At Least Tell The Truth — Paula Stone Williams

I was in Palm Springs to present a keynote and workshop to psychotherapists who work with the LGBTQ population. My keynote was warmly received, as was my workshop about the evangelical church and its rejection of LGBTQ people. One delightful couple talked with me after the workshop. They are from a city in the west […]

via At Least Tell The Truth — Paula Stone Williams

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I Am A Christian, First and Foremost

pexels-photo-887353-1Back in 1984, I was on a spiritual journey. I believed in God, but had no frame of reference, and not much to go by except whatever I was taught at Catholic school. Then I met up with some wonderful people who embraced me, accepted me and loved me… No conditions. They were “EVANGELICALS”, bearers of good news, whose only objective was to win others to accept the love of God. As imperfect as they were and their theology, it was LOVE that drew me to them and ultimately to God through Jesus Christ.

Much has changed since then. I figured early on that I was gay and for awhile did not know how to reconcile my sexuality with the Divine. It was many years later that I met another group of people, who not only accepted me, but also affirmed me as a child of God and who I am as a sexual being.

Evangelicalism was, a part of the church which focused on making disciples, to share the love of God to all. It has now been associated with intolerance, exclusivity, and hate. It shocks me to see this next generation of leaders become so obsessed with having power and control over all aspects of our society. Kind of reminds me of a nation that is currently a theocracy… Iran.

After careful thought and prayer, I’ve made a decision…..

That from this day forth I will no longer associate with the term “EVANGELICAL” or call myself EVANGELICAL. With all that has transpired in the U.S. by some who make such stupid statements, all in the name of God, I can no longer hold to such a title. They have dragged the name, that to me, conveyed love acceptance, healing, through the mud.

I am a Christian first and foremost from a denomination that has made strides in being accepting, with their doors wide open to ALL, displaying unconditional love. God is bigger than any label we put on, both ourselves and the HOLY ONE!

I pray that Canada does not fall into this trap that we be the wiser and reject it.

@Franklin Graham.. your father was much more honourable and gracious (warts and all) than you will ever be. It was he who drew me to God almost 40 years ago and it was simply because he preached unconditional LOVE and the Gospel (good news). You preach hate and certainly not good news.

To the Island (Dec 1 & 2, 2018)

This journey started before dawn when my oh so trusty alarm went off at 7am. I should have gotten up then, but it was so comfy under my warm blankets so I stayed put. Of course that meant I would not make it to the 11am ferry. I accepted that and got out of bed later, made breakfast, showered puttered away.

Left the house earlier and killed some time downtown.

Wasn’t much to kill as I suddenly realized I had to get on the Canada line by 11:30 so I could make my 620 connection to Tswassen ferry terminal.

The Pacific Centre Mall was surprisingly quiet since the Christmas season is now in full swing! That was nice.

The 620 bus from the Canada Line to The ferry terminal was absolutely packed! Wow! Didn’t think a bus could hold so many people!

ride on the ferry was more or less non eventful but of course their Wi-Fi always sucks. Even cellular was bad as I was trying to get info on bus fares in Victoria. A fellow passenger graciously let me know the fare but when I got to the bus, they don’t give transfers. It’s 2.50 one way or $5 day pass.

I made it to Swartz Bay without much trouble and promptly made sure I was at the head of the line so I could catch the express bus. While waiting, I started up a nice chat with this older couple. They are from Langley and were on their way to watch the Christmas Truck parade which was to happen in the evening. It was a nice chat and we even caught the bus together. He was kind enough to lend me his battery pack since my phone was about to die and I certainly needed my phone to let my brother know I was on my way.

Funny, I never got their names. so sad.

It was fun riding the Double-Decker buses Victoria has. On my transfer to Langford, I made sure I was at the front of the bus on the upper level. 😉

I arrived at my destination with my brother waiting for me and we then drove to his place which was hosting a Christmas party for friends and family, kids and all.

Spent the rest of the day hanging with my nieces and nephews, after all the party goers left.

Later that evening we went out to watch the “Christmas Truck Parade” which consisted of a long line of trucks all dressed up in all manner of Christmas lights and decorations. It was quite the sight and fun hanging with my brother and his oldest son.

Next morning it was the usual routine for the Hayes family. Ken, my brother went out early to help set up at their church and the rest of us slowly got up, got ready and had breakfast. Ken came back, we all loaded up in the van then it was off to church.

It was OK as it was very evangelical and the speaker spoke “Christianese”… There was nothing offensive and he did emphasize the Love of God.

When that was all over, went back my brothers home and I had the kids open the gifts  I gave them and of course they were all grateful.

I definitely want to go back for another visit. I had hoped to visit each niece and nephew for their birthdays but I don’t think that is going to happen this year…. but I will make my visit and make it memorable for them.

I’d like to talk to my brother about how he can have a talk to them about the fact I am gay. That way they grow up to accept and respect people different from them. I hope we have that conversation the next time I visit.

In Which JK Rowling Teaches Us to Read the Bible

Tim's Blog - Just One Train Wreck After Another

[Today’s guest post from Brittany K. Hale explores reading Scripture as it was meant to be read, even with 21st Century eyes.]

***

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start (indeed). When you read you begin with A B C, yes? Yes, but it is not a simple step from learning an alphabet to advanced reading comprehension, not even in one’s first language.

Children learning “the quick, brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” must have some concept of foxes and dogs, not just know their letters, to understand the basic statement this pangram is making. Before a child can move from Little Golden Books about pokey little puppies to the Harry Potter series, she must also learn about the society in which she lives, and if she is not British, then a touch of information about that society would help. She must know about…

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An Epiphany

Strange.

one of Our exercises at this retreat was not to say anything to anyone for a couple of hours. There was to be complete silence. We were to be mindful of what was around us and to appreciate the little things in nature! We all went out for personal walks, taking in all that creation has to offer.

I was a little apprehensive about it since I don’t like People telling me to do things like this. I’d rather do it on my own terms.

I walked around the building, picked up half a rock, an old balloon and later a beer bottle with some beer still inside. I set them aside by the door but held on to the rock. I found another rock by the building but I felt that it should stay where it was.

I took another walk around the building, looked around and suddenly stopped.

Standing in front of me was this tall majestic white leafless tree. It brought to me Memories of my childhood when I would look Out my bedroom window and have conversations with an old gnarly dark tree. It seemed as almost it was the same tree but instead she was tall white and young! I sat under her until the lunch bell rang. Said absolutely nothing yet much was exchanged, like old friends catching up. It was all emotional.

I cannot explain any of it at this time but this was my old childhood friend, who I never realized I missed until today.

“Hello tree, missed you lots. Looks like life has been good to you. You’ve grown tall and healthy among such beauty and solitude.”

I’m not going to try to over analyze it or figure out anything for that matter. I will just let it be what it is and perhaps discover more later.

I Felt safe and protected, like a big sister (or brother) watching over me. Next to her was a larger tree, darker in colour, her brother perhaps? I was lovingly introduced and we spent some quiet moments together.

She left me a gift, something I could treasure. A branch stood hanging, obviously an old branch that had broken off. I managed to get the branch down, then peeled the old bark and gratefully accepted the gift.

Standing there, I realize the interconnectivness of all the trees around me. Everyone there had a reason and a purpose, that it all played in a slow moving dance, every spot the right spot, nothing to chance.

This was only a tiny microcosm of the entire universe. Galaxies spinning, stars exploding, planets forming. Everything there is a time and a season. (ecclesiastics 3)

I would like to add that I’m not a worshiper of nature but a worshiper of God, however I can’t explain this experience except perhaps it’s a way to illustrate the connection we truly have with Gods creation that we are not separate from it all, that there is a bond with all that is around us, including one another.

“Dying Daily” is a False Gospel

Tim's Blog - Just One Train Wreck After Another

Question: Which of the following statements is not taught in the Bible?

A) You have to die to self and live for God.

B) You have to die daily in order to live for Jesus.

Answer: Neither of them are found in the Bible.

How do people come to the idea that we need to keep dying for Christ? I think it’s because people want to think there must be something they should be doing, something that is on their shoulders when it comes to living the Christian life. Then they read verses like these and fit them into their preconceived notions:

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11.)

and,

I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:31.)

The problem is that those verses…

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Acceptance

converttopng

This past Wednesday I came out to the world through Facebook. Many already knew or suspected. Most of my friends knew since I interact with them almost daily but for those who I hardly saw or talk to, that post was for them. My boss at work knew as I came out to him last spring and the rest of the work gang, well, I think most suspect and it seems they don’t care.

We are in a completely different time than when I first moved out this way from Saskatechewan back in 1996! I was even surprised to hear from some of my friends way back. Some suspected and yet nothing changes. I am still friends with them and there has not been any negative responses at all. I am quite humbled by the fact that some who I thought might have misgivings or maybe even outright hostile were in fact accepting and genuinely happy for me.

I expected my friends here in Vancouver who did not know or heard it for the first time for me to be accepting, but back in Saskatchewan? That was a surprise.

It is so freeing and I hope this will pave the way for a relationship I can hold on to this time….

Here’s to my next stage in life….