A year ago yesterday I posted my first blog entry here. I had only recently decided to join the 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride and a few days later I would set out for training in Austin, TX.
I feel as if I should come up with some fun "2007 In Review" type entry but I worry nothing I write could possibly do it justice. So many things have changed in my life, yet in many ways I feel very much the same as I always have been. 2007 was certainly the most unexpected year of my life and I hope that 2008 brings just as many adventures!
A Brief Introduction
Monday, December 31, 2007
A year ago yesterday I posted my first blog entry here. I had only recently decided to join the 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride and a few days later I would set out for training in Austin, TX.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Joan Garry shares with her readers the story of having her family transformed into a comic and muses about whether her orientation is a kryptonite or a superpower.
This deliberation is not something that is uncommon to many gay and transgender individuals. Is being gay a burden to bear? Is being trans a power that propels one forward?
Over at The Point, jason taylor suggests in a comment:
Gays already have all the rights that are necessary to act in their chosen manner and therefore political aggressiveness is just annoying.Overlooking the fact that gay and trans individuals--and couples, especially--do not have all the same rights, I appreciate part of his point nonetheless. He is correct in later noting that gay groups have a legal right to exist, that gay couples are legally allowed to pair up, and that the government does not prohibit churches from performing purely religious marriages for gay couples (which are completely unrecognized by the state).
Yes, I have a very basic right to exist, tempered as that may be by threat of expulsion from certain schools, firing from any job, removal from my church, ostracization from my family and community... thankfully none of those are problems in my life. I am surrounded by friends who love and support me and who actively seek to lift up my relationships. My co-workers are sensitive to issues of orientation and identity. I go to a church which not only accepts me, but advocates on my behalf. I know that any one of the pastors would be happy to marry me. And I will always have a home with my parents.
And yet I continue to be an advocate.
I remind my co-workers that it is still permissible in New York state to fire someone based soley on his or her gender identity. I tell military recruiters that I considered serving my country in that way but I am not allowed to. I talk about the importance of marriage equality to my straight friends. I explain the intersection of my faith and my identity to my pastor from home.
But do not feel sorry for me that I cannot get married in my home state. Do not pity me that the Evangelical Presbyterian Church which I grew up finds me "incompatible with the confession of Jesus as Lord." For I have studied the Word of God and I have searched my heart and I have prayed ceaselessly with the Holy Spirit. I have found safe spaces in my life and support in my love. And most importantly I see myself as God sees me: as a perfectly loved child who desires to love and serve the Lord.
When I was on Equality Ride I shared the many things I was told along the way. In a conversation with my good friend Meilee recently, she said to me "There are so many reasons why you could have stopped being a Christian... you 'shouldn't' be a Christian, but you are. I imagine that means something." And I imagine it does, too. The deacon who was my mentor during my church membership class told me something I will never forget: "You don't choose God, God chooses you. And when that happens, God never lets go." Ain't that the truth. A Duke editorial questions "gay pride" but Casey rightly notes, "when there are a million reasons to hide in the shadows and deny who we are, it is right to be proud of honesty and integrity, and yes, that God created us differently and beautifully." I am proud of my God and I am proud of the way God made me and I proud of the mission God has choose for me: to speak for those living in silence and for those living in oppression--not under oppression, but by oppressing others. I might not have realized it at first, but I am that guy.
And so, when I meet with my former pastor to explain what it means to be gay and seek his support, when I ask lawmakers to support equality, when I point out the glaring disparities between gay and straight people in this country, I do not do it for myself. I continue to advocate for the acceptance of gay and trans people because I agree with Bram when he says, "Causing or even allowing any of God's children to feel like something less than His perfectly loved child may be the greatest heresy of the Christian faith." I speak out not for myself but for the members of my church in Maryland, for my pastor, for the elected officials in my state, and even for the administrators at anti-gay Christian schools. I speak out because I understand that they are coming from a place of misinformation and misunderstanding, despite the best of their intentions. I speak out that I may call others to be better, stronger, more Christlike.
And if you are straight, I am not asking for your consolation, or your compassion, your understanding, or your support. I am asking for your action. I am asking for you to rise to the tradition of this great country and--for Christians--to the greatness of your faith. I am not asking for full equality so that I might have it, but so that others might not deny me of it.
So when you realize that I am still a second-class citizen in this country and in many churches, do not feel sorry for me--for I am strong. Are you?
Friday, December 14, 2007
7:31: "We make dreams" ... it's going to be a great night!
7:32: Sam gets "Bingo Night" in 2.5 seconds AND high-fives the Southern woman next to him
7:34: Sharenda is screaming "BIG MONEY!!!!!" ... does she realize this is Wheel of Fortune and not Whammy!?
7:35: Sam wins the first round. Fight On! And he's jumping up and down. A lot.
7:39: The "Big Money!" phenomenon has spread to the southern woman on the other side of Sam. Dear Sam, If you yell "Big Money" I am calling friends off.
7:40: That was the most excited "L!" I've ever heard. A child at heart! He has used up all the vowels twice now. And won the second round.
7:48: Sam "Lost A Turn" this round. I'm sitting out in protest.
7:50: With only 3 letters on the board, he manages to get "Country Roads Take Me Home"
7:53: "Explain to me again how you solved that puzzle. You're not a life force from another planet are you?"
7:54: "Who did you bring?" "Yoda brought his mom"
7:55: DHC: Dailyz, Hamz, Cleanz. Glorious. + Pistachios + $58,000 + a crying mom from IOWA = a great way to end the show! Oh, and there was more jumping up and down. Duh.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day and I know it is easy for me to think of AIDS Walk, Magic Johnson, or even an aquaintence from USC that I knew who was HIV+. But just as we in America have come to understand that HIV/AIDS affects more than just gay men, I'm also learning to remember that HIV/AIDS affects more then just Americans. I might rarely see their faces, but 22.5 million people in Africa are living with the disease.
Take a look at what The Global Fund is doing to change that:
Hopefully you can be inspi(red) to make a difference.
Posted by Brian at 5:05 PM
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Yesterday was Transgender Day of Remembrance and I felt called to be vocal about it with my co-workers. My company's non-discrimination policy does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity but luckily for me, New York state's legislation includes sexual orientation. I composed an email explaining the Day of Remembrance, listing those people remembered this year, and explaining the pending national hate crimes legislation. I also gave information about employment non-discrimination and how gender identity isn't yet covered under NY law--though, hopefully it will be soon! I concluded by telling them ways they could help out: by contact their elected officials regarding hate crimes and GENDA, by contacting my parent company about revising the non-discrimination policy, or by creating our own separate policy.
It was scary.
Having braved Equality Ride and even the Right to Marry campaign, one might think I've got it down. But I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous as I prepared to press send. It is important and it needs to be said and so I hit send.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Leaving work a little later than usual tonight, I was on the B train heading down to Bryant Park to make my transfer to the 7 to go home. The subway pulled up to Rockefeller Center and there were 50-some girls in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade jackets just waiting to get on. I noticed all the heads in the train turn to look at at the girls. The doors opened, the girls hesitated, and then the streamed through three different doors. Moments later the center aisle of my subway car was filled with teen girls in white winter jackets. The contrast between the black- and gray-clothed New Yorkers lining the sides of the car struck me immediately.
And as the girls filled in and the train began to move, I had more than one silent-conversation with locals around me. We glanced about the train looking to catch the knowing eye of another New Yorker. I noticed others doing it too. We nodded and smiled to each other, all likely thinking the same thing: "The tourists have arrived."
It's going to be an interesting winter!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I know this is a little backwards but here is the trailer for the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference. It's short, sweet, and to the point. It's on YouTube which is more accessible and it's short so if you have a short internet-attention span, don't worry.
Forward to your friends:)
Monday, November 12, 2007
On March 8, 2007 I was forced to leave the University of Notre Dame and given official warning that if I ever returned, I would be arrested. While visiting the campus during the Equality Ride, a student asked me for more information about our events in South Bend, Indiana. I gave him a schedule--a dinner at a local church, a film screening at the LGBT Center nearby, discussions at a coffee shop--and my contact information.
Because of that, I am barred from any property owned by Notre Dame for life. And it was a small price to pay.
That student came to the church dinner, he joined us again for the film screening, and again for lunch at the coffee shop. He emailed me the day we left letting me know how grateful he was that we had come to his school. We made plans to meet up back in Los Angeles after the ride. I've gotten a few email updates and phone calls from him and at 3:02 pm today, my phone rang again.
I can hear the joy in his voice. He tells me about life at schools, new friends he's made, and achievements he's secured. Even though the ride ended months ago, I am proud to say that I am still an Equality Rider. I am glad that I can be an affirming Christian voice who truly cares about his life--his whole life--and who will be there to listen.
We only interacted for a short period of time but it is moments like this--unexpected phone calls months later--that make me understand how one person can make all of the difference.
I can never go see him be the drum major (if he gets the part), I can never cheer on USC at our biggest rival's stadium, I couldn't even stop there for a pit-stop on my trip across the country. But I would never take back my decision to hand him that piece of paper. It was a small price to pay.
Friday, November 09, 2007
I was blessed to attend the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference this past June in Irvine, CA to observe and document it. A few months, 3000 miles, and a new computer later: I'm pleased to unveil the conference's documentary. For more information, please be sure to visit www.soulforce.com and www.beyondexgay.com
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I just read D's post over at (Not So) Straight from Seminary and somehow it was just what I needed to hear tonight. It has been a fruitful two days at Carnegie Mellon (more on that later, I promise) but somehow I feel a little off as I relax on the couch in my suite. D's post helped me think about that feeling and I left the following comment:
Thank you for sharing. I happened onto Soulforce's Equality Ride because after one more conversation with my parents I realized that they weren't changing because I wasn't asking them to change and in the ensuing fit of "I must simply be myself" I applied. And I had personal connections. And I was in. And all of the sudden I realized I wasn't an activist. That I let other people plan the rallies, and teach the talking points. But there I was in a hotel conference room in Austin, Texas. And before long I was in the middle of anti-gay colleges around the country. And I keep thinking to myself "I am just a regular guy from Maryland who got frustrated at his parents one day and applied on a whim and got accepted and decided to trust in God's plan." And now I live in New York City, and I'm out at work, and the past two days I've spent at Carnegie Mellon University as someone they brought in for Pride Month. And I see myself in the mirror and I don't understand. I am not that guy. I am not an activist. I am just a 22 year old boy from Maryland who wants to find love and be loved and exist and serve God and serve others. But here I am. And that is what I'm doing. And I don't know how because I've never been that guy, but I guess I should start realizing that maybe I am. It was an intense day for me... this was just what I needed to make falling asleep tonight a little easier.
I'm happy to know there's another one out there. And maybe in our own ways we can--sometimes willfully, sometimes begrudgingly--be that guy and that girl together.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I just got checked in to my suite near Carnegie Mellon University and am waiting for one of the hosts to come pick me up for our dinner tonight which is cohosted by the Allies program and the Office of Religious Life. I am excited to bring these two groups of people together and get them thinking about how to move forward together. After that, I'll be doing networking some of the Allies folks before "the big day" tomorrow. I was able to compose my thoughts on the flight down and I know that it will go well.
Who would have ever thought that'd I'd be sitting at a table in the living room of a suite near a nationally recognized college for a speaking engagement? I certainly didn't. Life takes you in the most exciting of places.
Yesterday was spent frantically procuring grad school (read: divinity school and seminary) applications and information packets. I remember when I was younger how I felt like a life someway in "the ministry" was the only one I could imagine. I allowed those dreams to be hijacked by anti-gay ideology in the church and count myself blessed to found my way.
It seems they were right when my Sunday school teachers told me that the Lord never gives up.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I was watching the USC game this Saturday with the NYC Trojan Alumni Club when I saw this:
I almost died.
Chris had to ask "Didn't you start that show?" because I was too busy being dumbstruk. I'm so proud. To be fair, I merged two pre-existing (awesome) shows that I was already producing. Thankfully co-creator/co-executive producer Justin is still at SC running it all solo now. Glad to see we're still kicking butt!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
qubo is going Passionately Pink for the Cure on October 31 and you can join us. Go to our team page, donate at least $5, and make sure to wear pink on October 31. We'll send you a pink button and some sweet qubo shwag.
You can talk about breast cancer, the campaign to raise money, and just generally make a statement by creating a sea of pink in your school, office, church, or community group. Take a picture of your pink outfit and send in stories of how you're changing the world by changing your clothes.
I was busy preparing for our season-end board meeting and thus am sadly not in this picture:(
Visit http://www.komendonations.org/site/TR/Events/KomenTR?team_id=64791&pg=team&fr_id=1040 right now to get on board!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
In anticipation of National Coming Out Day, GLAAD released this PSA featuring T.R. Knight from Grey's Anatomy. Enjoy!
And check out this other great promo featuring a slew of actors from popular ABC television shows.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at his word. "Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said 'let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy!' Yet they will be put to shame." Isaiah 66:5
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Share your story for why Hate Crimes legislation is important to you at Stop the Hate.
I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC and went to school at USC in Los Angeles. I thought I was insulated from anti-gay thinking. All of my friends were immensely supportive when I came out and my social circle has always included a mixing of gay and straight people.
When my roommate Ryan came home one night in 2006 shaken up with a scratched face, I was confused and concerned. While walking down the street with his boyfriend and our straight-identified friend, Chris, a rowdy group of guys heckled at them from a porch. They threw a beer bottle and taunted them "Where you fags going?" Ryan told them to mind their own business and the three of them continued on their way. I'm told that the next thing Ryan knew he was pushed to the ground. Chris was sucker-punched in the face before Ryan's boyfriend was able to insert himself as a human shield in the shuffle. They managed to walk away and some level-headed party-goers called the guys back in to the party.
I realized that even in Los Angeles, I'm still not safe.
Six months later as I walked through downtown Kansas City with a few friends I noticed myself flinching away from boyfriend's hand as we approached other people. It took a very conscious effort on my part to keep hold of my boyfriend's hand. As we passed straight couples I knew they weren't thinking about their interactions. They didn't have to be brave to walk down the street hand-in-hand.
I wait for the day when society will understand and appreciate all of its members, but in the meantime, I am thankful for legislation that seeks to root out the community terror which bias-based crimes create.
Donna Payne is the associate director for diversity at HRC.
-----Original Message-----I don't know what else I could possibly add.
From: Donna Payne Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 10:31 AM
Subject: Re: Update in Jena
Jeffrey Johnson, activist from BET said District Atty Walters spoke to them yesterday to justify why they couldn't let Mychal out. He said it was a potential harm that might occur. Jeffrey Johnson said that Walters (DA) pulled the white youth out for press, talking about he was the victim and not to forget the victim. That was a emotional scare tactic used for press, Jeffrey Johnson stated. He asked if Walters was a psychic - since he knew what was going to happen if he was released! Ricky Smiley (black Christian comedian) spoke and asked where were the big bishops of black churches? The ones that were with the Faith Based Intiative, and fighting for the gay marriage amendment. Something that has nothing to do with us, he said.
There was loud clapping.
There is a break now with Christian music being played. Much Christian music is being played!
From: Donna Payne Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 10:55 AM
Subject: Re: Update in Jena
Jesse Jackson has taken the stand. He told us that we are getting ready to march. He wants us to be calm. In the last MLK march in Memphis, before he was killed -rocks were thrown at marchers to provoke them. He wants us to not be distracted. He said we are marching against Federal Hate Crimes. It is not about Jena, but this happens across the country. He has asked that the white and black parents come together. The white parents wanted to talk to him, but they were encouraged not to do this. He says we will take reconciliation over confrontation. Everyone repeats this. Jesse, said we need healing, but we must take glass out of the wound. He puts stories from the Bible to tie it in. He said God will see us through. We will rise. It gets dark sometimes, but who do we fear? We will march until Jena 6 is free. Rise up, fight up, stand up. WEEPEING MAY ENDURE FOR Now, but joy comes in the morning. Leave Jena and go back and fight for all crimes.
I am inspired! I am ready to march! Everyone is ready. They chant: Keep Hope Alive! Stop the violence in FL, NY, MS. Let justice flow like a mighty stream.
Everyone screams! It is time to go!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I read the news coverage four times. I had thought for certain that the Court of Appeals, the highest court in my home state of Maryland, would agree with a Baltimore judge's decision that barrring citizens from the institution of civil marriage based on gender is wrong. The decision has been pending for much longer than usual and I allowed myself to think they were working out the kinks of what would surely be a high-profile decision.
I was let down by the decision they handed down.
In a split 4-3 decision, the court ruled that gay and lesbian couples are not entitled to marriage. They did, however, point out that the General Assembly could grant it to them anyway. In his dissent, Justice Raker has this to say:
“It cannot be argued that same-sex couples are not denied significant benefits accorded to heterosexual couples. It is clear that there are significant differences in the benefits provided to married couples and same-sex couples in the areas of taxation, business regulation, secured commercial transactions, spousal privilege and other procedural matters, education, estates and trusts, family law, decision-making regarding spousal health care, insurance, labor and employment, child care and child rearing, pensions, and the responsibilities attendant to spousal funeral arrangements.”
I now place my trust in the Maryland lawmakers, that they will recognize this inequality and swiftly rectify it. And I trust the people of Maryland will not stand for anything less. It is moments like this that make contacting your representatives or standing up for equal rights even more important.
The Point may or may not be the blog I read the most and I think that reflects on my own space as well. Since Gina Dalfonza took this Robert Heinlein quote from The Corner in the first place, I don't feel bad about taking it from her.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher
a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a
wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act
alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer,
cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for
I think I agree.
Monday, September 17, 2007
A recent trip to the Apple Repair Center made me realize exactly how enslaved I am. It will cost $800 - $1200 to repair my MacBook Pro. That's close to two weeks worth of pay. 10 days of my life. Eighty hours of my time. Assuming I didn't have other expenses such as a monthly rent, daily food, cell phone charges.
I'm already not getting cable and internet in my apartment, do I take the ultimate plunge and go without a computer? But I have editing to do which requires the computer ... do I need to do editing?
Have such a large bill dropped in my lap suddenly makes the connection between my time, my work, and money so much more apparent. I realized that I don't have much freedom at all.
And how can I change that? Move to the country? Grow my own food? Make my own clothes? How can I still be a part of society while attempting to maintain autonomy? Is it possible? I want it to be.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Associated Press reports that the kilogram is shrinking. Granted, it's only 50 micrograms smaller than averages of others around the world but it presents an interesting question: what are facts? And is the kilogram shrinking or are all the others one growing larger? If we can't even get a definite handle on a small cylindrical mass how can we think that we actually understand anything?
Thursday, September 06, 2007
It's a typical Thursday morning. I put my sunglasses on as I leave the house, pop in my earbuds and turn on my iPod, and walk a few blocks to the subway. I go down the stairs and take my place by the tracks. I try to smile at the person standing next to me. Then I fish out my book from my bag. Right now I'm reading another C.S. Lewis book, occasionally I pull out the latest version of The Advocate. The train comes, I manage to find a spot; sometimes standing, sometimes sitting. I smile at my new subway mates and if the train lurches or takes a fast corner, I will occassionally make a comment or two to the people standing near me. I try to be friendly.
Today was different. As I stood on the subway, music playing so loudly I couldn't hear any of the sounds around me, I noticed a passenger who looked surprisingly like my fellow Equality Rider Cray. I wondered to myself what Cray was up to. Then I wondered what this guy was up to. Was he anything like Cray? Where did he work? To my left stood a young man in a baseball cap, also wearing earphones. To my right were two guys with dress shirts, one read a newspaper, other listened to music. The woman in front of me sipped Starbucks while watching something on a portable media player. They all have lives and stories and even though I'm so close to them, I know nothing about them. And we've all setup our private sanctuaries in the middle of the bustling New York City subway.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
“Couples, such as Plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage…by reason of the fact that both persons compromising such a couple are of the same sex.”
-- Judge Robert B. Hanson
An Iowa district court handed down a decision acknowledging that the right to marry is a right that extends to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation. They also acknowledged taht Iowa's current law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional. Kudos to the justices who deliberated on this case and I hope that Iowa Supreme Court will also uphold this basic human right.
The Polk County recorder has already begun issuing marriage licenses to couples and of course the plaintiffs were amongst the first to fill out an application.
CNN, Windy City Times, and Post-Bulletin report.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
"Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs--to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. [...] He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles."
from C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters
Thursday, August 23, 2007
As I sat at my desk this morning, reading over the stacks of paper required of new employees and signing off on countless agreements, guidelines, handbooks, and policies, I was struck with something I wasn't expecting to find at 11:00am, thirty-two stories above New York City: marriage equality really matters.
After I read through the distinctions between part-time and full-time employees and the amount of paid vacation alloted per year, I got to the section on bereavement leave:
The policy covers the death of the employee's spouse, child(ren), parents, parents-in-law, brothers, sisters, and grandparents.If I were to have a husband someday soon (and I hope to have one!), under existing laws he wouldn't legally be considered my husband. Would I have to work those days or worry about losing my job?
But full equality goes beyond creating and enforcing laws, what really matters is creating a society that honors and respects all its citizens. When I got to the sections describing how hiring and promotion decisions are based solely on merit and not prejudicial characteristics, I felt a pit in my stomach as I read over the non-discrimination policy:
race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any otherI gave a sigh of relief to know that in New York state, sexual orientation is protected in employment non-discrimination (and gender identity too!), but not only did I feel as if the company was only including me because they were compelled by law to do so, I also realize realize that my work has offices and stations around the country in places that don't have protective legislation. What about those people?
characterstic protected by law.
I'm sure that today will be only one of many days when I will come face-to-face with the very real differences between my rights and responsiblities and those of my straight American counterparts. I look forward to the day when such occurences are memories of the distant past, but they won't become a part of the past unless we work in the present to change things.
As a queer person, I can only do so much. Which is why I'm excited by Soulforce's latest campaign, Seven Straight Nights For Equal Rights, which empowers and emboldens straight Americans to take up the banner of LGBT equality, knowing that freedom and equality must mean freedom and equality for all. So far, activities are being planned in 11 states and you can volunteer to plan one in your state!
It will only be one night and is as easy as standing vigil outside a state capital building or attending a public gathering. It's a way that you can stand up and say, my gay and transgender friends matter to me and I want them to be honored and respected. You can use the Get Involved form to sign up or you can email me and I'll make sure someone contacts you (or you can do both!). And of coures, as Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights is a Soulforce and Atticus Circle campaign, any contributions to this grassroots non-profit organizing effort go a long way (You can make a general donation or sponsor a state).
But seriously, why donate when you can stand up yourself ... it's so easy.
I'm excited for you to stand with me!
Monday, August 20, 2007
Even though qubo was gracious enough to give me five-weeks off after stopping work in LA and resuming work in New York City, I managed to consume all but a few days of that with the Right to Marry Campaign, my Epic Journey Into Adulthood across the country with Meilee, my cousin's wedding, and of course catching up with all of the Potomac crew.
I was able to get a studio in a beautiful building in Long Island City, but unfortunately the lease doesn't begin in until September 7. An old friend from USC has an extra room in her apartment in Brooklyn which I was planning on moving into for interim until some friends in the new building found out last minute they'd be able to let me crash there.
As I went back to the Brooklyn apartment near Prospect Park, some 45 minutes from my Manhattan, to fetch my belongings I couldn't help but feel a sense of privilege. I was lucky enough to have friends in nice neighborhoods where I could stay. I didn't have to shop in stores where the cashiers are in the back to help prevent robbery. I didn't have to live where cabs won't drive. I'm sure a lot of people in this neighborhood are there because they want to be there. It's a heavily Jamican area and I felt a strong sense of community. In fact, I got more "hello"s and "how are you doing"s from strangers in the short times I was there than the rest of my time in Manhattan. Still, graffiti and stalled cars line the alley while buildings sit in disarray. It's not the way I would want to live ... and I got out. It seemed like I was running away.
As I travel about the city via subway, I'm reminded of what Amy B-M once said. That to truly experience a city you can't just drive around in it, you have to walk, take buses, and ride the subway. This is the first time I've lived in a place where I have been able to do that. I already understand what she means. I wonder what I would've learned if I stayed in Brookyln for those three weeks. But at the same time, would I just be paying understanding lip-service? With a degree from USC under my belt, a home in Potomac only a few hour away, and friends with posh apartments who could come fetch me, would I ever really understand?
I don't know, but I'd like to find out. I'd like to do understand not so I can pat myself on the back for a job well done or so I'll have a good story to tell around the dining room table. But so I can learn something I didn't know before. I've already learned that it's not that hard to ask a stranger how they are and really mean it, I wonder what else is waiting for me to learn out there.
More on qubo, the apartment, adventures with new friends, and of course the Epic Journey later. For now, I'm going to fall asleep listening to Rufus Wainwright, looking at the Manhattan skyline from across the river, and digesting my tofu stir fry. It was a good day.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Meilee and I made it across the country successfully with minimal disasters. Our attempts at video blogging from the road failed miserably but we did manage to grab lots of fun footage along the way which hopefully one day will manifest itself into an Epic Video of our Epic Journey. Time will tell I suppose.
In the meantime, I'm running errands, visiting with friends, dropping in on relatives, and beginning to let the panic of not having a place in NYC to live set in. Ahhh moving...
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I could try to write some eloquent introduction for this video but I could not possibly do it justice. Thank-you Milfred for your contribution to our country, your state, and this important conversation.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The New York Right to Marry campaign is coming to a close. The Northern Route said goodbye to Utica, New York this morning and arrived in New York City not too long ago. Tomorrow brings a day of tying up lose ends, following up with the folks we met along the way, debriefing our experiences, and planning for the future. I'm excited to meet up with the 24 other young adults if only for a day.
As my van traveled through the North Country, we documented our progress and the stories of some of those we met along the way. Some of the Right to Marry participants already shared their thoughts on why marriage is important (here and here) and soon we'll have the stories of New York citizens and couples to share with you too.
For now, here's a look at our time up north:
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Letters from the "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" campaign to NY Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno:
Dear Senator Bruno,
I enjoy getting your newsletter and want to thank you for all you do to support New Yorkers, especially those in the Capital Region.
It has come to my attention, via the young adults of SoulforceQ, that you are unwilling to bring the marriage equality bill to the floor. May I ask why?
Expect a pair of my shoes for you to walk a mile in.
Be sure to send your own pair of shoes to Senator Joseph Bruno to remind him that the marriage equality bill deserves to be heard on the senate floor.
Friday, July 20, 2007
By now we are a few days into the New York Right to Marry campaign. With grassroots activism comes limited resources and internet isn't a top priority. Luckily we've been blessed with houses and churches who have internet to share and here in Plattsburg, we found a great coffee shop--Koffee Kat--to sit in and work while talking with locals and of course, drinking some coffee!
I sat down with a few RtM participants before we departed Albany to talk about why marriage matters. Here's what they have to say:
Thursday, July 19, 2007
After an exciting, albeit wet, day at the Saratoga County Fair, the western van joined up with Albany’s MCC church for an evening forum featuring a documentary screening, discussion of our work ahead, and sharing of stories. I for one was very encouraged to meet the locals of Albany and hear their stories. As our evening was winding down, four young adults made their way into Emmanuel Baptist Church. The conversation quickly moved from marriage equality to Biblical morality as we cleared out of the church.
Read more over at the Soulforce blog.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Senate Majority Leader Bruno refused requests to meet with our van though we have been trying to schedule a meeting for a long time now. Instead we were able to meet with a staff member who graciously listened, nodded, and suggested we keep the conversation going across the state. We will certainly be doing that in the next few weeks. At the same time, I am dismayed. As a future New Yorker, I look to my leaders to do what is right, even when that is unpopular. I appreciate our representative democracy which was designed to protect the rights of the minority from the whims of the majority.
My civil rights are not subject to debate and popular vote.
I look forward to a time when the leaders of our country will protect all of this nation's citizens. I am hopeful that Senator Bruno will be one of those leaders or at least allow the marriage equality bill to be heard on the senate floor.
In the meantime, I ask Senator Bruno to walk a mile in my shoes and to imagine what life would be like were he unable to wed. In doing so, I am confident that he, other senators, and all Americans will understand the importance of extending marriage rights to all individuals.
As my friends, acquaintances, or Internet readers, I urge you to ask Senator Bruno the same thing. Please find a pair of worn-out shoes you may have, write on a postcard why marriage equality is important to you—that you want to marry your girlfriend, that your parents aren't protected under the law, that your gay brother needs to live in a world where he can dare to dream of falling in love and marrying—and send that along with your shoes to Senator Bruno:
Senator Joseph L. Bruno
Legislative Office Building, Rm: 909
Albany, NY 12247
Please, walk a mile in my shoes.
If you send a pair of shoes, take a picture of your shoes and forward them to me so that we can keep track!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Ex-Gay Survivors Conference is officially over but the effects it created continue to reverberate. The Survivor's Initiative has already visited NARTH headquarters and the New Life Church to present their stories of ex-gay therapies. Peterson and Christine continue to blog new insights in the wake of the conference and other ex-gay survivors such as Shawn and Dan Gonzalez join in with their own personal stories.
I'm also pleased to say that while I was in Irvine for the conference I was able to sit down and speak with some truly amazing individuals and capture their stories. I'm putting together a short video which will explore the conference as a whole, but in the meantime I hope to bring you a few standalone shorts: the often unheard stories of the ex-gay movement.
Claire Willett and Daniel Stoltenberg speak out and share their experiences of navigating faith, identity, anti-gay messaging, and ultimately reconciliation.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Ex-Gay Survivor's Conference in Irvine, CA this past weekend, hosted by Soulforce and Beyond Ex-Gay. I went to document the event (a role I seem to have fallen into during Equality Ride) but I could not help but be affected myself.
What I saw were the unseen survivors, what I heard were the untold stories. Many things in life are up for debate, the lives and experiences of these individuals are not.
Peterson Toscano opened the weekend with a pre-registration performance of his one-man show "Doing Time In the Homo No-Mo Halfway House" to a packed house in the Crystal Cove Auditorium at UC-Irvine. Judging from the audience's reaction, I knew it would be quite the weekend. Saturday morning opened with a Chalk Talk ... a silent way for a large group of people to be in conversation together. They write their thoughts, feelings, and experiences on a large piece of paper, taking time to read each other's, comment, and make connections. The energy in the air was palpable. TV crews were kept at bay and cameras were turned off. This weekend is not about PR, it's about real people healing real wounds.
Therapists, Christian leaders, and every day survivors led workshops ranging from "Sharing Your Story" to "Building Healthy Relationships" to "Being a Powerful Ally." I was able to see change happening in the lives of those in attendance. God is moving among us.
The Ex-Gay Survivor's Conference brought people together from around the world to celebrate God and to celebrate God's creation. To recognize the pain wrought unnecessarily in the name of the Lord. To move forward together, healing and helping others to heal. To put forth a message that may not be popular but is of dire importance: God loves and affirms God's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children. Misguided attempts to force or shame individuals into so-called reparative therapy are ultimately ineffective and unfortunately have the potential to inflict emotional, spiritual, and physical harm.
God bless the survivors. And my prayers go out to those who are still struggling to accept themselves, who are suffering from depression, who have thoughts of suicide, and to the families of those that have lost loved ones because they were thought to be broken.
I was blessed with the opportunity to hear many of the survivor's share their stories, I will be posting some of those later as I can get them all together. I wish there was a better way to encapsulate the day for those who couldn't attend.
Former ex-gay ministry leaders Michael Busse, Darlene Bogle, and Jeremy Marks issued a public apology for their part in harmful "therapy" programs. Here is coverage of their remarks.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Peterson Toscano kicked off the Ex-Gay Survivor's Conference with a performance of his one-man show "Doin' Time at the Homo No-Mo Halfway House", a mishmash of his decade's worth of experience in various ex-gay programs. Soulforce executive director Jeff Lutes welcomed those who already arrived .
I can already see wounds beginning to heal as one woman approached Peterson after the show, tears in her eyes, saying "Thank you for sharing your story." It's time to talk about the past and begin undoing the damage.
I'll try to upload videos throughout the day but if that doesn't work they will definitely be available soon!
Friday, June 29, 2007
Beyond Ex-Gay co-founder, Peterson Toscano, who is also one of the planners for the Ex-Gay Survivor's Conference, shares on his blog the inappropriate manner in which Focus on the Family is treating the conference, which is planned for individuals who sought "ex-gay therapy" and found it did more harm than good (EXODUS reports at least 70% of its participants leave the program without a change).
The Ex-Gay Survivors Conference officially begins tomorrow, with an early registration this evening; however, Focus of the Family is already saying that it has drawn less than the Exodus conference (which has already started)
I'm saddened to see a Christian organization lying in their releases; but unfortunately, I'm not surprised. Read more about the conference, Beyond Ex-Gay's response to Focus, and the planned dialogue between bXg and Exodus here.
Exodus Conference Offers Hope to Hundreds
The 32nd annual Exodus International conference is underway in Irvine, Calif., and God is at work.
"We've already seen an amazing turnout, amazing response, amazing speakers," said Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus. "The Lord has really done a great work so far in the conference."
The meeting, which began Tuesday and wraps up Sunday, has drawn close to 1,000 people — and no protesters so far. Across town, a counter-conference drew about 100 people. Thomas and Exodus President Alan Chambers are working to set up talks with the other conference leaders.
"We are always in ongoing communication with people who disagree with us, people with similar testimonies," Thomas said. "We definitely will be in communication with them."
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Christine, a commenter over at GCM Watch, pointed me in the direction of the following video. It is a CBN profile on Charlene Cothran, editor of VENUS magazine, who recently became a Christian and refocused her magazine to promote a path out of homosexuality.
I found the video to be stirring. I am so happy to see that Charlene Cothran has discovered the joys of a relationship with the Lord. I know that God has been a central part of my life and I can't imagine a life without it. It is wonderful to see that Ms. Cothran has also come to find contentment in the Lord.
When she talks about standing in the middle of a parade and thinking "something isn't right," I almost couldn't help but yell out "Amen!" There is something missing. I worry that the LGBT community too often doesn't get to hear the message of God. They think they can't have it and Christians think they don't want it -- what a travesty! There is a longing in each person's heart--gay or straight--that no amount of parties, drugs, alcohol, money, or human relationships can fill.
Deciding to follow the Lord certainly doesn't come without cost. We cannot expect to simply carry-on as we were. "For if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come."
Charlene was right in recognizing that no woman will ever give her the contentment she ultimately seeks... and neither will a man. That contentment comes from God alone.
I wish Charlene Cothran many blessings in her walk with Lord and a prayer that she will feel loved and affirmed by the Creator that her together in the womb, fearfully and wonderfully. And I hope that Ms. Cothran knows her need for God is a separate issue from her identity, whatever that may be right now.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Republican Theresa Sayward, who represents North County, a conservative district upstate, recounted her personal experiences as a mother of a gay child. “My son didn’t want to be different. Lord knows he wanted to change,” Sayward said on the floor. “It is not a life choice. My God loves my son. And as sure as I’m standing here tonight, this is certainly not for me, or should it be for any of us, anything other than a civil rights issue.”
For full coverage, read here.
The GOP-controlled state senate has refused to allow a similar bill come to the floor. In a month I will be traveling to New York for Soulforce's Right to Marry campaign and I will be visiting the northern portion of the state where there are no lawmakers who support marriage equality on record. All the while, three other groups criss-cross the rest of the state.
Please help make a change.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
All crimes are tragic. Lives taken, property stolen, bodies injured, conscience betrayed. But when a victim is targeted because of her identity, she is not the only victim. Two crimes are committed: a heinous act against an individual and an act of terrorism against a community.
When a handicapped woman is assaulted, those with disabilities everywhere worry if they will be next.
When an African-American man is attacked, the message is clear: Your skin color makes you unsafe.
When a young life is taken on the basis of sexual orientation... young people everywhere live in fear.
Hate crimes legislation does not punish thought, it punishes action. Crimes against an individual and crimes against a community. Hate crimes already exist to protect community terrorism based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, or national origin. Statistics show that sexual orientation and gender identity are categories in which hate crimes are frequently committed -- yet current law ignores the damage felt in these communities. Gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals are told that they are less important than the other members of our society who are already protected.
It's time to send a different message.
Monday, June 18, 2007
The second week of Monday Mornings.
I wake up in my private room. I drive in my personal car, park in an underground parking structure and take an elevator directly up to the building lobby. There are six elevator bays for the Lower Tower, sometimes I take the second elevator if there are other people since I have to go all the way up to Floor 12. I sit at a private desk. I often take my lunch there. I respond to faceless emails. Take the elevator down. If new people enter, they entertain themselves with the video display--always facing forward. I drive home in my personal car. Make dinner in my apartment with my flatmates I've known since freshman year. When we go out, we take our private cars and sit amongst ourselves in restaurants or in dark movie theaters.
How can I do more outreach? How can I change the course of someone's otherwise quiet and private day by showing a little unexpected interest? What would it mean to eat my lunch outside and not just observe but participate. How can I become involved with my community--not just involved with my friends in my community--but the strangers in my community as well?
I'm not sure yet. Here's to finding out...
Saturday, June 16, 2007
At the end of this month, Exodus International will be hosting a massive conference to promote their anti-gay/ex-gay agenda. By focusing on the "brokenness" of GLBT individuals, they will tell participants "this is about you becoming transformed into his image so that you [...] can contribute to the body of Christ."
Occurring at the same time will be a smaller, less high-profile, but equally powerful conference. Soulforce and Beyond Ex-Gay have teamed up to host the Ex-Gay Survivors conference.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals already ARE apart of the body of Christ, they are already contributing to the body, and God is using them in amazing ways! This is a message proclaimed not only by other GLBT individuals, but from Christian theologians, pastors, and professors in every Christian denomination!
There is no condemnation in being gay. God has amazing things in store for his GLBT children. Pain, humiliation, rejection, and condemnation are not among them.
The conference is run by fellow ex-gay survivors, straight pastors (such as civil rights leader Rev Phil Lawson), counselors, and former Exodus/ex-gay leaders.
If you are struggling with a decision on whether or not to enter into an ex-gay program or "repairative therapy," if you are already involved in such a program, or if you have been in the past, you need to check this out first.
God loves you and affirms you, just as you are.
On Tuesday I shared that the Montgomery County school board voted to include limited instruction on sexual orientation in their health class curriculum for 8th and 10th graders. Teach the Facts is a non-profit organization dedicated to seeing that health education in the county is factual and comprehensive. While stressing abstinence, they also want to make sure that students are informed of how to protect themselves and have important information about sexual orientation (it is usually not a choice and is not a disease). Dispelling myths and stereotypes help to protect all students in the tumultuous time that is adolescence.
Please add your voice to this important conversation by signing their petition or contacting local officials.
As a graduate of the Montgomery County public school system and a registered Maryland voter, I am proud to see the progress that has been made and hopeful that which is still to come.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
An excerpt from a conversation between Brad Pitt and Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
Archbishop Tutu: … I come from a situation where for a very long time people were discriminated against, made to suffer for something about which they could do nothing — their ethnicity. We were made to suffer because we were not white. Then, for a very long time in our church, we didn't ordain women, and we were penalizing a huge section of humanity for something about which they could do nothing — their gender. And I'm glad that now the church has changed all that. I'm glad that apartheid has ended. I could not for any part of me be able to keep quiet, because people were being penalized, ostracized, treated as if they were less than human, because of something they could do nothing to change — their sexual orientation. For me, I can't imagine the Lord that I worship, this Jesus Christ, actually concurring with the persecution of a minority that is already being persecuted. The Jesus who I worship is a Jesus who was forever on the side of those who were being clobbered, and he got into trouble precisely because of that. Our church, the Anglican Church, is experiencing a very, very serious crisis. It is all to do with human sexuality. I think God is weeping. He is weeping that we should be spending so much energy, time, resources on this subject at a time when the world is aching.
Brad Pitt: I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you for saying that.
From this month's (RED) Vanity Fair
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Montgomery County school board voted to adopt new sex education lessons to be taught to all 8th and 10th graders, including a provision which allows teachers, if asked, to tell students that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.
The one-sentence addition has been at the center of much debate recently, though the measured passed 6-1. I'm a little confused. If a student asks a simple question, why on earth should a teacher NOT be able to clarify facts? Important facts... such as, no, homosexuality is not a mental disorder.
I don't understand how this could in anyway be problem. But apparently it almost was.
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.There must be something in the stars because June 12 marks the anniversary of yet another historic landmark. This one, the ruling of the Supreme Court on Loving v. Virginia. The Freedom to Marry campaign celebrates this important decision.
“ The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”
U.S. Supreme Court
LOVING v. VIRGINIA, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)
Decided June 12, 1967.
Here's to a brighter future...
Thank you Leslie Carbone: Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!
I'm going to repost the video here because it's just that good, but many kudos to Leslie (and to The Point post) for reminding us of the great strides that humanity has taken in the past towards freedom and openness.
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate.
"Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.
"Mr. Gorbachev -- Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
June 12, 1987
And the wall came tumbling down.
Posted by Brian at 12:35 PM
Monday, June 11, 2007
Taking a cue from Bill Freeman's Thursday Thought, I'm going to introduce my own "Monday Morning" post. I thought about naming it something cheesy like "Monday Morning Musings" but decided against it. Less is more.
It won't necessarily be a dissection of a Scripture passage but rather something I've observed from the week prior and something to think about in the upcoming week. Feel free to leave your own observations or updates on how successful you are at putting your plans into action. Conversation is good.
Somehow action has been a recurring theme recently. Putting faith into practice, surrendering to God's call, being the change you wish to see in the world. Most recently, I was challenged to think about what the world would look like if we all "shared extremely like Jesus." What would it look like?
When 100s of millions of people go to sleep hungry, when drinking water is still not available everywhere, when disease continues to run unchecked... what would it look like if I stepped out from behind my comfortable desk in my comfortable office. If I relied on my comfortable car a little less and cared more about the needs of others than the wants of myself?
What can I do this week to start taking care of the world and those around me? What can you do? Does it mean making an effort to not buy more food while you still have plenty in your house, resolving to donate what you would've spent instead? Does it mean walking or riding my bike sometimes instead of driving everywhere? Does it mean seeking out a homeless ministry to volunteer for?
I know that on my only-recently-post-graduation shoestring budget, resources everywhere seem tight. It's easy to loose sight of how much I really have. This week's mission is to conserve more and share more. Not to just talk about it, but to do it.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Jillian Nye and I were asked to speak to an adult's Sunday school class this morning at Church of the Brethern in La Verne. About 35 adults, mostly in their 50s-80s attended. We played a clip from the upcoming Equality U documentary, spoke about our own experiences, showed a video (featuring Jillian) from our stop at BYU-Idaho, fielded questions, and closed with an Equality Ride favorite, "Go Now In Peace" (a song, which Jillian actually learned at this church).
I was moved by how responsive this crowd was and by their sometimes visible emotions. At the end of the class, one of the leaders hugged me with tears in her eyes and said "God is doing such amazing work in your life. Thank you." I held on a little tighter.
Afterwards, we made our way to the church service where, among other things, Jillian and her son were going to be prayed for before setting out to McGrath State Beach to be the on-site chaplain. This week just so happens to be the kid's service. They were remarkably well-behaved and well-prepared. They led us in prayers, in songs, in Bible reading, and even a message on how we can "share extremely" as Jesus would. Matthew 25 came to mind. This church was extremely focused on how they could be stewards of Christ in the world. Not just talking about it, but doing it. They took an offering of non-perishable food for a local homeless shelter, they announced a new program to provide meals to local students who receive free or reduced lunch from school, but will go without now that the year has ended.
I appreciated this service because, though it was an accepting congregation, it did not water down Jesus, the Gospels, or the New Testament message. In fact, their church bulletin proclaims "We claim no creed other than the New Testament." What a wonderful guideline to follow!
I was invited to the summer church picnic and gladly attended. There I was greeted warmly by other church members who asked me about my life, where I was from, what I studied in school, where I was working now. It was beautiful fellowship, with delicious food, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. My spirit was warmed.
I thank God for my experiences this morning at La Verne Church of the Brethern. I read an article recently at The Point about "Rethinking the Great Commission" and I was overjoyed to see a church that was forming disciples, not merely looking for converts. I know that the members are going out into the world and doing great things for Christ and I was blessed to be amongst them.
I'll be going back next week.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Soulforce is embarking upon another important campaign. From July 14 - 29, a group of young adults will travel across the state of New York to talk to lawmakers about why marriage equality is important. It's the New York Right To Marry Campaign and it's not too late to get involved! Whether you want to be one of the riders, get involved locally, or send your support from afar be sure to check www.rightomarry.org for more info!
Thursday, June 07, 2007
A family friend of mine now works for PriorityOne Foundation men's ministry and sends out a weekly "Thursday Thought." I particularly enjoyed this one and so I'm passing it along to you...
“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.” Acts 1:10.
This is the moment that Jesus departed the earth to return to the presence of His Father. Within Christianity, this is called the Ascension. The disciples stood watching this moment happen for as long as they could. Two angels appeared and stood by them, apparently unnoticed at first. One of the angels spoke up, telling the disciples that Jesus would some day return in the same manner that He had just left. But they were not to wait around for this to happen, for no one knew how long that would be. God, the Father, in the mean time, had other things for them to do. We are still, some two thousand years later, “in the mean time”.
Followers of Christ have been “looking intently up” toward heaven in our attempt to discern what we are supposed to be doing “in the mean time”. It is a healthy tension to be in. I once heard someone say that a follow of Jesus needs to keep one eye focused towards heaven and one eye on what we sense God would like us to do here in our world – the eyes of our heart focused on God and our physical eyes, in obedience to God, focused on the work of God in our lives. That is the tension and the challenge. I find that it is not profitable for me to be so “heavenly minded that I am no earthly good”. I do not need to be one or the other – “either/or”; rather, I need to be “both/and”. I need to be heavenly minded in order to be of earthly good. The key is to be “intently looking up” to God for clarity on what He desires for me to do. And then to do it!
It is so interesting to me that Jesus, the perfect Son of God, needed to be in continual communication with His Father. He spent many solitary times away from all other people and in the presence of His Father. He apparently needed those times to “refill His tank”, preparing Him for the present day’s activities and mission. If Jesus needed to do this, what does that say about me….what about you? It is also interesting that Jesus’ time with His Father always resulted in action. Jesus never just basked in the “glory” of His Father. His time with God always prepared Him for doing something. Again, I ask, what about me….what about you?
Take time today to reflect on what “looking intently up” to connect to God means in your life. What response does this provoke in you? I challenge you to consider the tension on being “heavenly minded” and “earthly good”. I know that for myself, I can be of no earthly good without being heavenly minded. How about you?
Write a beautiful article and neglect to mention it to me.
"Time and again Equality Riders have been told we are affirmed as human beings created in God's image but would not make suitable roommates, teammates, and coworkers. What kind of love can have such distinctions inscribed upon it?"
Monday, June 04, 2007
I don't know how long this has been around, but thanks to Beth Van Dam's Facebook groups, I am pleased to show love for the GSA at Seattle Pacific. Change continues to ripple through the schools and communities. I am so proud of the students and administration of SPU and excited to follow the group.
If you are on Facebook, the group can be found here.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Google has a habit of recommending sites to me that it deems "similar" to my searches and page visits. Recently, Evangelicals Concerned came up in the suggestions. As I clicked through the pages and skimmed over the paragraphs, one section in particular stood out:
Do I have all the answers? No. Do I know what God has for me next? No. Do I have to know what everything is going to look like to be o.k? No. All I have to do is trust Him, and keep my eyes and ears open to what He has for me. Sometimes He asks me to do things which I don't understand. With practice, I am getting better at taking these steps of faith, with the mind/heart set being, "He asked me to, and that is enough."I, like Dave, have been continually challenged to know God deeper, to purse God more fully, to study the Word more closely. I have realized that to grow means to examine and often to change. I know that the Brian of a decade ago did not think like I do today. But I also know that then I was living in just a dim reflection of what the Lord has in store. I still don't fully understand--now I know in part, but then I will know fully. I am learning to truly open myself up to listen for direction. What is the point of asking if I'm not willing to change my mind, to be challenged into something new, or to step outside of my comfort.
I found it appropriate that on the drive back from work "For The Sake of the Call" by Steven Curtis Chapman came on my mix CD.
We will abandon it all, for the sake of the call. No other reason at all, but the sake of the call. Holy, devoted, to live and to die for the sake of the call. [...] So they knew from the start, this road would not lead to fame. All they really knew for sure was Jesus had called to them say come follow me and they came. With reckless abandon they came. [...] For Jesus had called them by name, and they answered.I guess I just need to get used to not having all the answers. Not knowing all the reasons. Not knowing exactly what will happen. But trusting all the while that what must happen will.
I have been asked, and that is enough.
Fellow Equality Rider Matt Comer has launched ScoutPride, a subsection of his InterstateQ website to highlight and engage the anti-gay discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts of America.
As an Eagle Scout who served many positions including Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, I can say that Scouting was one of the most formative experiences of my childhood and was influential in preparing me for adulthood. It saddens me that gay youth are being deprived of this opportunity. If they cannot go to Boy Scouts to learn how to be a man, where will they turn? To MTV? To the movies?
Where are organizations for gay youth who want to be responsible, moral, and positive citizens? I was taught to value American ideals of citizenship in Scouts... when did those ideals include discrimation and prejudice?
Please check out ScoutPride. Spread the word to friends and family about the importance of this issue. And contact BSA to voice your concern.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I wince every time I say the word,
Especially in connection with Jesus.
Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus,
I can not help but conclude that although the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful,
God, hallelujah in His mercy, is still on the side of the underdog.
- Audio Adrenaline, "Underdog"
Saturday, May 26, 2007
My name is Brian Murphy. I am currently employed at the qubo network, a children's network put together by NBC, ION Television, Scholastic, Nelvana (Babar), and Big Idea (Veggie Tales). After work, I normally make myself dinner, check my email, and read the news. After spending some time with my roommates, I read my Bible and go to sleep.
I attend Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Southern California. Wednesday nights used to be Campus Crusade, but now it's Bible study at the church. Growing up (and now during holidays), I go to Fourth Presbyerian Church in Bethesda, MD (where I am still a member).
I was raised in Potomac, MD. My father is a patent attorney. My mother is a social worker and worked for YoungLife for seven years (some before I was born, some while I was in high school). Every summer I go on a vacation with my extended family.
Sometimes on the weekends I go to Disneyland with my friends. I'm a big fan of movie nights. The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I try to spend it in DC with my friends from high school whenever possible.
In high school, I was involved with YoungLife at my high school. I went to campaigners, camp, and even volunteered for work crew. In college, I spent a month on summer staff.
My family is also an important part of my life. My sister and I say that we're "best friends for life." Our parents stressed the importance of family, faith, commitment, cooperation, and love. They make a conscious effort to model the type of people we should aspire to be. I look forward to all the time I spend with them.
Here are some more of my favorite photographs:
(1) Square-dancing while on Summer Staff at YoungLife camp, (2) Some of my friends eating ice cream in Westwood, CA, (3) "Extreme Games" activity at Lake Champion.
Blowing out my birthday candles with my sister and cousin's children.
(1) With my friends over summer vacation a few years ago, (2) one of my best friends, (3) sitting in a friend's hammock with my then-boyfriend
On a boat with my father
(1) Out to dinner with friends in MD, (2) last night with the Ropes Course crew at Lake Champion, (3) my roommate Ryan and I, (4) In N Out with friends visiting from high school