If your kid comes out to you

Benjamin Moberg hits the nail on the hit (gently) and references some wonderful people and efforts underway to support parents who come from conservative backgrounds about how to simply love their children in the midst of chaos and confusion.

if your kid comes out to you |

"At the Gay Christian Network there were a number of parents present wearing large buttons that said Free Dad Hugs! and Free Mom Hugs! ready with arms wide open for the kids whose parents cut them out. Told them off. Said they loved them, but hated their sexuality. In a quiet room of the hotel we were at, these proxy parents held these orphaned kids. Held them close. Prayed over them and told them they loved them.

I tell you, friends, resurrection always wins, even in the dark- for that matter,especially in the dark. God is near."
"Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention who is not a family therapist, who has (to my knowledge) no gay kids of his own, wrote a blog post about how parents should react to a gay son or daughter coming out to them. It was, as expected, unhelpful. But his post is nothing compared to John MacArthur’s video, in which he said that the Christ-like response to a child coming out is too shun them. To disown them. To, in John’s words, “turn them over to Satan.”

So, I thought I’d pen my own advice, from experience. This is for all the parents with closeted gay kids. These are words you need to hear.

If your son or daughter comes out to you, go to them. Hold them. Whisper your love and kiss their forehead and make them feel your love. Say it again and again and again because here’s the deal: The faith many of us were raised in told us this was a deal-breaker. That this love between you was not strong enough for this. And odds are, your kid is thinking there’s a chance you might not love them anymore and a chance that your lying if you say you do. If there was ever a moment to step up as a parent and love your baby, now is it. You don’t get a redo."


The end of gay history

John Aravosis talks about the strains on the fabric of the community of not-straight people and what it all means using the on-going attacks of Dan Savage by some in the trans community as an entre into his essay.

"If we don’t figure out how to continue the mission, if we don’t foster the relationship between Ls, Gs, Bs and Ts; between younger members of the community and their elders; between our brethren of different races and genders and sexual orientations and gender identities — if we don’t stop being, and making people, afraid to ask questions and talk about the things we might not understand and might not even agree on – I fear that, sometime soon, a good and important chunk of our community is going to take its big pink ball and go home."

The end of gay history


Antigay religion: How Catholics and evangelicals are coming to accept same-sex marriage.

"There will always be Christians, Muslims, and Jews who condemn homosexuality. There will be bigots, bashers, and demagogues. And in some places, particularly in Africa and Asia, there will be persecution and oppressive laws. But in this country, religious resistance is crumbling. It’s being overwhelmed by love, conscience, and a God who keeps creating gay kids, even in the most devout families. Over time, He will prevail." -- William Saletan

Antigay religion: How Catholics and evangelicals are coming to accept same-sex marriage.


“Capital in the 21st Century” is a game-changer

Another book to purchase on Kindle and read on my iPad. I am increasingly concerned about the shrinking middle class in the US and how the economic prescriptions of both primary parties utterly fail to address it.  It should be the biggest concern of the electorate and ties into the power of the moneyed oligarch's to destroy the goose that laid the golden egg.  We must find workable remedies and I will be voting for people and policies that address it with priority.

Welcome to the Piketty revolution: “Capital in the 21st Century” is a game-changer (even if you never read it) - Salon.com

"Piketty is a symbol of the increasing consensus among academic economists and political scientists about inequality and democracy. This consensus, which has been demonstrated in innumerable studies, reports and books already, establishes a few propositions: Inequality has been increasing in the United States over the past three decades. This inequality has been defined particularly by an explosion among the very top, be it the 1 percent or the 0.1 percent (or even the .01 percent). This concentration of economic power has coincided with an increase in political power for the wealthiest Americans. There are still some ideologues who dispute these points, but there are ideologues who still disputeevolution and global warming — best to move along.

Second, Piketty puts conservatives in a rather awkward position. Conservative values, like “opportunity,” “family” and “tradition” — which are broadly supported by Americans — were once the backbone of the Republican Party. Today, that tradition has been jettisoned by the GOP in favor of becoming a subservient vessel for the richest of the rich. Some conservatives have argued that inequality isn’t a problem because government transfer programs — Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare — reduce inequality. This is certainly true, but these are the same transfer programs conservatives are so eager to cut! So if conservatives wish to make this argument, they must implicitly accept that transfer programs work to alleviate inequality, and therefore that cutting them will increase inequality." -- Sean McElwee

On Gay Marriage, Intolerance Cuts Both Ways - or does it?

On Gay Marriage, Intolerance Cuts Both Ways | RealClearPolitics

This is an intriguing emerging perspective and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  Should the SBC been held to account for their historical support of slavery and, subsequently, segregation?  I believe so.  Their moral authority to speak to the current marriage equality debate is critically compromised precisely because of this history.  They were wrong on people of color. They have been and continue to be wrong about women in society and the church.  They're wrong about LGBT people and marriage equality.  Why shouldn't their feet be held to the fire as a matter of moral accountability? How does that get defined as "intolerance"? Seems Orwellian double-speak to me.

I think that opposition to marriage equality is fundamentally rooted in bigotry, however it is rationalized and justified.  I see no essential distinction between religious arguments in support of opposite-sex only marriage and the religious arguments in support of slavery and segregation.  Ultimately the arguments are repugnant and do a disservice to the very Gospel they purport to serve.  Using those religious-based arguments in the civil arena is especially a no-go. So, being on the business end of this kind of discrimination, we're supposed to simply let it go and not call the perpetrators to moral account?  I don't get that.

On a minor note, reading about what was happening behind the scenes of the 2004 presidential campaign is endlessly fascinating.  The public persona of President Bush apparently simply didn't match his private beliefs.  Politics at it's worst.


Leviticus Defiled: The Perversion of Two Verses | Scribalishess

"When you use a biblical book only to condemn but ignore it otherwise, that’s bibliolatry. You are defiling God’s word by using it wrongly and selectively. When you ignore a book filled with important (but difficult) theology only to appeal to it when it’s convenient, you are abusing it. This is biblical pornography—putting selected verses on display in a way that defiles them and uses them for your own perverted purposes..."

and later on

"Isn’t it interesting, that when Jesus quoted Leviticus, he quoted a verse about love (Lev. 19:18)? Maybe, if we’re going to pick one verse out of Leviticus to plaster on signs, that’s the one we should choose."

Leviticus Defiled: The Perversion of Two Verses | Scribalishess

by scribalishess

Mother of two beautiful kids; professor of Old Testament and Hebrew (Ph.D); gadget lover, Mac enthusiast, fountain pen collector and user, photographer, Fellow-Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.


"We must find the freedom to step over our wounds and the courage to forgive those who have wounded us. The real danger is to get stuck in anger and resentment. Then we start living as ‘the wounded one,’ always complaining that life isn’t ‘fair.’

Jesus came to save us from these self-destructive complaints. He says: ‘Let go of your complaints, forgive those who loved you poorly, step over your feelings of being rejected, and have the courage to trust that you won’t fall into an abyss of nothingness but into the safe embrace of a God whose love will heal all your wounds.'"

— Henri Nouwen: Here and Now: Living in the Spirit, 57-58


Griselda reflects on the GCN Conference

When He Hugged Me, I Just Fell Into His Arms « FreedHearts

Susan Cottrell is kind enough to post Criselda's reflection, the deep wound between her and her parents and how straight parents @ GCN reached out in a welcome way.


Stacey Chomiak reflects on the GCN conference

Experiencing GCN 2014 “Live it Out” « This is what I see.

I heard a lot about Stacey and Tam Chomiak during the conference but hadn't spent time with them.  They had a major impact with the animation they did for Rob and Linda Robertson's "Just Because He Breathes" and for their own breakout they conducted about recovering from brokenness in relationship.  What I like is that she takes you through her experience of the conference, the high points, and how it affected her.

Glad to hear another story of how *relationships* are fostered and strengthened through the ministry of GCN.



Susan Cottrell reflects on the GCN Conference

God’s Love Abundant at GCN Conference « FreedHearts

I worked with Susan during the service project and it was a joy to be around her even though we didn't get to know each other beyond acquaintance.  She's really written a book: "Mom, I'm Gay" about her experience with her daughter's revelation that she was lesbian.  I'm looking forward to reading the book when it comes out and it's great that she's a fellow Texan.


Christians aren’t being driven out of public life – they’re just losing their unfair advantages

Christians aren’t being driven out of public life – they’re just losing their unfair advantages

Robin Ince, a self-identified athiest in the UK, presents his perspective on the whinging of Christians (specifically citing Cristina Odone, a blogger at "The Telegraph") about their "oppression" in a society that is incrementally improving equality, especially as concerns marriage being extended to same-sex couples.   While I identify as a Christian, I think he makes good points as regards the expression of faith in the civil arena.

Money quotes:
"Just as some men bleat that they are the oppressed because of feminism, Odone confuses a loss of advantage with an act of oppression. This is the shock of those who are losing their divine right to dominate."

"As for practising her beliefs, Odone can do that, too. Same-sex marriage is not compulsory; it is very much an opt-in scenario. Cristina Odone will not be forced into a lesbian coupling, nor will she be forced to have an abortion – nor, should it become law, will she be made to embrace assisted dying, even if her death is agonising and the pain impossible to relieve."


Ty McCarthy Reflects on the GCN Conference

Ty McCarthy's reflections on the conference hit on so many things that I've found true and valuable over the years - the connections and sharing of stories being the chief among them.  I think he hit the nail on the head in this piece about what makes it so good.

Reflections on the 2014 GCN Conference | Ty McCarthy

Ric Alba

"I was ... involved in helping to alleviate the AIDS crisis, which had been caused in great part by society forcing gay people into closets.  [...] I can now let myself be known in ways I didn’t dare during the ‘80’s.  Everyone has the drive to be known and loved. [...] When you’re delivering to friends..., someone other than your true self, it’s nearly impossible to absorb the love people send you. It always feels like it was meant for someone else, and that you’re taking love under false pretenses."

An Interview with former Christian punk rocker Ric Alba - Red Letter Christians


God, Gays, and the Gilded Age: First Baptist Church of Dallas and the New Satanism

An article on First Baptist Dallas and the anti-gay animus (among other things) of their pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, who claims to speak for Jesus and, as a result, foments the most unlike-Jesus stuff in the culture.  Emily makes a provocative claim.

God, Gays, and the Gilded Age: First Baptist Church of Dallas and the New Satanism | translinguistic other

Money quote:
"No one’s point of view is objective, but over the years of pursuing an avid, albeit amateur interest in spirituality, I have arrived at a simple set of criteria I tend to rely upon when assessing the relative “goodness” of an organized religion.  For these purposes, I define “goodness” as the degree to which a religious body fosters those near-universal moral imperatives collectively described by a good many saints and scholars as the Perennial Philosophy, and my criteria are as follows:

1. Does this religion foster a sense of awe, wonder, and appreciation of the sheer amazingness of existence?

2. Does this religion foster a sense of interconnectedness and interdependence between all beings, both living and non-living?

3. Does this religion place a premium on love or compassion as its highest virtue?

For what it’s worth, the megachurch movement—as does the majority of evangelical American Christianity—fails the Perennial Philosophy test miserably.  Although the rhetoric of these denominations is cloaked in the idea of “community,” in practice they define their identity from an us-vs-them exclusion of outsiders (gays! liberals! non-Christians!)  Add to this the fact that the political ends they support often have the effect of encouraging environmental destruction and enforcing an economic system that helps the wealthiest among us accumulate more wealth at the expense of the poorest, both violations of criteria (2) and (3)."


Matthew Vines Announces 'God and the Gay Christian'

Matthew Vines Announces 'God and the Gay Christian;' Claims Book Will 'Radically Change' Talk on Being Gay in Church

Refuted?  Time will tell.  And citing Gagnon as any kind of reasonable authority.  Oh dear God - Christian Post, you're gonna get owned.

Lisa Salazar reflects on her conference experience

Lisa Salazar identifies as a Christian and started out life as biologically male.  She transitioned later in life and has written a book about her experience. This was Lisa's third conference.  We have a nodding acquaintance, passing each other like ships at sea intent on our relative purposes.  I'm grateful for the effort she makes to attend and willingness to share from her experience in the workshops she leads - no easy task for an introvert by nature.  Bless you Lisa and thanks for this reflection.

My Highs and Lows of Transgender Advocacy | IMPACTmagazine.us

Betsy Henning reflects on her conference experience

I met Betsy virtually after the conference though I do recall seeing her in passing.  With conference attendance reaching the 700 mark, it is really getting more difficult to spend quality time with old friends and continue to meet new (to me) folks.

REGENERATION: Processing...

Rachel Held Evans reflects on her conference experience

Good Fruit: Thoughts on the Gay Christian Network Conference

Shannon Ford, a friend from Mercy Street, came to the conference for this talk so I got to share it with her.  Rachel did well for a self-professed non-public speaker.  Her heart and thoughtfulness came through.

The thrust of her talk was that grace is inclusive ... it extends to me and also the Mark Driscoll's and Phil Robertsons of the world.  She doesn't like "ally" because that implies the side-taking in the culture wars.  She prefers "sibling" because it gets to our connectedness as family.  Good talk.  Short and Sweet with some powerful moments.

Being more reflective

I've been away from my blog for quite some time caught up and carried away in Facebook where I live and breathe.  But there's so much that I post there that I'd rather have squirreled away here for easier searching and finding.

My intention is to post here first about things that I read and experience that are more than in-the-moment, flash-in-the-pan tidbits. I might cross-post them then to Facebook or I might not.

My journey is also chronicled on my livejournal account.  Oddly, Livejournal has gained massive popularity in Russia.  Channeling Jane Leaves as Daphne: "I don't know why...."

I just got back from the Gay Christian Network Conference in Chicago.  I have somethings to process from that and my recent exit from the Ex-Ex-Gay Facebook group.  I think that I'll be doing that here as part of my exercise in being more intentional about reflections.

Blessings on the journey.