When I began this blog, I imagined that it would follow me as I navigated my way through life. I came up with the name of All Points In Between. This blog is about not only the major events in my life, but all points in between. When I started the blog, I was about about to embark on the 2007 Equality Ride. That was my current point. Since then I've gone through graduation, Right to Marry, a move across the country, and now life in The Big Apple. It feels like I'm on about to breakthrough to another point in my life's journey. I've decided to look back to where I've come.
Training for the 2008 Equality Ride concluded in Minneapolis only four days ago. As I look back on my own training experience, it is unbelievable to imagine a time without my fellow Riders in my life.
On our first day, we rolled a piece of paper on the hotel floor for an ice-breaker. You can see me pictured below, among a sea of young adults who were at the time strangers. I'm across from Vince Cervantes and Vince Pancucci, who I met up with in Southern California after the ride at the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference. I grabbed breakfast in NYC with Cervantes and his mom when he was in town for an appearance on a TV show.
Next to the Vinces is Jillian Nye. I would grow to love Jillian as we worked to plan a stop at Pepperdine University. After the ride, she introduced me to La Verne Church of the Brethern, a church I still call home every time I'm back in So Cal.
Aaron is drawing next to her, I stayed with him in Nebraska during the Epic Journey Into Adulthood. I also went to visit him at his seminary in Minneapolis recently. He is a constant source of stimulation in my spiritual journey and I think over 50% of my reading list comes from his shelves or recommendations.
At the left side of the photo you'll see Brandy Daniels. She's a student at Duke Divinity now and one of the inspiring contributors to (Not So) Straight From Seminary.
Next to her sits Dan Seda, a fellow West Buser who lives in New York City where I've since moved. He just bought a dog and I recently caught up with him over yoga and Mexican food.
Bram Wispelwey serves on the SFNYC Board of Directors and works closely with me to continue the work of Soulforce here in New York.
Not in this picture are Micah Matthias--who lived on my couch for close to three months and has become a brother to me--and Casey Chandler-Alexander--another wonderful Equality Rider. Josh Polycarpe rounds out the No Photo Available crowd as fixtures in my life now.
That's not to mention the staff of Soulforce Q, whom I talk to weekly for fun and for advice. Matt Comer whom I blog with over at InterstateQ, the talented Adam Britt who's about to go on tour with Of Montreal, Philly-based Jess Kalup with whom I talk (and plan) almost every day, Angel Collie who's visited me at least three times in the past two months, or the many other Equality Riders who are infused with my life daily.
Before training started, these people were strangers; after our first training they became co-workers; and now they are more like family. In my post at the end of Austin training, I wrote:
We spent our last evening together sharing where we were before Austin, where we are now, and where we're going. There was LOTS of sharing and it took us a solid 3 hours to wrap everything up but doing so really gave us a sense of who we were as a group. These people are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They come from all around the country and they bring them open minds and loving hearts. I cannot wait to share them with the world and grow to know them even better.Today, I am sharing the world with them and it is a beautiful world. I thought, at the time, that Equality Ride was simply the first point I would chronicle in this blog, it seems that in many ways it was the starting point for an exciting new direction in my life. In my mind the ride would be two months--I would check in and check out. Little did I know the bonds and lasting relationships I'd be creating. The 2008 Equality Ride begins in October and I'm sure it will inspire some more reflections. Feel free to check out other other Equality Ride posts in the meantime.
For those interesting, Soulforce Q is a grass-roots organization and operates through the continuing support of concerned individuals, you can support the Equality Ride financially here.