Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Setting Priorities

Because it's only been shared on about a million other blogs already, here it is one more time:

How to Talk to Your Kids About Michael Sam

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy April

I may not feel like doing much writing at the moment, but I can at least point whoever's still reading toward some of the interesting things I've come across recently.  In this installment:

1. Justin Lee explains what homosexuality is (graciously, as always) for those who still think of it as nothing more than a sex act.

2. Switchfoot's lead singer explains why they don't consider their music "Christian."  As someone who grew up listening to Christian music (and continued the habit into my 30s), I'm happy to see the separatism of evangelical culture slowly fading away.

3. A group of gay bloggers, thinkers and activists have signed a statement emphasizing the importance of supporting our opponents' right to publicly disagree with us.  It's often a fine line to walk when dealing with those who would deny us our rights, but we must be careful that we don't become that which we once deplored.

4. Which is not to say that we should let what our opponents say go unchallenged.  And as Rachel Held Evans noticed, the things they're saying keep getting more hyperbolic.

5. On a lighter note, as a fan of the magicians who appear on America's Got Talent, I would be remiss in not sharing this amazing act that appeared recently on Britain's Got Talent.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Kongos, Come With Me Now

Not entirely sure if the video is supposed to have any deeper meaning, but the song is more than worth the price of admission.

Friday, March 14, 2014


In this month's edition (and I do seem to only be posting monthly so far this year), the theme is balance.

Maintaining balance and speaking in nuanced terms is a difficult thing to do in the highly polarized atmosphere that we currently find ourselves in.  Even at our best it can be challenging to avoid unconsciously slipping into a more adversarial tone.  At least, I've found that to be the case for myself, and I've seen it happen to others as well.

Link 1: Justin Lee is an individual who has a good track record of disagreeing graciously and maintaining a balanced perspective.  As such, it gives his words more weight when he writes an exhortation to conservative Christians like this one.  Only God knows how many will actually listen, but given Justin's reputation as a bridge builder he's in a better position than most to get through to those who genuinely do care.

Link 2: I also appreciate Rob Tisinai, who very ably tears apart anti-gay myths while still maintaining a nuanced perspective, as well as a strong respect for free speech and engaging with opposing viewpoints.

Link 3: Brian McLaren is another gracious voice who often takes a lot of heat for swimming against the tide of evangelical opinion.  In this piece he answers one of his critics.

Link 4: Being a fan of astronomy and science in general, I watched the premiere of the new Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson last weekend.  The first episode was a bit basic, but the show has potential as a teaching tool for young learners and for anyone else seeking to broaden their understanding of the universe we live in.

That said, the first episode also provided an example of how to fail at maintaining balance.  As Tobias Haller points out, Tyson's use of Giordano Bruno as an example of the dangers of placing dogma ahead of evidence was a bit misguided.  Bruno, as Tyson acknowledges, was not a scientist, and his belief that the Earth wasn't the center of the universe (while ultimately proven correct) was neither the product of scientific reasoning nor the primary reason he was executed for heresy.  And while the show half-heartedly acknowledged those facts, its emphasis on Bruno's martyrdom was nonetheless misleading.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Call For Help

As anyone who follows world news is undoubtedly aware, violence against LGBT people has been increasing in numerous countries across Africa, and several countries have made their already draconian anti-gay laws even harsher (most notably Nigeria and now Uganda). Unfortunately, political action has proven to be counterproductive in some cases; pressure applied by Western governments and activists has only caused the countries in question to dig their heels in and push back even harder.  So while silence is never an option, clearly new approaches are called for.

Activist Melanie Nathan (a native of South Africa) is trying something different: she has set up a Rescue Fund to Help LGBT People Escape Africa.  Click on the link for more details and/or to contribute.

Hopefully it will someday be possible to begin a sober and peaceful dialogue on human rights issues in these countries (and the many other parts of the world that are still hostile territory for sexual minorities), but right now it looks like that day is too far off to help the many people whose lives are currently in danger.

Friday, January 31, 2014


Yes, it's been a while.  Here are a few items of interest that have come through my news reader in recent weeks...

-Rachel Held Evans puts the phrase "The Bible clearly teaches" into some much-needed perspective.

-David Brin offers a perspective on our current political situation that I find compelling.  Granted, everyone thinks their political viewpoint is the best one, but he makes some good points.

-John Shore points out the hypocrisy that biblical literalists commonly display when they voice their condemnations of homosexuality.

-And in this pair of posts, we see how evangelism conducted by those (theists and non-theists alike) with a tribalistic 'us vs. them' mentality fails to be persuasive or winsome.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Happy 2014

And in the spirit of things, here's a New Year's message from author David Brin, who articulates some things that have been rattling around in my head for a while. Among them, this:
Indeed, the lesson must be that a benign Creator -- if one exists -- clearly chose ambiguity and distance for some reason. Not as a cruel and infantile “test of faith,” but as a very clear sermon that we are supposed to stand up and look around, and figure things out for ourselves.
Anathema to those who demand nothing less than absolute certainty, perhaps - but something that the rest of us can embrace, and strive to live up to.