Thursday, July 23, 2009
I got hated on by a gay organization. Then I got hated on by a Christian one.
I received a couple offensive emails calling me names. Then I received a couple encouraging emails giving me hope.
I had a moving Living in the Tension gathering. Then I went home and cried.
I got hated on once again by the same gay organization and the same Christian organization.
I talked to some people who I trust my life with (Brenda, Dad, Richard and Wendy). Then I felt better.
I woke up this morning with a double ear infection. And also woke up to a few more hateful emails.
And then a few more encouraging ones.
Here’s one from someone I don’t know who just finished reading my book:
“You do not do this in vain. Know when the times get tough you have touched lives.”
Then I had a great talk with an editor at a magazine doing an article on my book, and then I prayed.
And I feel comforted in the FACT that I’m doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
No matter what haters try to lie, cheat, complain or tear me down.
No matter what friends are too “worn out” by this difficult bridge building work and want to give up—because “it’s too hard” and now think “it can never happen” because it hasn’t happened quick enough for their satisfaction.
Give up then.
Because I won’t. And neither will God.
Because I’m trying to learn how to live and love in real time.
Don’t have answers for everything.
And the sad part is that too many “intelligent” people from both ends won’t ever admit that as truth.
I am loved. I am me.
I am satisfied with who I represent and how I daily strive to represent Him.
The rest of them can keep on trying to dissect every word I say and use it against me.
But it doesn’t matter anymore.
Because He was a Jewish carpenter and therefore I build bridges. Period.
I don't care who in this world is satisfied with that answer or not; as there is One who is.
So keep on hatin’ me haters.
Because thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
And you all can’t dictate not even one ounce of that, no matter what you think you own.
Cause I’ll keep on lovin’ anyway.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Heard on over 120 stations and Sirius Satellite, Kresta in the Afternoon looks at all areas of life through the lens of Scripture and the teaching of the Catholic Church and takes on all comers. Over the years, Al has engaged in vigorous discussions or debates with nationally known figures from politics, the arts, the Church, academia and business such as Jack Kevorkian, Mother Angelica, Jesse Jackson, Carl Bernstein, John McCain, Gloria Steinem, Pat Buchanan, Scott Hahn, Donna Shalala, Judge Robert Bork, Richard Gephardt, Jerry Falwell, George McGovern, Steve Allen, Bowie Kuhn, Mrs. Anwar Sadat, Martin Luther King III, Cal Thomas, Avery Cardinal Dulles, Chuck Colson, Alan Dershowitz, Ken Starr, James Earl Ray, Mary Higgins Clark, and C. Everett Koop.
My goal is to keep it peaceful, as you know I’m not into “debates” … and I will stay peaceful no matter what. You can listen live here.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Lots to talk about post-vacation, and I’m looking forward to catching up with all the comments while I was gone.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Here is my final reflection from walking in the 2009 Chicago Gay Pride Parade and interviewing a variety of people who were all a part of that day as well.
How do you think modern views of historiography have affected our ability to think theologically and ethically about our past and present experiences? Here is my answer:
Modern views of historiography, like most everything modern (or should I say postmodern?), are thoroughly rooted in a pluralistic secular movement of what it means to live in a post-Christian era. Sometimes I get shrieks when I say post-Christian, as most people look at Europe as the prime example of a post-Christian culture. Although I know the United States is currently not at the same place as Europe, I do have to bring up the point that Christianity is America is declining at the same time it’s rising in Europe.
My belief is that the “religion” of secularism is riding a way of the past four decades of poor Christian expressions of love and outreach. It’s the fifty-some year old secularists who are leading the charge against the validity of Christianity, and many of the more well known secularists were raised in the Church. After being bitten, excluded and poked at, in their mind it’s their turn now to turn the tables by forming their own movement—which has gained way more momentum than I personally ever thought I would see. Because of this, historiography within our era will forever be skewed away from anything we stand for because in many people’s minds (specifically the mainstream cultural influencers), Christendom’s time has passed.
The only way to recoup any of the Truth in history is for us to intentionally start loving in such a way that we become the come-as-you-are-culture we are supposed to be. This does not mean fight. This does not mean picket. This does not mean cause a stink. This means that if we can focus on the character of God and live out his commands to faithfully and exuberantly love all of his creations made in his image (and I mean all), years from now society will look back with their own version of historiography—one that looks nothing like the secularist version of today. What is this love that I talk about? It’s not a Universalist type of love where anything goes. It’s a Christ driven love that allows God to work on HIS timetable; not ours. No matter what the outcome. It’s a type of love where the Body of Christ intentionally seeks out those considered on the outside—and that does not mean go to Africa and help those who can’t help themselves (although that is good too). It means we go to our own communities, our own outcasts, our own neighbors who are in our everyday lives. It’s so hard because it’s so personal. Those starving babies in Africa don’t know you, won’t talk back to you and adore your every moment. Not the same with a grown American adult who has been burned by the Church at some point in their life.
It’s time to go out and move forward; and history depends on our actions today!
“Do you know what I think about living out your faith?”
In my head I said: Nope—don’t know and don’t necessarily want to know either if it is anything like what you have spewed out for the last hour. Instead I smiled and asked his thoughts. And out came a very unexpected profound statement! He said:
“My take is that there are four ways people live in death here on earth:
1. The obsessive need to look good
2. The obsessive need to be right
3. The obsessive need to avoid pain
4. The obsessive need to be in control”
And as soon as he was done telling Brenda and I his fully inspired and completely insightful and culturally relevant thoughts on living a stifled life in Christ, he went back to his old self—as if for one moment in time he was inspired by clarity.
I now refer to these four constructs as the Empire Carpet Theology.
Friday, July 10, 2009
The purpose of the study is to understand the characteristics of these marriages and the experiences of individuals in them. Participants can be currently in a mixed orientation marriage or have been previously. If you or someone you know fits this description and would like to share your experience, participants are needed! The survey can be accessed online by going to www.mixedorientationstudy.com. The study is completely anonymous and confidential; however, participants are given the option of sharing limited identifying information to participate in future follow-up studies if desired.
Short and to the point—this is officially the worst evangelism tool ever found on the face of the earth.
Sadness strikes me in great amounts hearing this gay man’s response.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
In this video I get yelled at and told I’m going to hell. The protestors thought I was gay. When I told them I wasn’t gay and went to a conservative seminary, I was still told I’m going to hell.
One thing to notice about half way through the video, the guy with the megaphone kept yelling:
“Sick, Sick, Sick”
Does that really work? Maybe it’s just me, but that does absolutely no good—for anyone.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
In this clip I interview Nathan, a straight man who is walking in the Parade. And funny enough, he goes to an evangelical seminary in Chicago as well! One of the things that Nathan says is that he sometimes feels as though he is more loved by the GLBT community than he is by his seminary community. It’s strange for me that others have had the same experience as myself. As I say in my book:
"I have never met a more loving community in my life than the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) community. Obviously, there are exceptions in any community, but in general I've found that GLBT people don't care if you're skinny, hairy, fat, pimpled, a millionaire or dead broke; there is room for everyone."
Take out the GLBT part of that quote and you have the ideal definition of Christianity. Let this be a bold challenge.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Welcome to my neighborhood during it’s most famous hour. At the end of the clip I pray that I know the Lord loves this neighborhood. And he does. Many look upon Boystown and think God hates it in anger and judgment. I believe he loves it in broken compassion, yearning for those 1.2 million people and beyond at that Parade to come to know his love and transcending characteristics as the Creator he is; and all that is entailed with that relationship.
Many people (gay and straight) are confused by transgenders. Here’s our opportunity to learn from, and listen to a transgender female [defined as male to female] talk about her experiences growing up in the Catholic church. Towards the end she says something that I think we all need to hear:
I asked her if she thought the Church could have helped her out with her “demons” (as she put it), and her response was “no.” Experiences prove potent—especially with religion and personal demons. We’re losing thousands to the secular world because we’re not quite sure how to respond to a variety of topics.
So instead of trying to figure out how to respond, let’s figure out how to love—and the responses will be a natural outplay of our commitment to another.
Monday, July 6, 2009
In this video I interview a Mom and her son who are both walking in the Parade. I think the Mom says two very profound things:
1. Although she would group her own theological beliefs in a more liberal category, she said that she totally believes that someone can hold onto a conservative theological belief and still love in tangible ways that make a difference in GLBT peoples lives.
2. She thinks the problem in the culture war is not a theology “thing,” it’s a people “thing.”
My belief is that people’s actions are an outplay of their theology. In agreement with what the Mom said, no matter what the belief, the culture war can easily end because of what people do, not by convincing others of what they believe.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Here’s the back-story to this video:
This man was involved in a church and when he decided to tell leadership of his same-sex attractions they put him into therapy (not forcefully because he agreed to do so) and they put his works in the church on “probation” until he didn’t have same-sex attractions anymore. After trying and trying with no change in the attractions, he gladly left the church and now will not go anywhere unless the church, as he said, “are not concerned who he sleeps with.”
Another casualty we created because we didn’t know how to build Christ’s bridges in the right way.
His life now is on our heads for causing his current state. Why? Because he started with a traditional interpretation of Scripture and look where he’s at now because he “couldn’t succeed vs. his struggles”. Listen closely here for a second: if there is something we need to take from this interview, it’s that the Church needs to reorient its understanding of what a successful outcome looks like. If the only metric of success is to “be straight” then we’re not going to ever really be able to make a difference because what constitutes straight? Marriage? Children? What if the person is still gay and just wants an outside facade to blend in? Is that success then? Is success no more attractions to the same-sex, ever? What about unwanted fantasies that can't be overcome? What about gay Christians? What about celibacy? What about the replacement for intimacy if celibate? Where does that come from?
Too many questions and too few answers because many of us have never invested the time, effort and relationships into figuring it out because the majority Church is just concerned with one label: S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T.
Think about this, if not success, then the only other option is failure. And if success/fail are the only two options we offer (all the while not clearly defining the different shades of one’s journey along the way), we’re not caring enough to authentically enter into someone’s life story with them, now are we? It seems that the Church thinks the ends (being straight) justify the means (don’t care how you get there, just get there—and get there quick. And if it takes too long or done in the fashion deemed appropriate then you’re a failure). When my understanding of what it is to build a Christlike bridge with the GLBT community is the exact opposite (see Love is an Orientation, specifically pages 146-160).
His life is another unfortunate example of us keeping the GLBT community at arm’s length in the most horrific way:
Telling them we love them and want to be there with them throughout everything, and in deception setting up a structure of success and failure that the majority of the time equates to failure. What happens when someone fails, then?! Do we just let them go and not give a second thought because they weren’t successful enough???—well, we did with him and the majority is ok with that.
But it’s not ok with me and I hope it's not ok with you either.
Friday, July 3, 2009
This is the first interview I conducted at the Parade. As soon as I got there I saw a group of people wearing purple shirts with the transgender logo on them (you’ll see the logo in the video). None of the people in the shirts “looked” transgender, so I went up to them and asked what they were walking for. It turns out that they were parents who have transgender kids. Two of these parents were more than happy to be interviewed on camera, and here are their thoughts on two questions:
1. What would you like to say to the Church as a parent of a transgender kid
2. What can the Church do to tangibly serve your transgender kid?
Notice that when the dad is talking, he’s eyes are welling up because he’s fighting back some major tears. In talking to him off camera he got very emotional as this was his first parade—he’s just trying to learn to live and love amidst everything going on in his, and his child’s life.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I recorded this video from my condo after the parade, as a real-time summary of what you are going to see, feel and hear over the next two weeks as I post the remaining ten videos from my participation in the 2009 Gay Pride Parade in Chicago.
As I said in the video, this is a time to reflect as we take everyone’s words during the interviews as a legitimate expression of what each person’s experience has been, and where they are currently. My favorite slogan—right from the gate you can’t relate—and this is a huge step forward as we are able to place the GLBT community’s metric upon ourselves to know the boundaries of what it is to make significant things happen for the Kingdom.