreign ministry, on a “top secret” memo he had once written claiming the settlements violated the Geneva Convention. (He sidesteps the question.)

Wednesday’s Muslim Warriors” is filled with dozens of interviews, too (former President Jimmy Carter appears throughout) and a long historic perspective. It begins with Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian religious leader who inspired Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri and died in an Egyptian prison 41 years ago. She tracks the story of Ed Hussein, a former London jihadi who later published a book on his experience (“The Islamist”). She also travels widely in Iran, where she attends a passion play with Shiite Muslims who weep openly over a 1,400-year-old story.

And her journey ends up in America, with a New Jersey social worker, Rehan Seyam – born and reared in Islip – who insists on wearing a hijab (veil) in public. Like many others of her generation, Amanpour reports, Seyam is more orthodox than her Egyptian-born parents.

But one of God’s warriors? Hardly. She’s squarely in the middle of society’s struggle between the secular and non-secular. The punch line to Amanpour’s story: Seyam and millions more like her are growing in number and have no intention of backing down.

Part 2 – Islam, Wednesday Night… Stay tuned…


Finding the Perfect Church…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is where it all starts…

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

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

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

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

He was always apt to tell me these key words:

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

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

****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

‘Perfect Church’

is but
‘Perfect Union with Christ’

AND

One day
A church will find its way to you

Because you will be ready to serve…


China frees 3 Canadian activists after Tibet protest

CBC.ca

Canadians, all from British Columbia, were demanding China pull out of Tibet

Three Canadians arrested by Chinese police following a protest at the Great Wall against China’s presence in Tibet have been released.

Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.

Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.
(Courtesy of Freya Putt)

The British Columbian activists — Lhadon Tethong, Sam Price and Melanie Raoul — left China after their release on Wednesday and flew into Hong Kong.

“It was draining, exhausting, psychologically traumatizing, although we weren’t physically hurt,” Raoul, 25, told CBC News from Hong Kong.
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Raoul and Price, both of Vancouver, were arrested Tuesday after they unfurled a 42-square-metre banner reading “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008” in English and Chinese from the Great Wall.

The banner adds three words — “Free Tibet 2008” — to the official slogan of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which began their one-year countdown on Tuesday.

Tethong, 31, was arrested Wednesday. She was not involved in the Great Wall protest, but she spent her time in China writing a blog and posting videos and photos online about what the group calls China’s “propaganda campaign” leading up to next year’s Olympic Games.

Five other activists — two from the U.K and three from the United States — were also arrested and released.

All the activists are part of Students for a Free Tibet, a New York-based group for which Tethong serves as executive director.

Tethong said the group knew their actions on the Great Wall weren’t legal and that arrests were a possibility.

Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.

Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.
(Beijing Wide Open/Canadian Press)

“We knew that was the most likely scenario, but it’s not like it was the goal of what we were doing,” said Tethong, a Tibetan-Canadian who was born and raised in Victoria, but now lives in New York.

“The goal was to raise the issue.”

“Some people might think that’s sort of extreme, but we would say China violating the fundamental human rights of Tibetans and their own people and the cultural genocide of Tibet is extreme.”

Police surrounded Tethong in front of an Olympic merchandise store in Beijing and demanded to see her passport. They brought her into a police station, where they showed her printouts of her blog.

“They definitely took jabs at me for being Tibetan,” Tethong said. “They were saying I have an an accent like a Chinese and I have blood from China.”

We were scared for her
Tethong’s sister, Deyden Tethong, told CBC News that she and her family were scared while Tethong was in custody.

“It was nerve-racking for us,” Deyden said at 12:15 ET, about 15 minutes after learning that her sister had boarded a plane out of Beijing.

“We were very scared for her, but at the same time she keeps saying, ‘I have a Canadian passport, so I know people are looking out for me.'”

Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.

Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.
(Courtesy of Freya Putt)

Deyden said she was surprised her sister was detained, since she was not part of the group of activists on the Great Wall.

“The activists that were taken off the Great Wall, that made sense,” Deyden said. “It was pushing the boundaries and it was illegal, but my sister, all she was doing was blogging about her feelings … and talking about what she saw and what she felt.”

Raoul’s mother, Valerie, said she is excited to see her daughter again.

“We don’t know when they’ll be coming back to Vancouver, but they know they’ll get a really big welcome,” she said.

Harper Promised to Help
The incident drew international attention, with videos of the Great Wall protest posted on YouTube. Prior to news of the activists release, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday that his government was working to gather information.

“We’ll be doing everything we can do to help and of course pointing out to the Chinese government — as we’re entitled to do — that such expressions of opinion are a natural part of the human rights that Canadians do expect in this country,” Harper said.

The Students for a Free Tibet group wants Tibet freed from China and say the Chinese government is using the Games to gain international acceptance.

The group also wants the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to push the case for Tibetan freedom.

China invaded Tibet in 1950, and in 1999 declared it to be an “inseparable part of China.” In 2004, a government policy paper said Tibet had always been part of China, and before the Chinese imposed direct rule, Tibet was “even darker and more backward than medieval Europe.”

With files from the Canadian Press


To Boycott or Not ???

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Tonight CBC News started a series of reports on the 1 year celebration in Beijing beginning today – the 8th of August. What will the world say to Beijing over the next year? We know that China’s record on Human Rights violations is something that can not be ignored.

Secondly, China’s support of the Sudanese government and the fact that China could make serious progress in helping the Darfur region conflicts. That China could save lives and chooses not to, just speaks volumes of how it sees the world not only in Darfur, but in their own back yards, and in Tibet. I think a release of Tibet and the acknowledgment of this sacred land would be monumental on China’s attitude towards the world. The widget will remain on my blog for the next year as we discuss this question in greater depth.

Our question today
and for the next year will be simple
Should we go to Beijing
Or should we Boycott
The Summer Olympic Games in Beijing China???
08-08-08

One World One Dream
From the Beijing Olympic site


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The Official Beijing Olympic Website

“One World One Dream” fully reflects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit — Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream. It expresses the common wishes of people all over the world, inspired by the Olympic ideals, to strive for a bright future of Mankind. In spite of the differences in colors, languages and races, we share the charm and joy of the Olympic Games, and together we seek for the ideal of Mankind for peace. We belong to the same world and we share the same aspirations and dreams.

“One World One Dream” is a profound manifestation of the core concepts of the Beijing Olympic Games. It reflects the values of harmony connoted in the concept of “People’s Olympics”, the core and soul of the three concepts — “Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People’s Olympics”. While “Harmony of Man with Nature” and “Peace Enjoys Priority” are the philosophies and ideals of the Chinese people since ancient times in their pursuit of the harmony between Man and Nature and the harmony among people, building up a harmonious society and achieving harmonious development are the dream and aspirations of ours. It is our belief that peace and progress, harmonious development, living in amity, cooperation and mutual benefit, and enjoying a happy life are the common ideals of the people throughout the world.

“One World, One Dream” is simple in expressions, but profound in meaning. It is of China, and also of the world. It conveys the lofty ideal of the people in Beijing as well as in China to share the global community and civilization and to create a bright future hand in hand with the people from the rest of the world. It expresses the firm belief of a great nation, with a long history of 5,000 years and on its way towards modernization, that is committed to peaceful development, harmonious society and people’s happiness. It voices the aspirations of 1.3 billion Chinese people to contribute to the establishment of a peaceful and bright world.

The English translation of the slogan is distinctive in sentence structure. The two “One”s are perfectly used in parallel, and the words “World” and “Dream” form a good match. The slogan is simple, meaningful, inspiring, and easy to remember, read and spread.

In Chinese, the word “tongyi”, which means “the same”, is used for the English word “One”. It highlights the theme of “the whole Mankind lives in the same world and seeks for the same dream and ideal”.


Academia – Theology

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Edited for content 8-13-09…

Today I am an official Student in the Department of Theology. The funky thing is the Certificate files under (Undergraduate Studies) YET, I AM a Graduate of the University. I graduated with my BA and now I am finished with that certificate this August of 09. I am now a “Graduate Student in the Department of Theology.”

I have paid my fees to the University to Confirm my spot in the department now. I have a desire to get back to school because this vacation is just dragging … I know, I will be regretting this later, but for now I wish we could get back to school.

Classes: This Fall 2007 –

  • Theology 204 – Introduction to XT Ethics (Wednesday’s – 6:00p – 8:15p)
  • Fr. Ray Lafontaine – (H-433)
  • Theology 206 – Origins of XT – (Mon – Wed 10:15a – 11:30a)
  • Professor Lucian Turcescu (GN-M100)

Classes for Winter 2007-2008 –

  • Theology 201 – Introduction to Theology (Wednesdays 6:00p – 8:15p)
  • Professor Marie Campbell (LS-320)
  • Theology 234 – XT Spirituality (Mondays 6:00p – 8:15p)
  • Fr. Ray Lafontaine (H-459)
  • Theology 320 – History of XT – The 1st Millenium (Tues-Thurs 1:15p – 2:30p)
  • Professor Matthew Anderson (CL-242)

Ministry

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“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.

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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.

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They are married in a coexistence of grace.

 

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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…

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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…