speak to me of God

“I said to the apple tree: ‘sister, speak to me of God,’ and the apple tree blossomed.”  Nikos Kazantzakis ( attributed to St. Francis) 

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photo by DIDS

Don’t you think ours would be a much better, more peaceful world if those who profess a god could keep it this simple?  It’s as if my God is saying to me, “Just look around at the Creation which you attribute to me; it is there you will know me.”

Followers of the mystical path believe God is immanent, meaning inherent and indwelling.  From the moss under the trees to the king of the jungle to the man known as Einstein, the essence defined as God exists and propels the God image through all that was, that is, and that ever will be.  All that is necessary to know God is to look out the window and observe the butterfly fluttering, the bird winging across the sky, and the flower blooming.  Look at the bees pollinating, the farmer planting, and the mother giving birth.  Everything on earth contains the essence which some call God, others Yahweh, still others Allah, while many do not name it at all.  This earth is a continuum of birth, death and rebirth.  It tells us everything we need to know about life.  So why look to the heavens, or why dread hell, why sit in judgement of others, why condemn ourselves in attempts to earn God’s approval?  If that power which we label God did not approve and indwell, we would not be here.  No theology, no doctrine, no “ism” could save us.

 

PRIDE – conversion therapy

Living the PRIDE.  It’s not only about protests and political action, but also about enjoying the freedom to live as created.  There continue to be many who oppose that pride6freedom and would return America to the days prior to 1950 when the closets were filled with gay men and women who feared physical harm, incarceration and personal shame.  We’ve come a long way, baby, and those closet doors have been permanently thrown open never to be shut on us again neither by government nor religion.

But, some will try.  Conversion therapy is alive and well among fundamentalist Christian groups determined to “change” gays, especially minor children, to a heterosexual orientation.  Years ago this conversion used barbaric methods including shock therapy, aversion therapy and in extreme cases, lobotomy.  Being gay was not an acceptable family nor church circumstance.

Today’s methods, not as drastic, resort primarily to counseling and role playing in attempts to make a gay person straight.  Conversion therapy is, however, unanimously discredited by mainstream psychological and psychiatric associations citing the potential for severe emotional damage to developing young minds.  Many of those who condone this ‘therapy’ apply the delusional thought that the lifestyle is chosen and not innate.

Whenever this hypothesis is presented to me, my response is always, “OK, so you are a straight man/woman.  If heterosexuals were a 10% minority and you were directed to become one of the gay majority, either by will power or conversion therapy, could you do it?  Could you refute what has always been normal behavior for you?”

Usually the response is hands thrown in the air, a shrug, a scornful face and a few expletives as that person abandons his/her attempt to ‘change’ me.  I WAS BORN THIS WAY.  But even if my way of living were a choice, you, dear evangelizer, have no right to inflict your views upon me.  That’s the wonderful thing about freedom – we have the right to choose.  Choice is life’s golden ticket.

I have referred numerous times to the SPLC, a non-profit dedicated to exposing and c6fe7102aaf9242136b451907b02957d[1]prosecuting discrimination against minority groups.  Recently, it won a New Jersey case against JIFGA, Jewish Institute for Global Awareness, citing the bogus practice of facilitating gay to straight conversions.  Not only was JIFGA ordered to dissolve, it also will be paying the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and a financial settlement.  Follow the link above, JIFGA, for the full story.

 

PRIDE & God

god loves everyone….if not, She would have annihilated us by now…

“Why not?  Why not pretend for now that the Absolute (the Great Mystery, the Ground of Being) sometimes expresses itself in the body of a woman?  Pretending that God’s a dude hasn’t exactly worked out for the vast majority of the human family, let alone the animal and plant communities or the air or the waters.”  Mirabai Starr (1)

(1) cac.org

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STATES & CAPITOLS

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TGIF –  know what that means?  It’s Friday night.  No more TV news, no more politics, no more Democrats or Republicans, no more news from abroad, no more gut-wrenching scenes from our southern border, no more hatred on our screens.  Seize the weekend because it belongs to us.  Baseball, hikes, soccer, boating, picnics, swimming, vacations, family, loved ones and music.   Let’s kick it off with a refresher course on United States geography.  Can you name all the states AND their capitols?  Need help?

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PRIDE – men & monkeys

 

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As a younger man, about 28 years old, a friend and I had a house-painting/paperhanging business. (Yes, for those of you under 50 years old, wall paper was a popular decorative choice and could be very lucrative.)  We landed a contract with a successful building contractor.  He had several dozen employees, he was a respected community leader and  he was a member of good standing in the local church.   This job offered the promise of significant future work.

We arrived on the job site at his house just before he himself left for work.  Very affable and likeable, Tom always took a minute to talk with us before leaving the house.  One morning he offered the usual morning pleasantries before sharing a bit of information garnered from his church family:

“Boys, did you know that a study was done on a group of monkeys exposed to daily hard rock music?  Yep, the monkeys turned queer.”

My partner, a happily married heterosexual man guffawed and snickered.  I just smiled because at that moment I knew I would have to give up the hard rock which I loved or live my life as a gay man.

Here are two of my all-time favorites.  I promise, listening to it will not make you queer.

 

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PRIDE – acceptance

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Let’s get honest.  We all need to feel wanted and accepted.  It’s a human thing which most people are able to navigate effortlessly.  Helping us along the way to becoming respectable, normal members of our communities were parents, teachers, clergy, and friends, all of whom were well-intentioned in their guidance.  They unanimously wanted nothing more than happy, well-adjusted, heterosexual kids to grow up, find a calling in life and raise families just as they and generations before them had done.

That could be the end of story….and it is in some cultures.  But, in America, we grow up with choices, with the prerogative to love whom we want.  That right is protected by the Constitution and anti-discrimination laws enacted following years of protests, marches, beatings and deaths.  We are the USA and in this country no religion nor institution can deny our hard-won rights although some still try.

Growing up, we knew about those few freaks who did not fit into the community plan, those who moved to the city, those who relocated to another state to pursue their idea of happiness and fulfilment.  At the dinner table there was talk of cousin John living with another man in sin or of aunt Mary divorcing her husband to set up housekeeping with another woman.  They were not accepted, they were not considered normal and we quietly heeded the unspoken warnings concerning the criteria for acceptance.

So it is not surprising that this gay thing which troubled so many of us as an unacceptable, deviant lifestyle was learned at an early age.  Also not surprising is the revelation that ultimately the greatest challenge was not in gaining the approval of parents, teachers, clergy and friends, but rather instilling approval of ourselves.  The bigger issue became how to love me when so many obviously did not care about me, the person, but rather how to control me, the pervert.  We had to learn how to live a life with no secrets, no lies, no cover-ups.  In doing so, we realized that some people would withdraw their love, some would vehemently denounce us, some would try to cure us, and some would always disapprove.

But, we found others who could love us unconditionally and embrace the truth of our lives.  When being true to ourselves became more important than winning the approval of others, we finally became free to be the human beings we were born to be.

 

PRIDE – celebrating our differences

When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.  Barack Obama

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Have you ever watched the movie BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN?  The mountain settings are spectacular, the music is soulful and the actors do a terrific portrayal of two men discovering the truth of their lives while living in a culture which refuses to accept that love comes in a multitude of flavors.  The emotion is raw, the love is tender, the difficulties accepting alternative sexuality are real.  Check it out if you have not seen this award winning flick, but allow me to fast forward to the nugget of truth.  Ennis (Heath Ledger) could not accept the deepest love he had ever experienced – physical, emotional and soulful – until that love (Jake Gyllenhaal) was taken from him by the hatred and prejudice of men who lived their lives in an extremely narrow concept of masculinity and manhood.  Ennis realized in the final heart-breaking scenes what he had lost, but it was too late.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand with diversity and inclusiveness is an act of love which could save our world.  It means that I must extend an open mind to the differences of others just as I would want them to accept me with my distinguishing differences.  That is probably the greatest challenge a brother/sister of color, an American Muslim, or a member of the LGBTQ+ community will face in life’s journey.  It becomes too easy, having been a target of prejudice and derision, to  complete the circle of  hatred and intolerance, but we have to be better than that.

This excerpt below which I chose is graphic and profane, but so is life.

 

PETE BUTTIGIEG – candidate

By now, if you live on this planet, you have heard about Pete Buttigieg.  The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has splashed across our screens with an exciting, energetic message for a weary America and much needed relief for those of us who are viewing the currentPETE BUTTUGUEG Administration in absolute disgust and revulsion.  In opening salvos, the man who some say cannot possibly win the Democratic nomination has referred to his tenure as a Mid-west city mayor as more public service than the current President, his executive experience as more than the current Vice-President, and his military service as more than the President and Vice-President combined.  Mastering eight languages, the Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar who served in Afghanistan freely speaks of his marriage to Chasten, his husband.

Listen up, America.  The closet days are over for men like Pete and Chasten.  Some Americans do not like the lifestyle, some people are in strident opposition, but this country is in desperate need of guidance and direction from men and women who have risen above the slander and name-calling of a prejudiced minority with a message that will reset our destiny.  Whom we love and what we do in our bedrooms, whether gay or straight, is not the business of our government nor does it have bearing upon the multiple challenges facing our country.  The abilities and moral qualities this candidate brings to the race for President gives us a choice between a man with a moral compass and a President totally lacking that same compass.  It’s a no-brainer that Pete should be a bona-fide contender with the necessary credentials to challenge the current President.

PLEASE TAKE TIME TO LEARN ABOUT MAYOR PETE


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oh, for Pete’s sake

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Pete Buttigieg

A heckler yelling Sodom and Gomorrah at a Buttigieg rally in Des Moines, Iowa, was drowned out by supporters chanting, “Pete, Pete, Pete.”  Then from the podium came a response from the candidate.  Looking toward the heckler he said simply,

The good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, ” 

and then back across the crowd to his supporters, “but the Iowa caucuses are up to you.”

The amazing rise of the latest of Democrats to declare his candidacy for President in 2020, Pete Buttigieg has stunned pollsters by coming in 4th behind Bernie, Biden, and Beto.  Commentators have marveled that this scenario could never have happened just 10 years ago.  An openly gay man in a committed marriage standing in front of millions of viewers nationwide with the audacity to believe he has a chance to win the Presidency.  Unheard of!  Oh, how the literalists, infallibles, and inerrants must be flapping jaws .  Sodom and Gomorrah indeed.

“Did you see it, ” the thumpers must be muttering, “his husband had the nerve to give Pete a peck on the cheek in front of the cameras with the world watching?  What will people think?”

Just my personal and biased opinion, but I think the world might exclaim in gasps of relief, “Thank God those folks across the water have finally come to their senses.  The Yanks could possibly elect in 2019 an intelligent class act, a monogamous married man, a Rhodes scholar who served his country as a Naval officer in Afghanistan and then returned home to dedicate to public service.”

Yeah, I’m sure that’s what our European friends are saying because Pete Buttigieg, the gay mayor who publicly introduced his husband on national TV with a kiss does not rock their sensibilities nor ours nearly as much as the current political regime in the USA which protects a draft-dodger, a racist, a womanizer, and a liar.

The good news is that the condition of my soul (and yours) is in the hands Of God.  No man, no religion, no theology, no President, no world leader, no spouse, no friend, no pastor has a claim on what we know to be our truth.  Just let that resonate for a moment.  Do you feel the freedom, the assurance, the joy?  The chains are broken not because a priest or minister says so, but because the master of your life, and the God of my life have stepped into the picture and overruled all those who tell us that we are immoral, evil, misguided, unworthy and headed for hell’s fires.  That human assessment simply is not true.  If the book which you read for inspiration and instruction condemns you and if the people you choose as spiritual leaders condemn you, then you need to give up that funny book and its associated church, mosque or temple to find a  fellowship that speaks love and compassion.

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namaste rainbow