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Home Coming – Elder Christensen

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Photo: Temple – Spencer right in photo.

Here’s the story of my homecoming! Thanks for the challenge and for the trip down memory lane.
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November 22nd, 2016, came so much faster than I thought it would. My mission seemed to end as fast as it had begun. The last few days where a whirlwind. We had to make transfer calls, pack bags, prepare the area for the next elders, and all at the same time, I was trying to process exactly what it would mean to go through such a radical change.

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We had a final devotional in the Laurier Chapel, and we all took turns sharing the highlights of our missions. There was not a dry eye in the room. It felt so good and hurt so much all at the same time. The day finally did come, and on the way to the airport, it felt unreal, as if it where all a dream and I was going to wake up any minute. I couldn’t believe I was going to see my parents and my sisters again after years being apart.
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We arrived at the airport, and I shook hands and hugged the same Elders I had trained with in the MTC two beautiful years earlier. I still keep in touch with every one of these lifelong friends. When the plane took off, I looked out one last time at the Saint Lawrence river, and had to hold back my tears. It was as if I were leaving home all over again. My friends and my family were down there. People that I loved deeply and was so sad to leave. I was leaving wards and branches that had loved me and my companions, taking care of us, supporting us in our work, and becoming lifelong friends.

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The first flight seemed to go fast, and we landed for a connection in Chicago. My layover was over five hours, so I had a long time to walk around the airport. I had so much on my mind, that I alternated between walking around and sitting quietly in the waiting areas. I thought about going to see a little of Chicago, but I just felt like I was too engrossed in my thoughts to enjoy any of the sights there. I just sat there thinking about the life I was leaving and the life I was starting. I also felt so tired. I realized how much I had been running on adrenaline for my mission, especially during the last months.
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I was working so hard that I hadn’t even had a chance to get my hair cut. It was much longer than I would have liked, and it probably looked a bit sloppy. I was wearing the same trench coat that I wore on my first night as a missionary in Joliette Quebec, freezing clear down to my bones and wondering how I would ever survive in this place where I could not even speak the language. Today was cold like it had been then, the same time two years ago.
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Missionaries stick out like sore thumbs to other members of the church, and several times, people would come up and ask “Are you coming or going, Elder?” It felt good to be surrounded by community even in such a strange place. The hours ticked by in that airport, and I started realizing just how tired I really was.

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I was drained to the core. My body mind and spirit had gone to their limits. Now that I literally had nothing to do but wait, it was as if my whole soul finally breathed a sigh of relief. I wandered over to my terminal and sat down, feeling like a washed up piece of driftwood. I somehow felt like I still had energy, not tired enough to try and sleep, but I was just worn completely out. I felt totally emptied. I don’t remember how long I sat there, in that weird state.
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I was jarred back to reality by a voice asking “Elder! How are you?” I looked up to see a lady, clearly a member of the church, holding half a pizza in her hand. “Elder” she said “I can’t eat the rest of this, would you like some?” She had hardly touched that Pizza, and it was probably a lie, but suddenly it downed on me that I hadn’t eaten in hours, and I was so tied up in my thoughts that I hadn’t even realized how hungry I was.

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I gratefully accepted and we started talking. As it turns our, she was not only going back to Idaho, she was in my same stake. She knew a lot of my friends. She new Ashton Wise and her family, my stake president, and many others. We passed about an hour waiting there. Another man sat down next to us, and we somehow started up a conversation with him. As it turns out, he was a youth pastor, and we had a great talk about God with him.
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Finally, the plane was ready, and I started the last stretch of my ride home. It went so fast, and I will never forget the feeling of passing down over Boise, and seeing the spires of the Boise Idaho temple lit up in the night.
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We touched down, and I realized that my parents were on the other side of the door. This sweet sister who had stopped to talk to me asked “Are you ready for this?” I don’t remember what I said, I was too excited now. I passed through the corridor, and through the glass doors I saw my mother for the first time in two years.
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They opened and there was a huge shout as I was welcomed home by a crowd of friends and family. There were posters, there were balloons. Mom hugged me first, then Dad, then my sisters. My lips were really dry, because I smiled so wide that I actually split my lip. My uncle and aunt with my cousins were there too. We drove home, and we talked about so much. It was late at night when we pulled into our driveway.

As is tradition in our family, we knelt down to pray together before we all went to bed.

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My Dad said “Spencer, it is definitely your turn to say it.” I said it in French, and as I spoke to God in that language that I had grown to love, the language of my family in Quebec, my heart was breaking. I stared up at the ceiling for a while, in my own bed. One of my best friends, who was also just recently home from a mission, was staying the night, and I was grateful to have him there.
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It still felt weird to be alone, and besides that, I still wasn’t released from being a missionary, so the rules of having to be with a companion 24/7 still applied. We talked a little before falling to sleep. We reached the same conclusion. It had been a hard two years. It had also been the best thing we had ever done in our lives.
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The next day, I called president Christensen, (no relation, but my wonderful stake president) to let him know that I was home safe and that I could be released. He was out of town, so he sent one of his counselors to formally release me. Now, when a missionary is set apart to begin his service, it is a very important, private, and sacred occasion.
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The stake president, who reads directly from the assignment given by one of the twelve Apostles, lays his hands on the missionaries head, usually with his/her father and everyone else in the family who has been ordained to the priesthood. He sets you apart as a missionary specific to the area of the world where you have been called by inspiration to serve, and blesses you with all the rights, powers and privileges you need to teach the gospel, along with any other blessings he feels inspired to give you.

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A release, on the other hand, is much more direct, simple, and even abrupt. President Nelson, the counselor who released me, came over to our house. We had a short talk about my mission, and we enjoyed catching up on each others lives.
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He then said, “Elder Christensen, are you ready to be released?” I said something about being ready. His next words stung. He said: “Then Brother Christensen, acting under the authority of President Christensen, I release you from your obligations as a full time missionary.” I instantly felt different. There was a moment of silence. Then he quietly said, “Its time to take off your tag.” I did so. I stared at it for a few seconds with a deep sense of loss.

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That next Sunday I was asked to speak in church. Christmas was coming and that was the spirit that prevailed that day. There were so many reunions that I lost count. Friends and family had traveled long distances to be at this meeting where I would report my mission.
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My grandparents, uncles and aunts, and so many friends were there. the meeting was about to start, so I took my seat on the stand next to the other speaker and my father, who was also my bishop at the time. Suddenly, I see Ashton Wise, one of my best friends, walking up the aisle.
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I jumped down to hug her and thank her for being there, and I remember being shocked at how thin and small she felt. She had just come back from a mission herself, and I could feel the difference. She was tired too. She had lost weight, and had a touch of laryngitis, so she spoke with a froggy voice. I wanted to sit down and talk about her experience, but I had to speak, so she went to the audience. I honestly had prepared very little for this twenty minute talk.
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I had a few notes, but I didn’t look down much at all. After two years, I had plenty of material. I did my best. I shared the funny moments, and they laughed. I shared the miracle moments, and they cried. And I did too. It stung so bad to have to come home from a live spent in the service of something so much bigger than me. I shed many tears.
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That was the beginning of accepting I was home, and that I needed to find my new identity in the work , because the work was only beginning.

Monday: You Cannot Enter

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What a difference a day makes …

Yesterday I was talking about Heavenly Father and the church and all that was good in my life and how “on track” I was, heading towards the finish line, as one of my Elders, leaves for home, in Idaho, next Tuesday.

I have been the subject of high level talks in the Church hierarchy. Over the weekend while we were all at the Stake Conference, my name came up in discussion between my Elder team and the Mission President.

Tonight, after family night, I inquired about that discussion.

Eyes turned downwards, and they broke the news to me, and this is what was said.

My Gay Marriage, my On Paper Legal Marriage in the Province of Quebec, Marriage is unacceptable. In order for me to become a card carrying Mormon member, baptized with all the privileges due … I would have to end my marriage and get an ANNULMENT.

In a word, well two words … ABSOLUTELY NOT …

I knew this was going to be the sticking point. I just knew it. But I was holding out hope, and giving my hope more power than I usually give my hope, because I know how ALL IN I can be and what happens when I commit to ALL IN, I get my heart broken.

Well, my heart is broken tonight.

I am very saddened that my Young Elder Christansen will end his mission next week, and my journey will be incomplete.

Heavenly Father has a plan, I’m not sure what that plan is. I’ve been encouraged to follow through with my studies and prayer life and allow Heavenly Father to do what He is going to do, because I am ALL IN.


Sunday: Part 2, Still In the Running

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Oh My Goodness, what a day so far. I was up with the birdies this morning, well before my alarm went off. I had two set, so I would get out of bed, at an ungodly hour, because I usually don’t do mornings …

I did some surfing. Last week, I culled my social media memberships, and deleted an entire chunk of stuff that was not serving me, or was a waste of time and energy, when I could be putting time into things that were actually good for me.

I got changed for my first L.D.S service at the Church in N.D.G. I met my Elders at the church a little early, so that we could chat before service. I shared with them my passage through darkness, and what the Scriptures said when I went to them.

NOTE To SELF: I should hit my scriptures early and often throughout the day.

I told them my fears of not reaching my goal. And I was reassured by both of them that I was still in the running, that they would prayerfully work me through the process and get me to my interview date, with “passing grades,” so to speak.

Crisis averted, My heart is full.

GREEN LIGHT !!!

We talked about how the enemy, when we are about to reach a goal, or progress in our spiritual pursuits, always attempts to throw stones at us, tells us stuff that will discourage us from moving forwards, so that we will either give up or we fail.

That is not going to happen to me.

I know where I am going, NOW, I know, I WILL get there.

We attended service in the morning, which was interesting. I love Hymns.

The one thing that bothered me was that too many people were cavorting in their seats, taking amongst themselves, and babies were screaming in the back, and it seemed, while the sisters were talking, not a whole lot of people were paying attention.

I just wanted to tap some folks sitting in front of me asking them to hush, and to give the speakers their full attention, because that was why we were there to begin with.

After service we broke into smaller groups for a teaching with a member of the church, Elders, Sisters, members and guests.

Then we all gathered in the gym, for the fifth Sunday meeting of families, and young people. I got to meet some folks who were also “investigators.” That is what they call folks who are coming to Church to be part of Church.

One man in particular I met, has been “In process” for many years, but seems, has not made a definite decision to become, PART OF.

I know I want “in” that community. I met lots of kind men and women. I am getting involved with upcoming conferences. I have my weekly teaching sessions that will get me to my Baptism in the Temple in the future.

I saw my friend Cedric after the final meeting and we chatted for a bit, which was cool.

He wants me to go to Utah in January for a conference. That would be sweet to be able to visit the Temple in Salt lake City as a full fledged member of the L.D.S Church.

Now I am home, waiting for the last activity of the day …

Sunday Niters.

Stay tuned …

 


Thursday – Is there anybody out There ?

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I know where I am going. I know where I have been. I know the way out, but I am not quite there yet. It’s like I am standing in front of the door of the church, and the door is closed at the moment, because it hasn’t been opened for me just yet.

There are steps I need to take, and people I need to meet and talk with, before that door is fully opened. I just need someone to talk to, someone to share with, someone who can be there and to listen.

I have heard the warning about “Disclosure,” that Heavenly Father will send the right people to us, when the time is right, and that we should not look to having conversations with people, who won’t necessarily accept or understand the finer details of the story I am living right now.

Right now, I have my sponsor who knows, I have my Elders who I have asked for help from, and for someone to talk to.

This afternoon, I had “The Discussion” with my best friend. He lives in another City, Ottawa, so he isn’t local, and if I want to see him, I have to go to him.

I had not really prepared what I was going to say to him, but I had an idea. I just was not sure that I would have the right words to explain all the details fully, or that I would be able to paint the right picture for him to look at.

He knows me, and he knows my story. We have spent months of Fridays sitting on his back patio, when he lived here, talking through a manuscript that, at one time, I thought would make a good book. I later decided that writing said book, was not a good idea, so I shelved it.

In my story outline were 5 threads. One of them is a Heavenly Father thread.

With that idea firmly sussed out between us, the story I told him made perfect sense. For over an hour we talked, and he did have valid questions, worries, concerns for my spiritual welfare, because he has seen me get burned before, and he does not want to see me get burned again.

He is walking with me. He gets it. It makes sense to him. And he supports this journey.

When I hung up the phone, I was emotionally and spiritually exhausted. In a good way though. I talked about my Testimony of Faith and The Atonement. I’ve studied the Plan for Salvation. Last night, I went over my scripture readings and I prayed.

I sent word to my Elders that I really wanted to know if there was someone who they knew who could be there to listen or to guide.

I listened to another story from Voices of Hope when I got home this evening.

I don’t have a map of the next steps. I don’t know what is going to happen. Or who is going to come into my life right now, to walk with me.

If there is anyone out there, who has time … Contact me. Please.

jeremy1350@gmail.com

You know, I sent two emails out over the past week. Neither of them have been returned.

I have an odd story, I am where I am.

I also know that if I don’t hear Heavenly Father myself, that the next step is to go and listen to someone who knows Heavenly Father, because words might come from them.

He always finds a way …

 


Sunday Sundries: Mother …

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Today Pope Francis Canonized Mother Teresa into Sainthood. What is begun in the church, usually follows certain protocol. And in most cases, the Church is always right.

Whether She is Right or Wrong …

Amid controversy and medical science, The Saint of the Slums was elevated.

I’ve studied the cause for sainthood for a specific handful of men and women, of the Catholic faith, so I am truly familiar with how the process works, how it is carried out, and just how exhaustive that research really is.

I have several books in my library that outlines each process for each human being who is being investigated for sainthood. In University I studied John Paul II. I’ve read every book that has been published, “In university” and “outside of university.”

The question of the validity of miracles that must take place, and are therefore attributed to each “saint in the making” has to be verified several times over. Now we must give the Church her times, because the process for sainthood is long and storied.

And that process has been modified and tweaked, and can even be put on a fast track. We’ve seen, in my generation, what direct sainthood acclimation looks like.

In the case of John Paul II, the day of his funeral, the crowds in St. Peter’s Square, made a direct acclimation to their church, that John Paul II be elevated to Sainthood. Once certain elements were satisfied, the process began to elevate him into Sainthood.

I’ve read the book, several times over.

Mother Teresa, was one serious woman, who was friends with the late Pontiff, as you see, if you scroll down on this blog, several photos of them together. I’ve read many books about Mother Teresa. And when I talk about her, I always raise the ire of those who think that I am blind to her controversies, I assure you I am fully aware of all the trash and vitriol that has been aimed at her and myself over the years.

I have a tattoo that I got on my right bicep on my tenth sober anniversary. It is a quote that came directly from the writings from one of her biographies, “Come be my Light.”

The words, “I Thirst…” was, on my first pass, attributed to the story told of Mother Teresa’s relationship with Jesus Christ, when Jesus, on the cross, says, “I Thirst.”

Mother Teresa was oft to talk about how we should thirst for God, ergo Jesus. I took the words from her book, and put them on my body. Only to later find out, via a sober member in the fellowship, who spent time IN Calcutta working in the slums with the poorest of the poor, that the words “I Thirst” are written on the wall, of the Mother House chapel in Calcutta, adjacent to the crucifix on the wall.

This quote is also attributed to Teresa of Lisieux.The “Little Flower.”

When I met said sober member at the Round Up in 2012, and we heard her tell the story of how she went to India, to the Mother House, wanting to meet Teresa, she was terribly shocked when she finally did.

On the fifth day of her visit, Mother Teresa arrived back at the Mother House. She had been away for some time. Lorna, a Manhattan socialite, and the first female auctioneer at the famed Sotheby’s auction house, went to Calcutta, in her fine chino pants, and pressed blouse, made up like a model and her nails brightly painted, approached Mother Teresa on her home turf.

What Mother Teresa said next changed her life and the way she approached the now Sainted woman.

Mother Teresa looked at Lorna and said … Why are you made up like that? Intoning that she was lofty in her approach and that she should sell her fine rich “things” and strip her nails, and give the money to the poor …

What an entrance …

Lorna died not long ago, I remember her fondly in sharing this story. It comes from her own book, The Camel Knows the Way … About her association with Mother.

Mother Teresa was shrewd in her condemnation of worldly things. Many have said that the Missionaries of Charity were/are rolling in money, that she accepted dirty cash from dictators and rulers that were not “above board.” That with all the money in the church or convent coffers she could have done much better, but eschewed wealth at every turn.

This is a serious taint on Mother. Not to mention other accusations that she shielded pedophile priests, with full knowledge of their transgressions. Well, let’s be clear on a few items of order as well … Mother Church, has also been complicit in the shielding and shuffling of pedophile priests from one parish to another, moving them around the countries of origin, and even bring some of them to Rome.

This is not in contention. This is truth.

Many high ranking Holy figures in the church turned a blind eye to abuse, because for some, that tainted the vision of the church, and the human being. And to acknowledge such abuse openly and directly, would be casting aspersions on Holy Mother Church, therefore God Himself.

Right or Wrong, this is fact.

In the pantheon of the Holy of Holies, facts and negative associations, it seems, are ignored on the face of it, not true… That does not mean that truth was not added to the cause for canonization. When all the data is collected, there is a “Devils Advocate” who’s job is to see the flip side of the process, insuring that both sides of an argument is written in the collected works and are bound for posterity and published for mass consumption.

There are many other aspersions I have read recently about the state of the Missionaries of Charity and their austere lifestyles and the lengths Mother Teresa went to, to maintain austerity at any cost, to the detriment and health and well being of her sisters.

The Church is going to do what she does, in spite of and sometimes blindly ignoring the negativity, knowing full well, what controversy exists, in favor of popular acclimation and the faith of community.

We see this notion in the story of George Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. In his story we see the merging of “popular faith of the people” in direct competition with “the faith of Holy Mother Church.” These are two different faith practices. Common in many places in the Southern Hemisphere and South and Central America.

One cannot remove popular culture and religious practice from the people, so Pope Francis, ergo George Bergoglio, had to find a way to marry the two traditions, to bring everybody to the table of Faith in the Church.

In India there is a multitude of faiths and practices.

Mother Teresa was popular culture and popular faith. This factor has to be recognized when we talk about her canonization, in just what this move does to appease popular culture and regional religious communities where she lived, worked and died and brings everyone together in one unified community.

Pope Francis has been making saints in higher numbers than his predecessors at the same time in their papacies. If you study the trend, Pope Francis is making Saints regionally, and for specific countries, and specific communities for specific reasons. He is recognizing popular religious practice, while maintaining Holy Mother Church standards for sainthood.

There is method, reason and rationality to this process, that you would only recognize if you did the research I have into Popes, Saints, and Holy people.

This is why I went to University, to be able to speak with authority on these topics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pope Francis prays in silence at former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp

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Francis passed under the gates alone, wearing white robes and skullcap. After meeting the survivors, he placed a candle at the Death Wall, where prisoners were executed by the Nazis, before continuing on his own.

The Pope stopped to pray at the prison cell of Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Catholic friar who sacrificed his life to save that of another man. The Church made him a saint in 1982.

Pope Francis knelt for many minutes in the underground cell, illuminated only by the light from a tiny window, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The Argentine Pope is on a five-day trip to Poland.

During a World Youth Day rally in the southern city of Krakow on Thursday, he urged compassion for migrants.

He told hundreds of thousands of people that “a merciful heart opens up to welcome refugees and migrants” – a statement that puts him at odds with Poland’s anti-immigrant right-wing government.

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Je Suis Catholique

Fr Jacques Hamel

Today, a 19 year old boy, walked into a church in France and murdered Father Jacques Hamel.

He was known to authorities, was on probation and was wearing a monitoring device.

Kermiche and a fellow attacker stormed the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, a suburb of Rouen, during morning Mass.

They slit the throat of the elderly priest before being killed by police.

One of four people taken hostage – said to be an elderly parishioner – suffered severe knife wounds, Mr Molins said.

The Sanctity of the Church was defiled today.


Pope Francis says Church should apologise to gays

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BBC Europe News

Pope Francis has said that the Roman Catholic Church should apologize to gay people for the way it has treated them.

He told reporters that the Church had no right to judge the gay community, and should show them respect.

The pontiff also said the Church should seek forgiveness from other people it had marginalized – women, the poor, and children forced into labour.

The Pope has been hailed by many in the gay community for his positive attitude towards homosexuals.

But some conservative Catholics have criticized him for making comments they say are ambiguous about sexual morality.

Speaking to reporters on his plane returning from Armenia, the Pope said: “I will repeat what the catechism of the Church says, that they [homosexuals] should not be discriminated against, that they should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”

Pope Francis said the Church should seek forgiveness from those whom it had marginalized.

“I think that the Church not only should apologize… to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by [being forced to] work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

In 2013, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said then.

Saying those words, does not change what the Catholic Church, still holds fast to, in Church teaching on the subject of homosexuality.

I will say that Francis, in my readings of him, He is Pastorally inclined to support many people, but the Church Minions, as old as they are, are still stronger than the Pope. Francis can say all the words he wants, but his hands are tied by the Curia to really make official change to Church Canon.

He may want to support, love and respect the LGBT community. But the men who sit in the Curia are old and set in their ways, and real change does not come easily to the Church that is as old as the Catholic Church.


RENUNCIATION

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I have come to the end of my road with “tolerance for those with different struggles.” I have come to the end of the road, trying to be a presence, in the Christian community, as a gay man. I have come to the end of my road, with intolerance by people who claim to love Jesus, but hate me, based on a 2000 year old book.

I have come to the end of the road with trying to be a First Class Citizen, in a world where today, the LGBTQ community knows for certain where we rank on the life spectrum, and just how INSIGNIFICANT we really are to a great number of people.

This LOW BROW, INTOLERANT, VINDICTIVE, REPUGNANT AND HYPOCRITICAL BODY OF FAITH – I am DONE with you.

Repugnant phrases like:

“GOD OPENED UP HIS ARSENAL OF GUNS AND KILLED THOSE FAGGOTS IN THAT BAR”

and …

“IT WAS ALL OUR FAULT THAT WE WERE KILLED BECAUSE GOD IS PUNISHING THE GAYS, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL PEDOPHILES.”

THIS IGNORANT INTOLERANT HATE SPEECH IS REPUGNANT.

I mean really, what kind of shit like this comes out of the mouth of a human being who professes to be Christian ?

I AM SURE THAT GOD, IN HIS INFINITE WISDOM, DOES NOT HAVE AN ARSENAL OF GUNS TO KILL ANYBODY.

And the height of arrogance, is that for some, who think they speak for God, across many religions, condemn us and speak of our deaths as if God ordained that action, that ANY God would ordain any action such as killing innocents.

I’ve spent my entire existence trying to find a place that I could just be ME. After half a lifetime of being told that it was an ABOMINATION to be who I wanted to be.

And I listened to a podcast today with a man who spoke about finding your life and moving forwards and letting go of people, places and things that no longer serve us.

In 2002, I was thirty five years old, and with two consecutive decisions, I made serious changes in my life, and crossed a border, to live the life I wanted to live.

Because for so long, I heard over and over again, that I was a mistake and should never have been born, then after that came the request that I just DIE ALREADY !

Over my lifetime, the continual occurrence of people telling me NO YOU CAN’T, is high.

I am ASHAMED to be associated with America. And I have been for a long time. If I did not need the government for certain reasons, that would have changed, long ago, but it is what it is.

I am so thoroughly FED UP with certain communities, faith and public, and I know that there are more GOOD people, than BAD people. Rafa said, that the minority opinion may be small, but they are VOCAL, and WELL PLACED.

I came to Montreal to find a life, and the life I have is truly more magnificent than I would have ever imagined the day I got off that airplane that April day in 2002.

Even now, after almost fifteen years sober, and a career in academia, in the beginning my advisors and professors, and my friends were telling me YES you CAN.

At the end of that road – when all was said and done, my advisors, my professors, and the men of faith involved in the rest of my life, all said the same thing … NO YOU CAN’T …

Being gay in the 2000’s is a hell of a lot better now than it was forty years ago. We have made great strides in social acceptance, and legal status in many places. And as soon a we were legal here in Montreal, we stepped into a church and made it official.

There are many reasons that life did not lead in the direction that I had hoped. “Faith in Practice” in four season territory, is a tough sell. There might be thousands of churches in Montreal one could go to, but getting to them in minus 20c cold is problematic.

So I could not fulfill a major pillar of Christian practice. I moved to another denomination where I was told YES you CAN. And for a while that worked for me. But I learned along the way that I was not intellectually stimulated by clergy or the congregants that I met. Even if that congregation was open and affirming.

I would attend social events, and discussion forums, and feel like the odd man out among CLERGY and their friends. There was a building I could go to to celebrate the Eucharist, but it didn’t go far enough for me because I missed an integral part of my faith practice and it might seem insignificant, but to me it means much, much, more.

The tabernacle is the focal point of why you go to a Catholic Church. The presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

These days, you don’t really find a tabernacle that is open to the public like it is in other places that I have lived. So that was a no go for me.

A very well known man, my first adviser, professor, and friend, the man who was the driving force behind who I would become, made the jump from Catholicism to the Anglican Communion, so he could be in full communion with a faith body where he and his partner were accepted 100%, lock, stock and barrel.

He attained Holy Orders in the Anglican faith, and our connection all but dried up.

I am only so tolerant when it comes to people and places. If I want something, or need something or someone, I know who to ask. And you only get three chances to do what I need. If I have to ask you more than three times for something and in response I get a smart ass remark, I’ve lost my patience for you and your institution.

At the end of my Theology work, when I completed my studies and wrote a thirty page prospectus for the Catholic Church in Montreal, I handed that work in and it got raved reviews and several promises by men high up in the hierarchy of the church, who asked me to prepare for some serious work in the church for my community. I was sure I was on my way, but in the end, what I got, again, was NO YOU CAN’T …

I have come to the end of my road with NO YOU CAN’T.

I have come to the end of my road with intolerant people who claim to love Jesus, but hate me – hate us. Now I know those numbers are smaller than those Christians who don’t hate us.

There was a time, during my university career when a certain Evangelical Church spent 18 months harassing and spamming me with hatred, because being Gay and Christian was in congruent and not possible because the Bible said it.

WRONG !

They eventually went away. It only took 2 degrees to get rid of them.

I read, I read A LOT.

My library is full of books of Popes and Saints. I know all the stories, and I know what I like and what I do not.

I’ve read every book that has been published on Pope Francis. Fr. George Bergoglio. I know what this man thinks, I know what he has said. I know the man he is. And Pope Francis has made grand gestures towards inclusion, but his hands are tied when it comes to the Catholic intelligentsia and the Roman Curia.

Old habits die hard, and the only way the LGBTQ community will ever get full inclusion is for the entire OLD GUARD machine to die and get replaced. That would take several generations, still …

I am still a Second Class Catholic in a church with over a billion members.

I know many good Catholic men of faith in this city. And I know what they all think of me. There are churches I could go to, and be fully accepted. Montreal is a very tolerant and open community where faith is concerned.

Living a BMW life, makes life a little difficult, getting around a city where a real car would come in very handy.

To This End … I no longer want to participate in a community where vitriol and hatred are everyday speak. I no longer can afford it emotionally, mentally, religiously, and spiritually.

I am sickened to DEATH with the hatred that is being meted upon our grieving community right now.

I am SICK to DEATH of this HATRED.

My heart is broken and I am emotionally shattered over the killing of all those young LGBT people. All those lives snuffed out by a deranged, unstable, terrorist.

I no longer want to identify myself with the Christian denomination.

I am done with you. Finished.

KAPUT !

My desire to be GOOD and to LOVE still exists. That’s what we learn in recovery. To love ourselves once again, and learn how to love others genuinely.

I am GOOD, I do GOOD for everyone I know, in the spirit of love and Christian faith and practice.

But my Christian faith is GONE. Forever …

WE are taught to be Humble and Kind. To be who WE really should be, instead of who WE had been.

And I find that the more I see innocents get killed because of Hatred, Ideology and Homophobia, my Christian belief in Love and Forgiveness goes right out the window.

And I am FUCKING ANGRY AS SHIT ! My Heart is Broken and I am shattered. And I don’t know where to go or what to do.

My Anger and Belief in Biblical Revenge and Retribution has clouded my vision and my heart and I am heartsick, and that can’t go on much longer.

Rafa, said I should sit on this and think. I’ve done all the thinking I need to do for now.

Now is the time for action, to do something, to find someplace SAFE to BE ME.

NONE of my faithful brothers and Ministers have said one single word of love or support, none of them.

Where are the leaders of faith when GOD seems to be M.I.A.

WHERE THE FUCK DO WE TURN ???

I SURE AS SHIT DON’T HAVE THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.

McGill Ghetto SHUL Passover

A long time ago, I made a faith profession, during my studies, that if I ever jumped the Catholic / Christian ship, I know where I would land.

I have a number and tomorrow I am following my heart and my soul.

I’ve asked myself many questions today, I’ve done my inventory, I talked it over with a friend before the meeting, and she suggested, I have a conversation and see where it leads me.

I don’t know where God is right now. Because He is not here at the moment, when the world really needs God.

I’m going to go look for Him, because He’s not where I was told He would be.

Tomorrow begins the next quest on my spiritual path.


Sunday Sundries … Easter Sunday

Mount-royal-cross

Skies are blue, the temps are up. It was a stellar weekend to be outside. It will be a week of Spring rain, to wash away all the leftover snow and salt from the sidewalks. Last night we sat a very small number, as was expected.

However, this evening, we sat a full house. We are beginning to see a merge of folks from the French meeting on Thursday, into the Sunday meeting in English. Over the last week, a gathering was held at my friends apartment building to introduce the forty five folks who showed up, THE WORK, as we do it.

And now, folks are lining up for sponsors, and appointments to begin reading the Book. This is a good sign. The French side is much more interested in The Work, than the English side is. Old timers, and people, who think they know whats good for them, debate the merit of The Work, from the perspective of …

I’ve read the book, just how much more information can you wrest from it ???

Our Answer … A great deal, if you read the book with us.

The last Sunday of the month, brings us right up to the Step of the month. And our speaker talked about Step Three.

Made a decision, to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.

Everyone, well most folks, in time, develop their own take on a Power Greater than themselves. For some, it is God. Yet for others, it is Not. For as many people that sit in any given room, on any given night, there is a conception of a Higher Power.

I just know that God is part of my life. I know that without a shadow of a doubt. Someone, beyond my scope of understanding, is calling the shots, because I am still alive, to this date. So what do I attribute this to? Good medication, a little Faith, a little God, someone who takes care of me and people who love me?

A little thank you for life in the morning, a little thank you at the end of the day, and a Heaping spoonful of gratitude, sprinkled generously throughout the day is the recipe.

If you aren’t praying, I wonder why Not ? And if you aren’t praying, it is a forgone conclusion that you sure as shit aren’t meditating.

They go hand in hand.

When most folks come, they are beaten into the ground. They have, in some form or fashion, said to the universe that, “I am beaten.” “I need help.” Those words have been said, in one way or another.

I’ve seen people come, and for YEARS battle with God, I’ve seen this happen. Old ideas run strong in pig headed people, who want nothing better than to hold on to old pain and grudges against God, that they cannot see the forest for the trees.

Those who never, or won’t let go, usually end up back out the door at some point.

If you are a drunk, or a drug addict, and you hit rock bottom, and you are still alive, then something, somewhere, did for you what you could not do for yourself, because you are here now. Does that make sense to you ???

There is something that keeps us breathing. In spite of all the damage we have done to ourselves. Maybe it is God, maybe it is not.

But I have come to the conclusion, for me, that there IS a God, and I am not He.

Let go and Let God they say.

For some, this is an epic battle for supremacy and willfulness.

I just know life works better when I step back and allow God to do His thing for me.

I know this, because I have all that I need. Without a drop overflowing.

He is Risen, Hallelujah !!!


Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

10-HeIsRisen( by He Qi, China)

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene – John 20: 11-18

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

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

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

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


The Pope – Why He is Against Same Sex Marriage – By The Book !

popeapologize-660x330The Great Reformer, Pope Francis. Austen Ivereigh

At this section of the book, I have just read, our writer is telling the story of how a then Cardinal Bergoglio, went head to head with the Argentine Government over Same Sex Marriage. And clearly states, in print, that the current Pope’s stance on gay marriage, was set well before he entered his pontificate.

The news that Pope Francis met with AND encouraged Kim Davis to “Thank her for her courage and to Stay Strong” is a strong black mark on this historical Pontifical Tour of the United States.

This is a blatant show of force, by the Pope, who does not live in a bubble, that there are issues that have been well trod in Bergoglio’s past.

Pope Francis is a very savvy man.

Who ever orchestrated this meeting, for whatever reason, meant for it to be a secret meeting. But the news that has since leaked out, someone in high places brought Mrs. Davis and her husband to the Papal mission in Washington D.C.

This is a blatant slap in the face for many of us who were wowed by Francis’ message of love, charity, inclusion and social justice. But like I tweeted earlier, The Pope’s stance on Gay Marriage was already set.

This is NOT new news, or a new church decision. It is a Papal belief that is ardent and strong, born out of reflection and contemplation, and solidly enshrined from the Bible.

We should not be surprised that the Pope can be so polarizing on certain topics. His entire history as a young man, a priest, Jesuit and now Pope, is one of contrast and contradiction.

Page 314 – 315…

… But that day another, private letter that Bergoglio had sent a fortnight earlier to the four Carmelite Monasteries of Buenos Aires was leaked – how and why is not known. Its dramatic language ensured that is dominated the headlines and eclipsed the public statement. The letter to the nuns had been described as a “dangerous tactic” that back fired. But it wasn’t tactic at all. It formed no part of any political or internal church strategy, and was never intended to be made public.

Bergoglio had an intense devotion to the Carmelite saint Therese of Lisieux and was close to the Carmelite nuns in Buenos Aires, He had great confidence in their power of prayer, and has often over the years sent the nuns letters asking for their prayers for this or that intention, especially when he was under pressure. This was no exception. “It was a letter in which he was sharing what was in his heart with his intimates, intercessors, in the language of spiritual people,” says Bergoglio’s close collaborator.

The Cardinal told the Carmelites what he discerned at stake in the same sex marriage legislation: a serious threat to the family that would lead to children being deprived of a father and a mother. It was “a frontal attack on God’s law”; not simply a political battle but a “bid by the father of lies seeking to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

He went on to ask for the nuns’ prayers for the assistance of the Holy Spirit “to protect us from the spell of so much sophistry of those who favor this law, which had confused and deceived even those of goodwill.” He had spotted the serpent’s tail, with all its usual telltale signs: hysteria, division, confusion, envy.

This was “God’s war,” as he put it later in his letter.

Allowing gay people to marry required that the ancient, natural, God given institution of matrimony be stripped of the very thing that made it a reflection of the divine plan: the bonding of man and woman, and the begetting and raising of children by their natural parents in a relationship of permanence and sexual exclusivity.

As Bergoglio put it in his official public letter, a law that recognized marriage as male – female did not discriminate but appropriately differentiated – appropriately, because a man – woman bond, like a child’s need of a father and mother, were core human realities.

To try and make marriage something else was “a real and serious anthropological step backwards.


Sunday Sundries – Papal Apology

popeapologize-660x330My problems and dramas, pale in comparison tonight. So we close the weekend with hope from The Holy Father. If his actions of late are true, and His words mean anything to anyone, this is the one issue that needs to be heard, acted upon and dealt with swiftly and decisively.

And we (read: I ) know that Jorge Bergoglio is a decisive and thoughtful man, when pushed to act he acted decisively. I would love to be a fly on the wall for the next series of discussions Pope Francis will have with his Vatican counterparts.

Goodnight.

Lifted From: Joe My God

“My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ, I am grateful for this opportunity to meet you. I am blessed by your presence. Thank you for coming here today. Words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered. You are precious children of God who should always expect our protection, our care and our love. I am profoundly sorry that your innocence was violated by those who you trusted. In some cases the trust was betrayed by members of your own family, in other cases by priests who carry a sacred responsibility for the care of soul. In all circumstances, the betrayal was a terrible violation of human dignity.

“For those who were abused by a member of the clergy, I am deeply sorry for the times when you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed. Please know that the Holy Father hears you and believes you. I deeply regret that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children. It is very disturbing to know that in some cases bishops even were abusers. I pledge to you that we will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead. Clergy and bishops will be held accountable when they abuse or fail to protect children.

“We are gathered here in Philadelphia to celebrate God’s gift of family life. Within our family of faith and our human families, the sins and crimes of sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret and in shame. As we anticipate the Jubilee Year of Mercy, your presence, so generously given despite the anger and pain you have experienced, reveals the merciful heart of Christ. Your stories of survival, each unique and compelling, are powerful signs of the hope that comes from the Lord’s promise to be with us always.” – Pope Francis, speaking today at a Philadelphia meeting with the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, family members, and teachers.