Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This vote at the United Nations is horrific, and some professing "Christians" have played their part in what could well turn out to be the genocide of Gay people in Africa:

Last week, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted on a special resolution addressing extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions. The resolution affirms the duties of member countries to protect the right to life of all people with a special emphasis on a call to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. The resolution highlights particular groups historically subject to executions including street children, human rights defenders, members of ethnic, religious, and linguistic minority communities, and, for the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation as a basis on which some individuals are targeted for death.

The tiny West African nation of Benin (on behalf of the UN's African Group) proposed an amendment to strike sexual minorities from the resolution. The amendment was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent....

...it was American evangelical preachers in Uganda who fanned the flames of what could turn into mass executions in a continent that has seen genocidal murder occur numerous times in the last two decades on the basis of religious belief, ethnicity, and membership in a linguistic minority (Burundi, Darfur, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Zimbabwe...).

[For the full article, see here.]
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Sunday, November 28, 2010


Three years ago, I wrote the following article that I want to reprint here:

A clergy friend of mine who no longer considers himself a "Christian," wrote the following that I wanted to share with you. He wrote: "My job is to be the loving arms that hold, comfort and protect the person longing for God. My job is to be the hands of the God who feeds the hungry. My job is to be the ear of the God who hears the cries of the marginalised and disparaged. My job is to be the heart that welcomes everyone to the Banquet of Love."

I responded with the following:

"If this isn't the very definition of the "Christian Life," I don't know what is! Rules, regulations, do's, don'ts, creeds, dogmas, doctrines, etc. have, unfortunately, become stumbling blocks to the the living out of the Gospel of grace, which has been replaced by the false gospel of legalism, perfectionism, and exclusion that has come to characterize most of the institutional Church. Those things, coupled with the preoccupation with incestuous socialization and building beautification programs, have caused most churches and denominations to align themselves with the State, taking their cues from those in political power; thereby, merely being handmaidens to those who oppress others.

"Christians worthy of the name must, and do, flee those oppressive institutions that are toxic to the spirit, and spit in the very face of God!"

Fighting for LGBT equality is enmeshed in fighting for the very soul of Christianity as it is also enmeshed in fighting for the future of our Democratic Republic. Only when we see this fight as of one piece, will we be able to truly have, and maintain, the fire in the belly to remove yokes of bondage, of oppression, from others, as we, ourselves, are quickly becoming "the other," and can very easily become "the other," if the quick and increasing embrace of one-dimensional fascistic thinking gains any more traction, and is not confronted for the menace that it truly is.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


When one suppresses his or her sexual appetites, one of the psychological consequences of that suppression is anger directed against others, usually those who are perceived to be a "safe" minority group to persecute. Often, that anger is falsely portrayed and seen as being "righteous" because the Bible is erroneously invoked to justify that anger; an anger that often paves the way to denying that minority group both civil and sacramental rights.

Therefore, it's no surprise when we read:

A German theologian says that much of the homophobia in the Catholic Church can be traced to the large number of gay priests who are attempting to suppress their sexual orientation.... "The worst homophobia in the Catholic Church comes from homophile priests, who are desperately fighting their own sexuality. Obviously, those who follow their urges are repudiated more fiercely when one is so painfully repressing that disposition oneself.”

[For the full article, see here.]

The German theologian, David Berger, says that he spent time in "conservative" Catholic circles where the imprisonment and murders of Gay people in concentration camps was praised. This scenario should come as no surprise to us, as the defense mechanism of Reaction Formation is a quite common occurrence in social life.

Whether it be a pastor who has had a checkered sexual background condemning Facebook for provoking what he views as inappropriate sexual relationships; a gay Roman Catholic priest condemning same-sex love and marriage; a virulent religious homophobe found to consort with a male prostitute, or any number of other hypocritical occurrences, we see that we have to focus our attention not on the homophobic rhetoric, but on the person who is virulently homophobic and using that rhetoric.

These hypocrites who engage in Reaction Formation are very dangerous people for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they are given credibility by gullible people, and they help set the stage for the suicides, assaults, and murders of LGBT people. Moreover, their rhetoric frames the argument that compels many Gay people to be on the defensive in their struggle to acquire all of the civil rights that heterosexuals enjoy.

There are people, some of whom are likely to be Gay, in positions of leadership in religious (and secular) circles who, if they knew they could get away with it, would countenance the murders of Gay people, as we see in Uganda.

When Berger heard approval of the imprisonment and murders of Gay people by the Nazis by "conservative" Roman Catholics, he was hearing the inner workings of those whose psychological health must be examined first and foremost, just as we must examine the psyches of homophobic clergy, and other clergy and professing Christians who are encouraging the draconian treatment of Gay people in Uganda and elsewhere; those professing Christians whose rhetoric and actions regarding LGBT people are diametrically opposed to Jesus' teachings.

Therefore, whenever we hear any homophobe condemning LGBT people, we must first and foremost question and examine the mental health of that homophobe, for only a mentally unhealthy person would bother him/herself with the love and sex lives of other consenting adults!
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Sunday, November 21, 2010


The following is an article I wrote last year that I'd like to reprint here:

On the Question and Answer section of his blog, Donny Osmond, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was asked the following question.

"Here is my question. How do you think Christians should respond to Gay friends who consider themselves 'Married'?"

Part of his response to that question is the following:

"There are many gay individuals that are members of our church. I know many of them. In fact, some of my best friends are gay. You ask how I react regarding their marriages. Well, I do support our Church leaders who say that we can accept those with gay tendencies in our church as long as they do not act upon their temptations. Everyone has tenancies [sic] to succumb to temptation, but we all have the same standard given to us by our Father in Heaven. Whether we may be tempted to be immoral with members of our own sex or of the opposite sex, we are expected to live chaste lives. This is very well explained not only in the Book of Mormon, but in the Bible as well."

Although Mormonism is not within the mainstream of Christianity, this one response sums up the "justifications" for a lot of the revulsion, despite all the sanctimonious rhetoric in the world, which many professing Christians have toward Gay people! I want to comment on significant parts of his response, as I think that his response gets at the very heart of what we're fighting against when we engage in the struggle for full and equal rights for Gay people; certainly including the right to marry.

"There are many gay individuals that are members of our church." Why any self-respecting Gay person would be a member of any organization, church or not, that discriminates against him/her and preaches that being Gay is in any way immoral, disordered, evil, a threat to the "sanctity of marriage," a threat to children, etc., is a mystery to me. He/she must have a tremendous degree of self-loathing that is superficially masked by proclaiming, "It's my church too."

Really? Can you preach from the pulpit that being Gay is healthy; faithful same-sex love is just as sacred as is opposite-sex love? Can you feel free to live as a Gay person within that church and among its members? Do you have the right to excommunicate people from “your” church? Get it clear: It's not your church too!

Gay people should flee those homophobic churches as fast as they can, lest those churches wreak more havoc with your psyches than they may have already done. It's not healthy for you, and just gives that church credibility through your very presence and through the monies you contribute so that they can turn around and use that credibility and money to continue to proclaim that your lives are "immoral" and "sinful" and that you deserve to be deprived of full and equal civil rights. Just get out of those churches, and either go to a church that is worthy of you and that embraces you as it does anyone else, or you're far better off not going to church at all!

"...some of my best friends are gay." Yeah! Right! With the feelings toward Gay people that he holds and expresses, how in the world could any self-respecting Gay person be his "best friend" or believe that he is their "best friend?" He's either deluding himself and/or others, or has as Gay "best friends" terribly self-loathing people who lack self-respect.

"...I do support our Church leaders who say that we can accept those with gay tendencies in our church as long as they do not act upon their temptations." Saying "gay tendencies" is equivalent to saying "straight tendencies." We don't have sexual "tendencies," but our emotional/sexual orientation and stimulation exist at the very core, the very heart, of our beings, be we Straight or Gay. He would never talk about "heterosexual tendencies," but feels free to talk about being Gay as being a "tendency."

He represents most professing Christians who are homophobic in that they feel that homosexuality is merely engaged in by perverted heterosexuals. They fail to see that homosexuality is as much a part of one's core being as is heterosexuality, and that mere suppression of those "tendencies" is not only doomed to failure, but even if one can suppress those "tendencies," the warped creature that emanates from all that suppression can cause, and frequently does cause, inestimable harm to him/herself and/or to others.

The emotional/sexual urge is so primal, so fierce within one's very soul, that to talk of "Gay tendencies" shows a woeful ignorance of both Gay sexuality and Straight sexuality. Both partake of the very soul within a person; each is just as integral a part of one's soul as is the other.

So, it's just as foolish to ask why a person is Gay as to ask why a person is Straight! Gay people are not perverted Straight people! And that fact must be hammered home to those who insist with oracular authority that that fiction is the case; that very fiction demonstrates their woeful ignorance of sexuality.

"...I do support our Church leaders who say that we can accept those with gay tendencies in our church as long as they do not act upon their temptations." That's not at all true! Just as in life, in the Christian life, one size doesn't fit all. God made each of us unique, and it's that very uniqueness that not only defines our humanity, but enables each of us to express the different gifts God has given us in ways that help others and glorify Him.

The only standard of following Jesus was given to us by Jesus, when He was asked, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus then answered, "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40)

Nowhere did Jesus ever advocate shunning another; depriving anyone of full and equal civil rights; denying anyone a seat at the Lord's table, save for the self-righteous legalists who in any way distort, through ignorance and/or malice, the only Gospel to be found in Christianity: the Gospel of grace or unmerited favor God freely gives to us through our faith in Him.

Hear the Apostle Paul: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) Elsewhere Paul asserts, "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:21)

The homophobic professing Christians fail to realize that they commit a grievous sin: they "frustrate the grace of God," and see themselves as "righteous" because they seek to articulate and impose on others God's "law," as they see it, a "law" that coincidentally matches their preconceived prejudices. However, when that "law" threatens their own interests, they "miraculously" receive "another revelation," as occurred when the Mormon Church in 1978 gave up its institutional racism; when the Mormon Church officially gave up the preaching and the practice of polygamy.

"Whether we may be tempted to be immoral with members of our own sex or of the opposite sex, we are expected to live chaste lives. This is very well explained not only in the Book of Mormon, but in the Bible as well." Many people view being Gay as being equivalent to being "immoral!" And that perverse view, of course, is learned largely from homophobic clergy and other religious leaders who rail from assorted pulpits throughout the world concerning the identification of being "Gay" with being "immoral," and with being "hedonistic." It is equivalent to defining heterosexuality by focusing on adultery and spouse swapping.

Homophobes have a vested interest in dealing with what they refer to as a seemingly "seamy" side of being Gay while at the same time focusing on the seemingly "healthy, family oriented" side of being Straight. It doesn't matter that it's Straight people who have put the myth to the oft used phrase, "sanctity of marriage," given rampant divorce rates. In order to maintain the fiction that Gay people are "immoral" and "hedonistic," homophobes have to engage in the irrational by blaming Gay people for the downfall of the institution of marriage.

If we are truly consistent in the mandate for Christians to live "chaste lives," it would do well to have them read Jesus' words in Matthew 6:27-28, as by that standard virtually every church would be empty. Moreover, such a personal moral sin as divorce is deliberately avoided by most clergy, as most clergy are not likely to condemn divorced people, lest their church membership dwindles and the financial contributions dry up!

Moreover, to say, "It's in the Bible," seeks to elevate and justify one's prejudicial mind-set that actually contradicts much of what is, in fact, in the Bible. In an article entitled, “Our Judgments of Morality,” that appeared in the November/December 1999 issue of "Whosoever," I wrote the following:

"Jesus as human was the consequence of fornication and whoredom, and He had in His lineage a murderer. The prophet Hosea was told by God to marry a prostitute. (Hosea 1:2) The prophet Isaiah was told by God to walk around naked for three years. (Isaiah 20:3) Can you imagine what the Church world, the Vatican, and we ourselves would make of all these events today? It is important to remember that God's purposes will be fulfilled despite the judgments of man, our traditions, culture, mind-set, and prejudices."

Things in the Bible, as in life, are not as simple and one-dimensional as the legalists would have us believe!

The more Straight people have occasion to know that members of their families, neighbors, friends, and co-workers are Gay, the more likely it will be that the fiction that Gay people are inherently immoral and hedonistic will be seen for the big lie that it is. However, to the degree that Gay people can be seen as "the other," even as "the enemy," it's to that degree that all sorts of irrational rhetoric, with the discriminatory actions that follow that rhetoric, will hold ascendancy in the psyches and actions of many professing Christians and others.

The attempt to impose such irrational views on civil society, and seek to deprive Gay people of basic civil rights, is seen as "justified" by the belief in the myth that Gay people and what Gay people do sexually is "immoral." However, knowledge of the truth must gain ascendancy, and that is currently very unlikely among many, if not most, professing Christians given the mind-sets of people who choose to blindly follow their homophobic clergy-leaders in both thinking and in actions; among those who lack a discerning and critical intellect, especially when it suits their own prejudices.

The definition of "Chaste" is as follows: "refraining from sexual intercourse that is regarded as contrary to morality or religion; virtuous." Being Gay and having faithful same-sex relationships is, indeed, contrary to a great deal of religious rhetoric, but the fact is that faithful same-sex love and relationships are every bit as moral and virtuous as are faithful opposite-sex love and relationships!

So many professing Christians and others miss this truth, and it must be continuously proclaimed to those who are not blinded by mere institutionally religious loyalties to homophobic clergy who insistently proclaim in their ignorance, and thereby show their ignorance, the very opposite of this truth!

Being Gay like being Straight is normal, healthy, life-affirming, Godly, and sacred! And all the homophobic religious leaders and their blind followers in the world can continue to spout their lies but will ultimately never successfully overcome these truths!

And in the not too distant future, all decent and intelligent people, Christians and non-Christians, will come to see the basic depravity of homophobic thinking, much as they now do with its cousin, White Supremacy, that was in ascendancy in this country not all that long ago!
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Friday, November 19, 2010


The excellent writer, James Baldwin, wrote that we must come to “…the realization that civilization is not destroyed by wicked people; it is not necessary that people be wicked but only that they be spineless.” (The Fire Next Time, Dell Publishing Company, 1964, p. 77) God’s apostles are not to be “spineless!”

It is spineless people, limited human beings, those who remain silent amidst the oppression of others, who take seriously someone like Joel Osteen, and other such "religious" homophobes who use smarmy God-talk to seem accepting of others while at the same time demeaning them. To equate being Gay with such behaviors as alcoholism is a terrible, ungodly, thing to do!

And why "The View" would have Osteen on their show in the first place is a mystery, and merely serves to confer a credibility upon him that neither he nor others of his homophobic ilk deserve.

Despite Osteen's contention, being Gay is God's best for Gay people! His and many other pastors' ignorance has them condemn others, and yet hypocritically preach "love" and "acceptance," so as to feather their nests, making them seem loving to those who gullibly take them seriously.

Osteen and others like him are wolves in sheep's clothing who do inordinate damage to LGBT people, and also to Straight people, who are inundated with exclusionary messages regarding LGBT people, helping to set the stage for Gay suicides; harassment, bashings, and even murders, by those, and other presumably Straight people, who think they are doing God a favor by so doing.

As the Apostle Paul wrote regarding those who preach any other Gospel than the Gospel of grace (God's unmerited favor): God damn them! (Galatians 1:8-9)

Please watch this brief clip:

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Thursday, November 18, 2010


An organization of American Catholic nuns has denounced the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for reiterating its opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage at its annual meeting in Baltimore this week while remaining silent on anti-gay bullying and gay teen suicide.

In a statement released Tuesday, the National Coalition of American Nuns accused the bishops of acting like “blinded Pharisees” for waging a fight against marriage equality while failing to speak out on gay teen suicides brought about by school bullying and harassment.

“More than a month has gone by since the media broke the news about a series of gay suicides,” the nuns’ statement says. “During that time, the U.S. Catholic Bishops failed to make a single statement regarding these tragic, preventable deaths.”

[See here for the full article.]
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Monday, November 15, 2010


The following article is one I wrote several years ago, and I want to reprint it here:

“…he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (Isaiah 5:7)

The above verse of Scripture shows us that God wants justice and righteousness in the world; He wants mercy and compassion to go forth from those who claim Him to be their Lord and Master. Yet, what all too frequently ensues is oppression and torment visited upon others in His name.

If I was the very Devil himself, I would seek to bring down Christianity by placing vocal spokespersons in key positions so that they could have access to the media, such as TV, to not only make Christians look like a pack of harsh, judgmental freaks, but seek to demonize the underdog and the marginalized in our society. Unfortunately, this tactic has been working all too well! Intelligent, sensitive people are frequently turned-off from even exploring the Christian message and the evidence for the Resurrection because of some professing Christians who are hate-mongers!

By selectively picking out certain verses of Scripture, they cause a climate of hate that all too frequently redounds to the disadvantage of marginalized and hurting people. Historically, these people have been people of color, women, gays, and the poor.

The ignorance and biases of the haters and hate-mongers who claim to speak for God, the Bible, and Christians hammer home God’s plea to each and every one of His children, “O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)

Not only do many followers of these haters and hate-mongers have their walk with God and with their fellow man or woman destroyed but they themselves can become destroyed in the process. “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” (Isaiah 9:16)

It is easy to hate! The famous nineteenth century sociologist, Emile Durkheim, posited the closest thing we have to a law about social life, which in essence says, “If there is a threatening out-group, the in-group unites to protect itself against it.” Indeed, we have a vested interest in creating out-groups so that we can cement in-group cohesion, thereby giving us a sense of belonging and a feeling of superiority. Moreover, “hate” is a great energizer that can give one a sense of purpose and meaning in his or her life, particularly when it is done in the name of God and in the name of “love.”

By not showing mercy and compassion to all people who are made in the image of God we profane God to them and, most importantly, to Him. These professing Christians, these false prophets, these haters and hate-mongers who hate in the name of God are the people who God talks about when He says, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” (Isaiah 1:15)

They are arrogant, haughty, and proud in their veneer of civility and in their feeling of superiority. They help create a climate of hate where people on the edge can kill and maim and actually believe they are doing it in the name of God.

When a black man is dragged almost three miles to his death, when a person who performs abortions is killed, when a gay man or woman is taunted or killed, when a person of color is disparaged or lynched, when immigrants are discriminated against, when people who think and/or act differently from us are viewed as the “other,” the “stranger,” we set up the climate of hate.

Anyone with even a nodding acquaintance of Scripture knows that we are obligated to love and embrace all other people; show forth mercy and compassion. When I see a professing Christian disparage TV (a medium for which I am certainly no apologist) because it allegedly has twenty-five gay characters out of the thousands portrayed, and who wants programs rated for “gay content,” it makes me sick. When I see another professing Christian, who is frequently
on TV talk-shows, sees a doll meant for babies projecting his homophobia on that object by seeing it as a gay doll that, too, makes me sick.

When I heard a popular TV evangelist say, to loud applause, that the reason some women are lesbians is because they are “too ugly to get a man,” or when another influential “Christian” says that the anti-Christ is now alive and is a Jewish male, that is also profoundly offensive. Hate-mongering, of course, is usually done under the guise of “love” and “values.” It is rarely done in the name of what it is, “hatred!”

Christians must stand up to haters and hate-mongers in our midst who practice the politics of exclusion and seek to deny civil rights to others, particularly when they do so in the name of God. They are purveyors of a false gospel of legalism and perfectionism that reflect their own prejudices which they impose upon Scripture, and they have the temerity to seek to redefine the Gospel of grace, faith, peace, love, reconciliation, and inclusiveness to be consistent with their own prejudices for which they are frequently handsomely rewarded.

If we don’t actively confront these wolves in sheep’s clothing and the injustices that these purveyors of a false gospel perpetrate upon others, upon our society, upon the name of Christ, upon the Church, upon Christianity, and upon each and every Christian, we are not only condoning their false gospel of legalism that has galloped into the Church, and that has frequently been fused with the most reactionary forces in secular society, but we are tacitly condoning the very
hatred and politics of exclusion done in God’s name that these very limited human beings espouse and represent.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010


The International Transgender Day of Remembrance remembers all those who have been murdered due to hate crime. It offers a moment for the transgender community and the world to pause for thought and remember.

Every year since 1998 a web project “Remembering our Dead” has recorded as many deaths as they can that have transphobic motives. The site makes shocking reading and reminds us just how dangerous it can be to live as a transgender person in society. Although primarily a US site it has now spread across the world and more are recording deaths on an international scale.

[Click on this link for the full article with links.]

This day of remembrance usually occurs any time from November 13th through November 20th.

Hear the discussion of Sister Paula and Rev. Troy Perry, Founder and Past Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches that he founded in 1968:

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.” (Psalm 131)

All of us, to one degree or another, suffer from emotional discontents and problems that are largely and frequently caused by our perceptions and/or our distorted expectations of what this world has to offer. This phenomenon is especially acute for LGBT people who have been the victims of strident homophobia from virtually all quarters of society: the religious, the family, from politicians, and from assorted verbal and physical bashings that have resulted in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for so many.

The consequences of grinding oppression, hateful epithets, denigration, prejudice and discrimination, fear of being "outed" and the possible negative consequences of coming out, are often seen in internalized homophobia, shame and self-loathing that often result in destructive and risk-taking behavior; sexual excesses that come to define one by his/her sexual orientation, rather than in seeing oneself as a full human being made in the very image of God.

Unfortunately, many Gay people equate their being Gay with sexual hedonism, much like homophobes do, so their emotional pain and its consequences put them in the same camp as the oppressor!

As I recently wrote to a friend of mine in this connection: "I think we have to keep underscoring the fact that being Gay, like being Straight, has little or nothing to do with sex. One is Gay even if he/she can't have sex. One is Straight even if he/she can't have sex. Those LGBT 'activists' who are actually sexual hedonists do what the homophobic religious right does: portray Gay people as being nothing more than sexual creatures, thereby they both suffer from the same malady of ignorance; retard the struggle for equal rights."

So, the issue of emotional health has major implications and consequences for LGBT people as well as the future of the LGBT Civil Rights movement!

In this article, I seek to address psychological and spiritual ways all of us, LGBT and Straight, can minimize, if not obliterate, many of our emotional discontents.

So much of our emotional problems, our existential discontents, come from what Sociologists call “Anomie.” Anomie occurs when one’s expectations exceed what the person, situation, or society can deliver.

For example, if I believe that working hard will make me rich, and I find out that when I’ve worked hard others who were “team players,” and who worked far less than I did, have gotten most of the rewards from our employer, I become understandably hurt and angry. My expectations exceeded the reality of what justice I thought would accrue to me because of my hard work.

Hence, my hurt, anger, and basic discontent with both my work and, frequently, with life itself. It is only when we learn how to neutralize our expectations of others, and of life itself, that we are on the way to achieving some level of inner peace to the degree that this sin-cursed world can afford us.

Similarly, if I enter marriage with the idea that there will always be harmony between my spouse and myself, and I later find out that we often argue or differ on certain matters and, therefore, become disillusioned with both my spouse and even with the institution of marriage itself, it is due to “anomie.” My expectations exceeded the reality of what constitutes marriage, and I must come to the point where I realize that we can’t take two different people with two different sets of genetics, different backgrounds, different interests, and different priorities and put them together and always expect “two hearts to beat as one.”

The gaining of “maturity” or, in the above context of Scripture, the status of being “weaned” from our illusions and facing life and our particular situations as they are, and not necessarily as we want them to be, helps confer a certain level of peace that our anomie certainly didn’t afford us. We come to the knowledge, sooner or later, of the truth of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ statement, when he was asked about the secret of his success, “A long time ago I realized that I was not God.”

In other words, what Oliver Wendell Holmes, former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was saying was that he came to recognize that there are many things in life, and in his life in particular, that he couldn’t “fix” or “control,” and that he had to separate what he could “fix” and “control” from those things which he couldn’t change. Clearly, this understanding resonates with the well known “Serenity Prayer,” often used by people who are fighting an addiction of one sort or another, and it is attributed to the famous theologian Reinhold Niebuhr: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Just as the incorporation of this prayer is crucial in the life of any addict, it is crucial in the life of every person, addict or not, Christian or not!

The above Psalm of David that precedes this article begins with the basic stance toward one’s life and toward life itself as one of humility, in that David recognizes that he can’t control many things in his life, and he stands humbled before the sovereignty of an omniscient, omnipotent God, the Alpha and the Omega of life, and of David’s life, and he recognizes the importance of maintaining this lowliness of mind.

David’s eyes are not “lofty,” and he doesn’t suffer from the mistake of “anomie” where his expectations exceed what God allows, and what God has ordained for him. This is a man who is content in all of his life circumstances, and resonates well with the stance of the Apostle Paul who wrote, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)

Paul was not saying that he was not necessarily content “with” the circumstances, but he was content “in” whatever circumstances he found himself, because he trusted in the sovereignty of God in his life and in this world, and that rock-like faith was going to carry him through whatever hills and valleys he was called upon to traverse. And, as we know, Paul had many hills and valleys to travel before God called him home via a chopping block!

It is no accident that in Proverbs 6, concerning the things that the Lord hates, “A proud look” is the first thing mentioned. (v. 17) When we’re proud of “our accomplishments” we fail to realize that God made those accomplishments possible; when we’re proud of our talents, we fail to realize that God gave us those talents; when we’re proud of our wealth, we fail to realize that God not only allowed us to acquire that wealth, but like our accomplishments, talents, and all other gifts from God on this earth, all of these accoutrements of what we call “success” are mere straw for the fire. In this connection, it is interesting to note that the noted and prolific theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, stated that compared to the great glory of God, all of his writings were “like straw.”

The above Psalm continues with David’s understanding that he doesn’t try to deal with matters beyond his control or to those things to which his talents and abilities are not equal. Given this understanding, he asserts in verse 2, “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself.” In other words, he’s not going to worry about things over which he has no control; he’s going to leave those things, and all other things that he can’t even understand, in the hands of almighty God.

After getting his fill of the many blessings of God in his life, David asserts that his soul is in a state of being content and at peace in his knowledge of the sovereignty of God, and “as a child that is weaned of his mother,” his “soul is even as a weaned child.” Just as a weaned child has filled himself on his mother’s milk and is now contented and at rest, so is David’s soul in his knowledge of all that has been given to him by God in his life, and he has the sure and certain knowledge that God will never let him down.

David concludes, “Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever.” In other words, David is telling all of Israel, and now all disciples of Christ, the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16), that we are to have the same kind of confidence in God as does David.

This Psalm is biblical faith put into action in one’s life! We cannot live a fulfilling life if we are perpetually worried about life-circumstances or potential life-circumstances; by actual threats or the fear of threats. By our worrying, we accomplish nothing of any value, and we blind ourselves to God’s making a way where there is no way in our lives, and we show that we do not profit from understanding all of the seeming insurmountable hurdles that God enabled us to overcome in our past.

Psalm 37 puts a finer point on this matter when David writes, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity…Trust in the Lord, and do good…Delight thyself also in the Lord…Commit thy way unto the Lord: trust also in him: and he shall bring it to pass…Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil…Wait on the Lord and keep his way…And the Lord shall help [the righteous] and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.”

Once we truly understand, not only intellectually but emotionally, that we are not God, and that there are so many things beyond our control, and so many things that our feeble brains are not able to understand, we are put in the position of casting all our cares upon God (1Peter 5:7) with the firm assurance that He knows the beginning from the end; He knows us better than we know ourselves; He and He alone knows the big picture and we can’t possibly know or comprehend that picture; He knows what we are going to say before we say it; He knows what we think; He has our best interests at heart, regardless of what life-circumstances seem to exist.

Once we come to the place where we exercise this biblical faith every moment of our lives, we have achieved the emotional health that most all of us desire. Make no mistake: I am very far from that place, but it is a place worth pursuing, for it is the ultimate expression of our trust in our sovereign God who saved us, who keeps us, who enables us to overcome our enemies, be they people or events, and who, in the not too distant future, delivers us unto Himself forever.

It is this knowledge, this mind-set, and its practice in our daily lives that denotes spiritual maturity and confers emotional health!
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Sunday, November 7, 2010


The following is an article I wrote a few years ago that I'd like to reprint here:

My friend, Bishop Leland Somers sent me the following email that I wish I had written myself. In his typical fashion, he not only says it like it is, but he expresses the anger and frustration so many of us feel regarding the moribund, pathetic, bureaucratic, and legalistic state of most of the institutional Church, and the frequently hateful manifestations of that tragic state, causing untold harm to others by the needless inculcation of guilt, condemnation, and exclusion and, thereby, having Christians worthy of the name tainted with the same stench of the false gospel most of the institutional Church erroneously and loudly proclaims as representing "Christianity."

To be a Christian is to be an agent of God's grace in the world! "Christianity" is about grace and love! And the only Gospel to be found in Christianity is the Gospel of Grace, Faith, Love, Peace, Reconciliation, and Inclusiveness!

That's why Jesus tells all those who would be His disciples that we are not to judge anyone; we are not to condemn anyone!

Anyone who discriminates through word and/or deed, or who preaches the false gospel of legalism, perfectionism, and exclusion is none of His! That person, like most of the institutional Church, has aligned him/herself with reactionary and oppressive forces that have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity! Indeed, those reactionary and oppressive forces are diametrically opposed to Christianity!

Whenever one does evil, he/she almost always appeals to virtue! So, wolves in sheep's clothing who falsely call themselves "Christians," are not only deluding others, and perhaps even deluding themselves, but are contravening the very Commandments Jesus gave to all who would be His disciples: To love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves!

"Envy not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways." (Proverbs 3:31)

Hey Jerry -

Here's a good one from "Dispatches from The Culture Wars".

This guy is not the first one to notice that industry is doing a far better job on embracing an ethic of inclusion than the church is doing. There are those who predict that the one of the reasons that the Christian Church is in steep decline is that it is not willing to throw off the blinders to injustice that it has worn for
hundreds if not more than a thousand years. I tend to agree. We need to look to Europe for the future of the Christian Church. In Europe, and by that I include the Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom and Ireland. (Ireland is a special case where we see the internecine tribalistic Christian blood letting still seething just below the surface.) What we see in Europe is an irrelevant church manifested as what it really is; an institution more concerned about its survival as an institution than in the Gospel of God's Kingdom made manifest in the person, life, ministry death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the same church in this country and I believe that the fundamentalistic evangelistic upheavals are little more than the last gasping for last breath of a religion that has deliberately made itself irrelevant to human strivings, human suffering, and human needs.

When we look to Jesus, particularly as portrayed in the synoptic Gospels, we find a man who is totally committed to the well being of people where they are. That is in their daily lives of struggle against the powers and principalities of this world (not flying demons and dragons of medieval mythologies) but the powers that exploit, demean, diminish, devalue and destroy human life and dignity as the image of God. The Christian Church most particularly since it was subsumed as part and parcel of the Roman Empire, a tragedy from which is has never recovered - not even in the Reformation of the 16th century - which actually cemented the church to earthly rulers and kingdoms - has consistently betrayed the radical nature of the Kingdom of God which was Jesus' Good News. It has instead substituted a kingdom far far away in another time and place - and called it the Kingdom of Heaven in mockery of Jesus own teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven (God) is right here right now but we have to live into it by embracing the values that Jesus showed us in his life. It happens when we live out the values of radical justice and radical love (you can't have one without the other - they are inseparable) here on this earth.

This is the Good News. The Kingdom of God is at hand. What does that mean? It is at the tip of your finger. It is at the end of your arm. It is where your hands do the work of God. That work is the work of Justice. The justice of which Amos and all the Hebrew prophets speak. This is not a mystery hidden in a conundrum. It is plain for all to see. But they will see it only if they choose to see it.

The Gospel of Thomas puts it this way: " Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you."

It is no wonder that Jesus was in such despair on the cross. He had spent his whole ministry trying to get people to actually follow him and live the life he lived. Yet right up to the end when they all ran - except for the women, the really strong disciples - he hoped that they would 'get it'. "My God. My God. Why have you forsaken me?" He was so alone and abandoned that he no longer experienced the connection to God that had sustained his ministry and his vision.

Did Jesus at that moment see that the movement he spent his life to nurture would in a few hundred years utterly betray him to the very Empire which executed him as a traitor and rebel? Did he see that the discussion that he had with James and John about sitting in judgment was one where he made his point but lost to the desire for power and place of honor at the table of the Emperor? Did he see that ultimately only a very few would stand up to the Powers and Principalities in his name and for his Father's Kingdom? Did he see that radical justice and unconditional love were not what people really wanted? Did he see that what they really wanted was fame, power and money? Did he see that his church was to be betrayed over and over and over again and again through the centuries and millennia to come?

Jesus wept. The church betrayed him.

Has the torch of radical justice and love and acceptance passed out of the church and into secular societies? Is there any need for the church? Is it just another source of burden for those of us who struggle for the dignity of the children of God?
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Monday, November 1, 2010


In 1964 Malcolm X gave a speech entitled, The Ballot or the Bullet. The following are some excerpts from that speech:

I'm not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on that plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born here in America doesn't make you an American. Why, if birth made you American, you wouldn't need any legislation; you wouldn't need any amendments to the Constitution; you wouldn't be faced with civil-rights filibustering in Washington, D.C., right now.

I'm not an American. I'm one of the 22 million Black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million Black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.

I don't see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.

You and I, 22 million African-Americans — that's what we are — Africans who are in America. You're nothing but Africans. Nothing but Africans. In fact, you'd get farther calling yourself African instead of Negro. Africans don't catch hell. You're the only one catching hell. They don't have to pass civil-rights bills for Africans.

If it doesn't take senators and congressmen and presidential proclamations to give freedom to the white man, it is not necessary for legislation or proclamation or Supreme Court decisions to give freedom to the Black man. You let that white man know, if this is a country of freedom, let it be a country of freedom; and if it's not a country of freedom, change it.

Now, substitute LGBT for "Negro" and "Black man," and we can see that the current state of the LGBT Civil Rights movement is woefully lacking in intensity and in coordination.

Moreover, within that movement there are traitors who wittingly or unwittingly seek to undermine the quest for full and equal civil rights!

Many are against same-sex marriage because it mimics heterosexual marriage which they hold in disdain; many are grateful for crumbs of incrementalism, and pee all over themselves to get access to politicians who couldn't care less about equal rights for LGBT people, despite their rhetoric to the contrary; many demean themselves by begging the voters to affirm their status as citizens who have the same rights and privileges as do heterosexuals under our Constitution; many, if not most, revel in referring to themselves by terms the oppressor uses to demean and even define LGBT people, not realizing or caring that their use merely cements "outsider" status, and serves as a destructive example to young LGBT people; many give credibility to homophobic churches, where the pastor and congregation view them as "sinners," and not worthy to partake of all of the sacraments of that church or, for that matter, worthy to partake of full and equal civil rights; many participate in parades and pageants that irrationally celebrate one's sexuality, further fueling the stereotype that Gay=Sex, and celebrating sexual outlaw status at the same time that many LGBT people seek full and equal civil and sacramental rights.

In distinguishing the "House Negro" from the "Field Negro," Malcolm X, in part, said:

There was two kind of slaves. There was the house negro and the field
negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with master. They
dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left.
They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their
master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved
himself. They would give their life to save their masters house quicker
than their master would. The house negro, if the master said "we got a
good house here" the house negro say "yeah, we got a good house here".

It is my opinion that in what LGBT Civil Rights movement exists, there are far too many "house negroes," far too many traitors who are content, and/or often even revel, in their second class citizenship status. These LGBT "house negroes" are fiddling while the Rome of LGBT equality burns!

They are those who like to live in "the master's house" by either celebrating their sexual outlaw status, thereby fulfilling the oppressor's expectations of what LGBT people are like, or by elevating their desire to be "liked" by their heterosexual neighbors and co-workers over engaging in meaningful activism, thereby assuring that they, and subsequent generations of LGBT people, are forever consigned to the status of second class citizens.

It is the relatively large number of such LGBT people, those who are, in one way or another, content with their lives as second class citizens, to give us any reason to be encouraged that this civil rights battle will be won any time soon!
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