Thursday, October 16, 2014

National Coming Out Day Reflection : A Biblical answer to fundamentalists

"Sexual desire is only one aspect of gay male is not the sum of queer pleasure .Gay desire seeks more than the achievement of gay identity .Gay identity does not answer to all the demands of gay desire .Gay identity is inadequate to the full expression of gay subjectivity .Gay  identity may well register the fact of gay desire ;it may even stand in for it's wayward promptings ,it's unanticipated urges and satisfactions .But gay identity does not-it cannot-capture in all it's subjective sweep and scope"-Daniel Halpernin,How to be Gay 
 "Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war."-The Bible

There is much controversy and blessings happening in our world concerning gay rights as a gay man I stand in awe daily of how such a topic as homosexuality was a faux pas topic to even discuss now as I hear from most who existed during the time that the Gay Liberation movement started my generation has it much easier as well as possessing more rights than we used to in many ways I would say we do though I see many ways we don't I may be able to marry in my country but if I move to Uganda I could get killed for even the suggestion of being gay so there is still much work to do .I believe much of the prejudice that comes  to us in the gay community comes from those of the most fundamentalist of faiths which means to some a person being gay is a "spiritual problem" even though i'm a gay man with a very liberal theology I used to be one of these fundamentalists I had to open my eyes to "New Light" from the divine to answer the judgments I even put upon myself in struggling to come out .So in honor of National  Coming out day I want to offer some biblical answers to this "spiritual problem" that i have to those who might have closed their ear in seeing that we are a child of god also   :

  • The Bible is Not God it is a word of God

Within most groups that seem to criticize those of who are gay the bible's words become paramount to the argument statements like "the Bible says..." has to qualify everything though looking upon the bible's words it itself does not claim to be "The Author and finisher of our faith " that seems to be something that rests upon Jesus his words so should "Jesus said" be the common phrase .

Something else to denote the bible may be the word of God but it is not God itself though it seems to be seated upon the heavenly throne nowadays when criticizing those of us who are gay some words from the ten commandments might be valuable when the bible itself is invoked for someone like me :

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"

In the "Likeness of anything of anything that is in heaven above.or the earth beneath " should stand out here if your one of the ones using such an argument you are turning a book that was decided upon a few thousand years which was altered during the reformation into a graven image a hard fact that should be realized is that the bible does not hold all the answers to life's ills it is A Word of God not The Word of God the bible plainly calls Jesus such one does not have a relationship with Christ just through the bible but through prayer and daily revelation you get in touch with the true Word of God the bible is not the end all be all in Christian decisions nor should it be thought to be but that redemptive principle within should govern.

  • I am born this way biblically speaking 

When doing apologetics one should definitely look to first sources what I find though is many who hope to condemn me for who I am only look and say that within Genesis that only man and woman were created first but in looking to the Mother faith of Christianity-Judaism the Talmud gives a different answer :

"Rabbi Samuel bar Nahman said: When the Blessed Holy One created the first human, He made him a hermaphrodite (androginos).

Rabbi Levi said: When it was created, it was fashioned with two body-fronts, and He sawed it in two, so two backs were made—a back for the male and a back for the female. An objection was raised [to this statement from the verse]: And He took one of his ribs . . . [And the Lord God fashioned the rib . . . into a woman . . . ] (Gen.2: 21-22). Rabbi Levi answered: [The word you translate 'of his ribs' should be rendered] "of his sides," as it is written, and for the other side of the Tabernacle . . . (Exod. 26:20)"

an interesting thought that most don't realize that maybe the first human  was a hermaphrodite and even more so each human is gifted by God with love for the same sex because the qualities of male and female were mixed within us   so can I answer I was "born this way" yes biblically because Jesus would have known this even accepted it in his time.

  • Christianity demands a Self-Sacrificing love 

Someone I consider very close to me made me understand that the bible does not point us to loving just our God and our neighbor as ourselves it takes that love even farther as affirmed in the First Epistle of John :

"We know love by this ,that he(Jesus)laid down his life for us -and we ought to lay down our lives for one another"

Wow what a realization we as Christians must show a self-sacrificing love this means also a sacrifice of views if you see your Christianity as just black and white there is a great gray area you are missing if you are choosing to condemn when we are told to love to the point of sacrifice you might very well be missing a fundamental message in the life of Christ .when think on this self-sacrificing love it makes the saying "Love the Sin,Hate the sinner " null and void because every human being is our brother as well as sister God demands we show all a love that is just a lot more surrendering everything within us to understand the life of another .

One may consider these thoughts bold even hitting the most vital parts of what most mainstream Christians believe but just because a person believes somethings does not exactly make it right .I believe being Gay is a spiritual gift sent to me from above >It allows me to understand the struggle for equality we all face as human beings .

Some Queries to ponder

Do you understand that the bible is not God nor should be used as a sole decider in spiritual decisions ?

Can you open your mind to the fact that you may not know all the answers regarding God and the LGBTQ community ?

Where does judgment lay in the bible with human understanding or the divine ?

A Prayer

 "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"-The Serenity Prayer

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fall Reflection-The Burning Bush that we all are

"Earth's Crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees ,takes off his shoes,
the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
and daub their natural faces unaware."- Elizabeth Barret Browning ,From Aurora Leigh

It is Fall the Autumn colors have arrived and everything seems to be flavored with pumpkin usually around this time spirit seems to bestow upon me a similar message for the season .when I look around and I see the fall colors especially looking at the trees i'm reminded of the biblical story of Moses and the Burning Bush.if your not familiar with the story here is a short synopsis -Moses the biblical patriarch before he led the Israelites out of Egypt and parted the red sea was one day watching the sheep of his father-in-law deciding to lead him more into the desert he sees a bush far from set aflame unnaturally by something otherworldly he goes to see it the bush than calls out to him reminding who he was called to be as well as the sanctity of the living things around him.

I believe that all of us are like this burning bush we are simple,mundane,even imperfect as human beings but within us rests something more,something almost otherworldly that ignites us that centers us upon those things we are most passionate about .This thing ignites us also draws people to us in seeing our ideas in practice we end up seeing others drawn by the flame that engulfs us we transcend we remind others of the holiness of all things around us .Quakers have a word for this fire it is the Inner light or Inner Teacher that guides us through revealing our passions,strengths and fears .This Inner light transcends our conscious and rests in a holy place .
This Autumn I would like for all to look at the Trees burning right in front of us that tree that we are and kindle that inner light that allows us to call out others on our journey .
Queries To Ponder :

What things are you passionate about ?
Do you notice a fire within that drives your passions ?
How do you think you might be a burning bush for others ?

A Prayer :

Wild nights - Wild nights!

Were I with thee

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile - the winds -

To a Heart in port -

Done with the Compass -

Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden -

Ah - the Sea!

Might I but moor - tonight -

In thee!- Emily Dickinson

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Leaves of Grass-A Tashlikh Ritual

The High holidays within the Jewish Community are just ending part of the celebration of the High Holidays is a ritual known as Tashlikh .Tashlikh is a Hebrew word that simply means "Casting off "  the Tashlikh ritual simply involves reflecting on One's transgressions for the years and throwing pieces of bread into a body of water .I believe this ritual even though started in the Jewish community can be applied to us all so i've created my own Tashlikh Ritual that you are welcome to use anytime :

Tashlikh Ritual 

Part 1 : Adoration

Start this ritual by invoking and praising the Eternal Source stating your desire in performing this ritual  use this prayer or a similar one you fits you(Make sure to be close to the body of water and have a slice of bread) :

"Dear Eternal Source I come before you with my whole being seeking to cast off those transgressions that so hold me back from reaching my highest potential and that keeps me from allowing others to reach theirs I praise you for your forgiveness and am blessed by your presence"

Part 2 :Assesment

Now is the hardest part of the ritual admitting and accepting your transgressions .This part of the ritual can be easily done by thinking on the transgressions you've done within the last year but I've made it easier by providing you with some queries to ponder regarding whatever Transgression you might have :

Have I harmed anyone lately through thought,word,or deed ?

Is there something i'm not accepting about myself that I should be accepting ?am I being honest with who I am as a human being ?

Do I accept these actions that may have done harm to others and myself ?and do I seek to rectify any damage that might have been done ?

After reflecting on the queries focus the transgressions you find into the bread seeing the bread as a microcosm of yourself break the bread into pieces for each transgression

Part 3- Casting Off

Understanding that you have transgressions in your life and admitting comes an understanding that they come from your own human frailty as human being you will always mess up but grace is still meted out to you not only by the Eternal source but by society as well as the earth.One source of forgiveness is the body of water you are standing by say this verse or similar one as you stand with pieces of bread in hand :

"You will have compassion upon us ,you will tread our transgressions underfoot and hurl all our shortcomings into the sea "-Micah 7:19

After reciting the verse take each singular piece of bread and calling out the transgression throw each individual piece into the body of water watch it go in and dissolve into the water a new you is beginning that little microcosm that was full of all those bad things you done that was that piece of bread is now slowly dissolving away to nothingness in the water as you watch this happen sit in silence for about 10-15 minutes until you come to a realization that you are something new .

Part 4 - Liberation

As you slowly come out of this silence you probably feel liberated accepting yourself as this person made anew by casting off those things that set you back celebrate with this song or another :

Wade in the Water

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children,
Wade in the water
God's a-going to trouble the water
See that host all dressed in white
God's a-going to trouble the water
The leader looks like the Israelite
God's a-going to trouble the water
See that band all dressed in red
God's a-going to trouble the water
Looks like the band that Moses led
God's a-going to trouble the water
Look over yonder, what do you see?
God's a-going to trouble the water
The Holy Ghost a-coming on me
God's a-going to trouble the water
If you don't believe I've been redeemed
God's a-going to trouble the water
Just follow me down to the Jordan's stream
God's a-going to trouble the water

I hope you have found this ritual powerful in your own life and find yourself doing it again and again.