LifeWalk

______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Here I Am August 2, 2012

[“This post is now part of the July 2015 synchroblog that invited bloggers to write about “Gay Marriage”.]

Never. Never in a million years would I have imagined being anything resembling a gay-rights activist. Never a God-worshiping, Jesus-loving gay-rights activist. Yet, here I am.

If we’ve learned anything from history, it’s that religious fundamentalists have rather consistently opposed the heart of God. From the crucifixion, to the stoning of the saints. From the crusades, to the Salem witch-hunts, to slavery and racism, to the oppression of women, to the opposition of marriage equality and gay rights.
The organized church has repeatedly been on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of truth.
Yet the lessons go unheeded, and history continues to repeat itself. The unimaginable cruelty, torture, oppression, and even bloodshed and death have always been justified with “Chapter and Verse.” The Bible and a bloody sword, one in each hand. Using the name of God, but being farther from God than the east is from the west. No matter how much people recognize that the Bible has been falsely used in the past, it’s always “Well, we’re not doing that this time.”
Yeah.
That’s what “they” said.

There is a civil war in this country. I don’t use those words lightly. We were once split between slave owners, and those who sought equality for all. We are again split in fight for equality.  And once more, sadly, it is brother against brother, and sister against sister. Often with both sides praying to God for victory.
Despite the rhetoric, this has nothing to do with “free speech,” anymore than having separate drinking fountains was a matter of free speech.  This is a matter of equality in a multi-culture, multi-religion nation.
To paraphrase Senator Jamie Raskin, “People put their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution.  They don’t put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.” I fear the horrors that await if those who believe this is a “Christian” nation have their way. So, here I am. Taking my stand for marriage equality, and LGBT equality in general.

I’m one of those who, as a former fundamentalist, knows the issue from multiple viewpoints.  I know the faulty arguments and misuse of scripture because I used to preach and teach them.
Some friends have been lost.  Some bridges burned.
Accusations of deceiving and being deceived.
I’m sure there will be more of the same. (As an Ex ex-gay, in a mixed-orientation marriage, I get flack from “fundamentalists” on both sides of the isle.)

Mel White has said “Becoming an activist is simply a matter of putting love into action.”  For me, that’s easier said than done.  But being silent is not an option. I’m surprised at where life has taken me; at where the journey has led.  But it is what it is.  By the grace of God and the strength of Christ, I will continue to speak out against this religiously induced injustice.  I will make my small contribution.

Standing with my LGBT brothers and sisters, Here I am.

—————— Additional resources:
More About My Journey /
Freedom Indiana   /   Give A Damn / Indiana Equality   /   Holy Terror / Human Rights Campaign /   Crazy For God / A Time To Embrace / Fall To Grace   / For The Bible Tells Me So / Through My Eyes /

 

Sing Along With Bart July 30, 2012




Here’s another good illustration of the point,
written by Bart Breen.

‎(sung to the tune of Jesus Loves me)



The Bible loves me, this I know
Though Jesus never told me so,
The truth in it is all I see,
(But only if it’s KJV)

Yes the Bible loves me,
Yes the Bible loves me,
Yes the Bible loves me,
I rest within its folds

The Bible loves me, when I’m good
When I search for every “should”
The Bible loves you too you see,
(but not if you read NIV)

(chorus)

Jesus is the Word of God
Every Christian this applauds
But it’s hard to let Him lead
So let’s make Him what we read

(chorus)

When what I am is what I know
Reading daily helps me grow
Principles are what I’ll be
Just like a good Pharisee

(chorus)

Singing this might make you mad
If the Bible’s all you’ve had
If your nose is out of joint
Look to whom the Bible points

Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so



Visit Bart Breen’s blog.
Click HERE.

 

Holy Terror July 14, 2012


“Becoming an activist is simply a matter of putting love into action.”

Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality
– Mel White
———–

Essential Reading!
This is another “I-wish-I-could-make-everyone-read-it” book.

“Holy Terror” contains vital recent past history, chronicling  and exposing the war on America by the religious right.  The material here isn’t conjecture, or hyped partial-truths.  This book is written by an “insider.”
Mr. White was a significant player in fundamentalist evangelical circles.  And for a time, he bought into the lies.
He knew, and worked with people like Billy Graham,  Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, and Pat Robertson.

Mel White knows of what he speaks!  And what he speaks of is some very, very scary stuff!
We learn of secret meetings, political agendas, manipulation of the masses, and very “un-Christ-like” power-plays of this sect that wishes to control and conform the entirety of America into their own image.

There’s a story of how Mel was hired to ghost-write a book for Pat Roberston, and Pat wouldn’t even take the time to read it. Yet, there he was at a book signing, autographing a book with his name on it, not knowing what was actually in it.

There’s also information about how President Bush actually sought approval from James Dobson on who to appoint to office!!

Part of the book descriptions have this to say:

—-
“The Reverend Mel White, a deeply religious man who sees fundamentalism as “evangelical Christian orthodoxy gone cultic,” believes that it is not a stretch to say that the true goal of today’s fundamentalists is to break down the wall that separates church and state, superimpose their “moral values” on the U.S. Constitution, replace democracy with theocratic rule, and ultimately create a new “Christian America” in their image. White’s new book, Holy Terror, is a wake-up call to all of us to take heed.

White is singularly qualified to write this exposé of the Christian Right because he himself was a true believer who served the evangelical movement as pastor, professor, filmmaker, television producer, author, and ghostwriter. As he writes, “These are not just Neocons dressed in religious drag. These men see themselves as gurus called by God to rescue America from unrighteousness. They believe this is a Christian nation that must be returned forcibly to its Christian roots.”
—-

The section “Idolatry:  The Religion Of Fundamentalism”  should be a “must-read” for Christians everywhere.
It covers “God As Idol” (some GREAT insights here), “The Bible As Idol” (which I’ve covered in a number of other posts), “The Family As Idol” (focus on the Dobson), and “The Nation As Idol” (also see “The Myth of a Christian Nation).

Later we look at “Fascism: The Politics Of Fundamentalism.”  We’re shown the frightening similarities between what’s going on in America, and the way religion and the Bible were used by Hitler to deceive the masses and rally the troops. The “14 identifying characteristics of fascism” are disturbingly similar to fundamentalist Christianity!

Then, in Part Four of the book, we discuss ways to resist fundamentalism. Chapter’s 8 and 9 analyze how to reclaim our progressive political and moral values.
In the section on moral values, we look at the Old Testament prophets and the teachings of Jesus. There’s lots of scripture in this section. We see again how fundamentalists, like the Pharisees, major on the minors, while ignoring or dismissing the real meat of the Bible and of Jesus’ teachings.
While fundamentalists want to “reclaim America,” what’s really needed is to reclaim Christianity from the fundamentalists.

Finally, there’s “Discovering Soul Force.” We look at the examples of Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi as we discover the power of non-violent resistance (also known as “Christian Love”) which Jesus taught and lived. It can be, or rather is, very hard to not hate the haters. I see a lot of hater hating these days. It is understandable. But this portion of Mel’s book really helped me remember that love conquers hate. We also see that loving one’s enemies doesn’t mean rolling over and playing dead. It’s not violence or passivity. It is a third way.
[In relationship to that, check out the last paragraph of this previous post: Click HERE. ]

As a gay Christian, Mr. White does focus on the dangers of the religious right in their war against homosexuals, BUT these dangers are a threat to us ALL! History has has shown us the horrific results of the marriage between church and state.
The torture.
The intimidation.
The outright murder.
All in the name of God. That is the direction to which many fundamentalists are trying to take us.
As the famous phrase goes, “The Christian right is often neither.”

The original version of this book came out (pun intended) in 2006, and we’ve seen this disease of religious control and manipulation spread even more since the book was written. Some of our current politicians think that their interpretation of the Bible should be the literal rule of the land for all of our blessedly diverse culture.

I echo the previous statement that this book sounds the alarm, and should be a wake-up call for those who value all American’s rights.

– df

[“Holy Terror is the paperback version of the previously released hard-cover “Religion Gone Bad.”  This book does have some new material, and is a great book to buy multiple copies of, and pass on to others!]

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

Check out the organization SOULFORCE. Click HERE.

—-

Read another review at Canyonwalker Connections. Click HERE.

“I strongly encourage Christians who are befuddled as to why we seem to have lost the message of the Gospel and have witnessed the Good News twisted into a Declaration of War to read ‘Holy Terror.’”
– Kathy Baldock

“Many anti-gay Christians I know are good people. But too often good people do bad things. I think in the end we are in a fast-moving world. Just read Mel White’s “Holy Terror” and you’ll get a quick, full understanding what is really going on under the sugar coated veneers of the Tony Perkins/Maggie Gallagher’s smiles.”
– Mitchell Gold

“I think this may be one of the most important books I have ever read.”
– Sharon

“A demanding and documented account of what happens when fanatical religion and fascistic politics merge an provide religion that simply can only be called terrorism.”
– Ric

—-


QUOTES FROM “HOLY TERROR”:

– The Bible is not a book of magic. It’s a book of mystery. You can’t just quote verses that support your prejudices or guarantee your health, wealth, and happiness and demand that God “follow through” as promised. God is not limited to the words of Scripture. God is still speaking.

– Fundamentalist Christians are my sisters and brothers, my family and friends, my oldest colleagues and coworkers. But I fear their love for the nation has become an obsession to reshape it in their own image.

– Like the people of Israel who created a golden calf to represent God while Moses was away, fundamentalist Christians have built their own idols to represent God until Jesus returns.
The religion of fundamentalism is idolatry.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– Fundamentalist Christianity is not just a threat to lesbians and gays, but to all Americans who cherish democracy and the rights and protections guaranteed us by the U.S. constitution.

– When Sally Williams asked her son Matthew why he killed “the two homos,” his answer was recorded by prison officials: “I had to obey God’s law rather than man’s law. I didn’t want to do this. I have followed a higher law. [I was] cleansing a sick society. I just plan to defend myself from the Scriptures.”

– “Fundamentalists are not happy when facts challenge their understanding. For biblical literalists, there is always an enemy to be defeated in mortal combat.” – John Shelby Spong [Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalists]

– Jerry Falwell turned gay bashing into a very successful art form. [He is] the first fundamentalist to exploit the fear and loathing of homosexuals to raise hundreds of millions of dollars and add millions of new donors to his mailing list.

– It’s beginning to feel like there is no room in America for anyone who is not a fundamentalist Christian.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– Although He is regularly asked to do so, God does not take sides in American politics.” – Senator George Mitchell

– Gary Nixon and I have had a loving, committed, faithful relationship for twenty-five years (now over 30) yet we are denied more than a thousand rights and protections that go automatically with marriage.

– It would be catastrophic if one day these fundamentalists Christians gain enough political power to enforce their literal understanding of Mosaic Law.

– The Roman Catholic Church is without doubt the original source of suffering for gay and lesbian people.

– Because of their excessive commitment to a literal Bible, fundamentalist Christians have fallen into the trap of biblioltry.
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– Doing justice, loving mercy, seeking truth…these are the issues [the Bible] is clear on.

– There were families made up of Jewish soldiers and female prisoners of war; female rape victims forced by law to marry their attackers; and male slaves assigned to female slaves by their master. Jesus condemned divorce but did not condemn any of the family types common to his day.

– I am convinced that Christian fundamentalism is a far greater threat to this country than Muslim terrorists could ever be.

– “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
[Article 11. Treaty of Tripoli. Signed into law by President John Adams. 1797.]

– The words “God is love” conclude a biblical warning, not a warm and fuzzy slogan. “He who doesn’t love [his neighbor] doesn’t love God, for God is love.”
Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– My commitment to the Bible [is my] source of progressive values.

– Although I claim to be a Christian, I live at a moment in time when the Christian faith is being defined by fundamentalists who have dishonored Christ and are in the process of destroying His church. I refuse to wear the “Christian” label without redefining it.

– Without faith in God, man can have faith neither in himself nor in others. The finite cannot be understood unless we know it is rooted in the Infinite. – Gandhi

– When you stand with the outcasts, you stand with Jesus, and when you despise the outcast, you despise Jesus, as well. Becoming an activist is simply a matter of putting love into action.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

Check out the organization SOULFORCE. Click HERE.

And be sure to check out Al Franken’s book,
“Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.” Click HERE.

 

Journeys of the Heart: Mary’s Story July 5, 2012


Journeys of the Heart: Mary’s Story
– Tom Gale

In this work of fact-based fiction, we explore the issue of sexual abuse.  We delve into repressed memories, relationships, and brokenness.
But, mainly, we examine the heart; how to connect with our “hidden” parts and truly love ourselves.  And, of course, to know more deeply the wonder that is the Love of God.


In addition to Mary, we meet many interesting characters along the way.  We see how dealing with our own issues can affect those around us.

The chapters “Where The Hell Is God,” and “Do I Have To Forgive The Jerk” were a couple of my favorites.
We also look briefly at what “church” is, and what it isn’t, and we see how literalizing some teachings, like those on divorce, can cause great harm and work against what God would really want for His children.

This isn’t just Mary’s story.  It is the story of thousands of women (and men).
This edition of the “Journeys of the Heart” series could be a significant step towards wholeness for someone who has suffered sexual abuse.
It is also a resource for those called to help by walking alongside those who have suffered in this way.


Here’s a little of what others are saying about it:

– Mary’s Story is engaging. It draws the reader into a very personal story in a way that is not offensive yet does not skirt reality and the hard truths. It tells a story that needs to be told. This book is a wake up call to a church that marginalizes the broken.
Sandie BrockCincinnati, OH

– My honest thoughts and feelings were that I really wanted to keep reading to see what happened next, to see how Papa was going to work.  The journey is really, really, about the heart. Everything else is just, well, just everything else.
Doug from Wisconsin

– This book takes a look at the depth of evil that exists in the world but then focuses more on the immense power of love that can heal even the worst wounds.
MaryAnne from Illinois

Buy The Book.  CLICK HERE.

– None of us have been left unscathed by the brokenness of our world and unique experiences.  I recommend this book to any and all who desire to hear or have already sensed the desperate cries of their own heart wanting recognition, love and acceptance.
Jan from Virginia

– The gentle, relational descriptions of the healing process even spoke to traumatized places in my own heart.
I thank God for revealing a remedy for our brokenness which is all at once; simplistic, effective and respectful.

Matthew Bradley, North Carolina

Buy The Book.  CLICK HERE.

 

Sick May 15, 2012

Some people are “sick” of hearing about marriage equality.

I imagine it would have been easy to say “I’m sick of hearing about freeing the slaves.”
Unless, of course, you were a slave.

It would have been easy to say “I’m sick of hearing about women getting the vote.”
Unless you were a woman.

Agree to disagree?
Sure.  I do that all the time.
But I can’t accept inequality and injustice under the guise of “loving those who disagree.”
Can I love them?
Of course I can.  But I believe the clear choice is that I must stand with the oppressed.
Not with the oppressor.
I truly believe that is the way of Christ.
Things can, though, get very strange when both the oppressed and the oppressors are your brothers and sisters.

You may be sick of any minority taking a stand for rights that you take for granted.
Tough!
They’re sick of having to fight for the rights denied them.

If you need to be sick of something, there’s plenty to be sick of.

It’s time to be sick of centuries of religious oppression in the name of God.
It’s time to be sick of blaming your hate on Jesus, when there are plenty of
God-fearing Jesus lovers who don’t hold your views.
It’s time to be sick of hearing “It’s not me.  It’s the Bible” when there are almost
forty-thousand  Christian denominations who disagree with each other, while
all claiming the Bible as their authority.
It’s time to be sick of people being bullied, tortured, and even killed because of their orientation.

I recently read something to the effect of
“You are free to have a gun.
You are not free to use it against whomever you please.
You are free to have a religion.
You are not free to impose your religious views on the rest of the country.”
If you believe it’s a sin (as some do) to drink beer, then don’t drink beer!
But don’t for one minute presume to inflict that belief on those who wish to drink beer.
You don’t believe in same-sex marriage?  Don’t marry someone of the same sex!

To borrow from a popular ad:
“That was easy.”
Why is it so hard to see that following your convictions is about how YOU act, and
not about controlling others?!?!?! (Of course, control and manipulation are major characteristics of religion in the first place.)

So, your’re sick of hearing about marriage equality.
Well, I guess the first step to recovery is to admit you’re sick.
Please get well soon.

– df

[Also see: FOOTNOTE.]

 

Vive Le Rouge 2012 Photos May 7, 2012

We celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary by, once again, participating in Vive Le Rouge, Fort Wayne AIDS walk.
Thanks SO MUCH to those who gave donations.
The event raised much needed funds for use by the AIDS Task Force in Fort Wayne.
Food, fun and great entertainment helped make it an evening to remember.


         

    

   

  

     

The mission of the AIDS Task Force is to help improve the quality of life for men, women, and children with HIV and AIDS, to educate the community in order to decrease the incidence of HIV and STD infection and to increase the public’s understanding of and compassionate response to HIV and AIDS.

For us, this is just one of the ways we’re living out Jesus’ call bring a little of heaven to earth.
The gospel isn’t about exclusion.  It’s about being blessed to bless others.

Here.
Now.
In This Life.

Kathy & Dave 

 

Resurrection! April 7, 2012

We aren’t fixed, static beings — we change and morph as life unfolds.
Death, then RESURRECTION.

This is true for ecosystems, food chains, the seasons — it’s true all across the environment.  Death gives way to life.
– From “Love Wins.

———– ———– —————-

[HEY! Don’t read this while you’re trying to watch the video! It’ll still be here.]

“Some have taken Jesus’ cry that his Father had forsaken him to mean that at the darkest moment, the Father had to turn his back on the Son. God cannot bear to look on sin, they argue, so that when our sins were laid on him, God had to turn his face away from his Son.
God has never run from sinful humanity. He didn’t hide from Adam and Even in the Garden. They hid from him as he sought them out. It is not God who cannot bear to look on sin, but that we in our sin can’t bear to look on God. He’s not the one who hides. We are. God is powerful enough to look on sin and be untainted by it. He has always done so. He did so at the cross
When Jesus asked people to “repent and believe” the gospel, he was not asking them to be sorry for their sins and embrace an orthodox theology.  It is not whether we want to go to heaven or hell, but whether we want to trust God or continue trusting ourselves. ”
– From “He Loves Me.
Jesus did not die on the cross to satisfy God’s moral rage at your sin. He died to save you from the beast of sin.”
– From “The Misunderstood God.
“If the gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody. And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display.”
– From “Velvet Elvis

 

 
%d bloggers like this: