Friday Night with the Boys

Yesterday (Friday night) the guys in the service and sales department at my work place threw a little party at the end of the day. Alcohol and BBQ smokies were provided along with Danny’s DJ skills and a couple of Video games to play including soccer. It was a pretty fun time as we played frisbee, soccer on tv, danced, drank and ate smokies. We all let our hair down and had fun. I felt the most connected with these guys than I have ever before especially now that they know my sexuality. It wasn’t an issue. In fact, I talked to Brian who I’ve worked with for many years and he was completely ok with it and gave me a bear hug meant a tremendous amount to me. He wasn’t squeamish about hugging a gay guy and that spoke volumes about his character.

I’ve had my share of difficulties at this company but most of it was me dealing with personal stuff. I think after last night, I am more determined to work harder, do better and hope I can enjoy my job much more than I have before.

Perhaps another 16 years at ECM.

two persons holding drinking glasses filled with beer

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

 

 

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My Prayer for today.

An old friend of mine responded to a post I did on Facebook this past week. The post itself was

“A Letter to our Conservative Parents” which I thought was enlightening and helpful in understanding the younger generation and where they are. My friend responded with the usual “evangelical/ fundamentalist” talking points I usually see in those circles. I was surprised and I graciously responded in which he in turn replied with a “fire and brimstone” response.

It’s obvious he wont budge on his position and I am sad to see the anger come out in his writing. I decided to walk away and not respond any further.

I am saddened by the polarization of society in general. It started with politics then religion and it now seems its in most areas of life.

It scares me as I see our society continue this downward spiral and the evangelical community blames it on some sort of “end times” scenario even though they are responsible for most of the division that is happening. So stuck in their position, they wont even talk to the so-called “Godless Heathens”, isolating themselves just in case they get polluted by our evil ways….

Talking helps with understanding and acceptance or at least respect, but all I see is fear and hate.

Anyhow, life goes on and I am determined to make this another good day for myself and others around me..

My prayer today is to be a light to those who I encounter, that I would respond in a manner that is uplifting and constructive. I will not allow myself to get so self absorbed that I forget the greater picture. May my emotions reflect the God who lives in me, beside me and above and below me… 

AMEN

sermon excerpts regarding faith and human sexuality

Sermon Excerpts Regarding Faith and Human Sexuality

John Wilkinson, Pastor

Third Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY

March 3, 2019 (Transfiguration)

I have been thinking about our friends in the United Methodist Church a great deal this week, as well as our friends in the Roman Catholic Church, and, more remotely, the Southern Baptist  Convention, a confluence of news about church leadership and power and human sexuality.img_0693

My grandfather, my dad’s dad, was a Methodist until my grandmother won the coin flip at the wedding. My in-laws were United Methodist missionaries. One of my degrees is shared with two historically Methodist institutions. Some of my best friends are Methodist!

I have been thinking about them this week as their General Conference voted to extend prohibitions on LGBTQ ministerial service and marriage equality. I wasn’t going to say much. To put it crassly, it’s none of my church business. We Presbyterians took a very long time to get where we got, and where we are now is far from perfect. And even then, where we got took a toll, a significant toll, churches departing on one end of the spectrum and countless Presbyterians leaving across the years because their conscience would not allow them to stay. Or, staying, deeply closeted, hiding that very core part of who they were in order to serve, in order to persist.

Commentary is all over the place, even within the portion of the church world that disagrees with the decision. Should people stay? Should they go? What will the future look like? I have no wisdom to offer, except to reach out, as I have, either personally or on your behalf, to affected partners.

I always chose to stay, as did the churches I was privileged to serve, and never once considered leaving, or withholding, a theological commitment to unity and a political commitment to change within, and also because my own ordination was never threatened. Others chose to leave, sadly, sad for their own sense of being rejected by the church they loved and sad for the church’s loss of gifted leadership. We pray for the United Methodist Church without hoping to meddle, or condescend.

I was talking to a friend on Friday. He had been a Presbyterian minister, and a good one. He was outed, and then decided to set aside his ordination – a true act of integrity and courage. Later, when we changed our minds, he began the ordination process again, and is now serving, faithfully and well, in a congregation. Think about that story, and his journey, and those of so many others.

Every so often I am reminded that it’s good to re-articulate things, so here goes. Once you believe that people are, in the timeless words of Oscar-winner Lady Gaga, “born this way,” and once you decide that same-gender intimacy is no more or no less sinful than opposite-gender intimacy, and once you believe in baptism, and once you believe that the Holy Spirit calls who the Holy Spirit will call, then the rest is pretty clear, or so it seems to me. That’s not in spite of the Bible but because of it; it’s not a rejection of our tradition but an affirmation of it; it’s not an accommodation to the culture, but a transformation of it.

Lenten Small Group

Last Wednesday night was the last of the Lenten small groups as Palm

Sunday is this weekend. What did I get out of it… it have it say I got to know some people I didn’t know before, it helped me contribute the path I started on this year even though I did not quite fulfill all the things I wanted to do this past 5 weeks. It was a safe place to share and to hear others share. I liked it and I will miss it.

I am hoping that maybe we can all reconnect after and share our journeys together.

Wild Liturgy: Coats and Branches

I was struck by the fact that, in no part of scripture does it say that people spread or waved palm branches. None.

Radical Discipleship

6a167651-c512-4ffe-b21d-7ec8d18830b1 Poverty Weed at New Life Lutheran, Dripping Springs Texas

“They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ “
Luke 19 36-38

I’ll reveal my age perhaps when I relate the story of Palm Sunday in the church where I grew up.  The day beforehand, the women of the altar guild would gather with their daughters (we were all between 9 and 15 years old) to practice the art of turning large bundles of green palm fronds…

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Gay Christian

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On Thursday night I was able to meet up with an old friend of mine who I haven’t seen in over 6 years. It was such a joy to meet up with her again and share stories. We used to attend an ex-gay ministry together and where she moved on, got married and had a little girl, I eventually embraced my gayness and as a child of God. Her daughter is a sweet-heart and it was a pleasure to have met her.

Another ex-gay acquaintance was also with us, and it was good to see her as well, however the evening turned somewhat sour when she heard I had “come out” back in October. She went about asking me why I would identify as being gay and a child of God. she had already made up her mind and judgement ensued. Even though she was all smiles and concern, she couldn’t help but make a blanket statement on who I was and refused, and I repeat, REFUSED to listen or even give consideration of my story. In fact, as I was about to concede and leave our polarized positions as is, she then went about describing other sins such as stealing, murder, etc alongside my being gay! I asked if I was being lumped in along with murderers, liars and thieves, she indirectly did and said she could not even consider my challenge to check the scriptures. I threw my hands up and walked away. I was insulted by someone I thought was caring and she didn’t even realize what she did.

I’m fighting to keep from becoming angry and bitter over the whole situation. I’m sure she is not angry, but I can’t help but wonder what she thinks of me now… funny that I would think that when the whole coming out was an exercise of not caring what other people think. The sad thing that she would simply dismiss my testimony and say I am a thief, liar etc… very Insensitive, but I can relate because I was like that at one time and I grieve that earlier part me. How many have I turned off because of my self-righteous judgement under the guise of sincere concern?

I can walk away from this experience knowing, somewhat naively that not everyone will be in the same place as I am now, in fact I can relate as I was once in that position. We all have a journey and not all our journeys are the same. Some would like to think that we should all conform to a creed or dogma when in fact Jesus never said that. He preached love and acceptance. even to go as far as eating and drinking with “sinners”. It doesn’t condone the sin but simply recognizes the persons journey and where they are at that point in life. Over time, love conquers and can bring us to a place of repentance and freedom if we so chose to.

I left the church eight years ago, and in those years in the wilderness, the theology I was taught, slowly fell away as I questioned everything I had learned before. When I came back, I only had a residue of the old ways of thinking still clinging to me.  Yes, I was bound by other things that held me back, sins that hurt me and kept me from God, but when I finally embraced my sexuality, I was set free, made a new person, and I am freer than I ever was.

The sin that easily can besets us, falling short, not being our authentic selves is just that, sin, which Jesus overcame on the cross. My life is to walk it out, to learn, to grow past those things that pull me down.

I have been much happier and more open than I ever was. My friend commented that she has never seen me so passionate about anything, which goes to show how much this means to me. I am no longer bound by chains of religion and dogma that easily shames us and keeps us bound.

I’m still in transition as I discover new understandings of God his word and His Love for me.