Saturday, October 30, 2010


It makes me hopeful that the day will come when the body of Christ stops self-amputating and finds true wholeness in the process.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Life Soundtrack 24

This Is Your Life, by Switchfoot

Although dwelling too much on all we haven't accomplished can lead to depression, we do sometimes need a nudge like this before we can get out of our chairs and make the most of the time that we still have. This song came along when I was first struggling to escape the mindset of avoidance and suppression that had been drilled into me from years of fear-driven legalism and ex-gay teachings.

I don't know that I've entirely succeeded yet, but life is too short to spend hiding from the ever-present possibility that something bad could happen when we dare to experience what lies beyond our front door.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


A few links worth sharing:

1. Philip Yancey visits a fully affirming church, and comments on the issue of homosexuality with humility and grace.

2. A lengthy but interesting examination of the doctrine of hell and its origins.

3. You've probably seen it already, but just in case you haven't: Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns' moving contribution to the "It Gets Better" series.

4. On a lighter note: via CrackerLilo, an entry for the "what were they smoking?" category: the 20 Most Hilarious Company Names on Earth.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Biblical faith is more a process than a conclusion, more a way of relating than a way of explaining.
-Richard Rohr

When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
-Wayne Dyer

"Faith without works is dead," and faith without doubts probably is, too.
-Mark Tidd

God did not make this person as I would have made him. He did not give him to me as a brother for me to dominate and control, but in order that I might find within him the Creator. Now the other person, in the freedom with which he was created, becomes the occasion of joy, whereas before he was only a nuisance and an affliction.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
-Albert Einstein

Friday, October 01, 2010


I've never been they type to wear my emotions on my sleeve, but that doesn't mean I'm not deeply moved by the stories of injustice and suffering that reach us all on an almost-daily basis. Quite frankly, I'd find it a challenge to think charitably of anyone who isn't disturbed by the recent spate of suicides provoked by anti-gay bullying.

The brutal mistreatment that drove these kids to take their own lives is hardly uncommon, much less a new phenomenon, though to listen to religious right groups one might be misled into thinking that it's the gay kids who are the real bullies (a line of reasoning akin to saying that the Inquisitors were the real victims of the Spanish Inquisition). Indeed, observing how different Christians respond (or fail to respond) to this issue is a pretty effective way of separating those sincerely trying to live out the Golden Rule from those whose view of God has been so tainted by fear that they have nothing positive left to offer the rest of the world.

For my own part, I suffered less than a lot of kids in my position do. In eighth grade I returned to public school after two years in a small private school, and it wasn't too long before I became the target of some older kids (our junior high included 7th-9th grades). Fortunately for me their harassment didn't go much beyond verbal taunts - whether that was because they got bored when their efforts never provoked a response from me (I had already learned by that age how to maintain a pretty good poker face) or because I had a protector in the school that I wasn't conscious of, I don't know. But it's hard to say how things might have gone had their harassment ever become physically violent; it's not as though I could have defended myself well enough to stop them from doing just about anything they might have felt like doing.

Truth be told I don't remember that many details about the kids who harassed me, or even their names. Yet I doubt it was a coincidence that eighth grade was the year I became self-conscious about my more effeminate mannerisms and began making a deliberate effort to suppress them. Once disguised, I was able to fly under the radar (or gaydar, as the case may be), and I was mostly ignored by those outside my immediate social circle in high school. I may have hated myself (for a number of reasons), I may have been emotionally isolated with virtually no social life, but I did manage to evade the attention of those who would have hated me as much as I did.

Many kids (both gay and straight) fare far worse than that, which makes it all the more reprehensible when religious right groups decry any effort to protect gay youth from abuse as part of some sinister agenda to destroy society. Groups like the Family Research Council may not be directly responsible for the high suicide rate among gay teenagers, but only the willfully blind can pretend that words don't matter, and that being bombarded with messages about how sick and perverted one supposedly is doesn't cause harm.

Bullying is bullying, whether the perpetrator is the meanest kid on the playground or a self-styled spokesman for God in a three-piece suit. The good news is that bullies is all they are, and the brittle, spiteful god they claim to speak for is purely an idol of their own invention.

The better news is that it really does get better, as Dan Savage has been working to let everyone know. And the best news of all is that the One who made us, the Author of love - the real God who's far larger than any of our petty prejudices - really does love every one of us exactly as we are - no exceptions, no ifs, ands or buts. And no bully can ever take that away.