Featured Post: Come Out, Come Out, whoever you are…

This is from The Crooked Line blog. She speaks what I have been thinking the past few days. Here is a small quote, but go read the whole thing on her blog!

I have fewer people to come out to these days, but I have friends and family who are not so lucky. I still have plenty of friends and family who are faced daily – usually multiple times each day – with the exhausting battle of whether or not to come out, how to come out, and to whom. Each decision is freighted with worries that include, “And what if they hate me? And what if they hurt me?”

Even as It Gets Better, it doesn’t necessarily get easier. Kids still get bullied for being suspected of being queer. People are still killing themselves, or being killed, for being queer. Thirteen years ago today, Matthew Shepard died of injuries sustained when two men beat and tortured him for being queer. That seems like only yesterday to me.

So this year I have a different take on National Coming Out Day. For the first time in my life, I am hearing it as an invitation to straight people who are our allies, friends, and families. Because even in a world where more of us can get married, we still have a long way to go until every queer person can live a life of openness and integrity without fear of losing our jobs, our families, our children, our homes, or even our lives.

http://joyhowie.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/come-out-come-out-whoever-you-are/

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FP: Toward More Useful Responses to Suffering


By Rick at Mustard Seed Manifesto

Quote: As friends and disciples we can minister by simply offering our care and love without suggestions and self-serving attempts to instill hope that their suffering is going to end soon. Offering your solutions is actually a really bad way to show someone you care. Listening and accepting a person’s feelings is far more important. You can’t be part of the person’s solution until you have stood in solidarity with them. At that point we can collaborate with them (and God) to end their suffering (whatever may be the cause).

A compassionate response must always be focused on how the other person is affected and empowering them. Often, our response to suffering in the world is to make ourselves feel better. We see children suffering in poverty, our response is to throw money at it – to offer our solutions so we can start feeling better. Poverty is best overcome by the poor organizing in solidarity with each other to overcome their challenges.

It is the same with our relationships. When our friends or members of our families are going through hard times, our first response is often to offer our solutions or to say something that helps us feel better. What we should know is that we don’t do any good without first fully accepting that person and their experiences, helping them know that they’re loved, and then being prepared to stand in solidarity with them. If you do this, they will truly know you stand with them. Without this, it is harder for that person to be reminded that they are loved, and that God too is standing in solidarity with them.

FP: Dwell In Christ

A nice lectionary commentary by Rich Brown’s blog, ForeWords

a couple of quotes:

For a great many people to believe means to accept certain doctrines about God and Christ. In that sense it is an intellectual exercise, an interior assent to positions developed by Christian churches. Christianity thus becomes a religion about Christ and his teachings–and then aligning ourselves with the belief system we understand most closely resembles that. Of course, this whole issue is complicated, not only because there are a lot of doctrinal statements, but it should also be obvious that there’s a great many different ways to interpret them.

Read back through those two versions of John 14. Notice in particular where Jesus quite specifically says he is “the way” or “the Road” as well as the light and the truth. He doesn’t say, “I have given you a list of systematic doctrinal positions and if you follow them you’ll get to where I’m going.” He just says, “I am the way.” “I am the Road.”

Featured Post: Where God’s Blessing Begins

A quote:

Somehow I want to convey to them what I have experienced: “God sees me and loves me.”

The evangelist blessing is much more than helping someone know they are seen by God and loved just as they are, yet perhaps that is where God’s blessing begins.

Featured Post: Abomination?

a quote:

We are called to be people who follow God as we understand it. But in my faith tradition we also have a song that has been a favorite for many years whose last line is “The Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from his word.” Maybe…just maybe…it’s time for us to let God do just that–and for us to understand that all scripture grows out of specific times and specific situations. There are general principles that can be understood from those specific laws…but, in my understanding, those can (and should) be based on the foundation of the two great commandments that Jesus gave. (This version of Matthew 22:37-40 is from a contemporary English translation, The Message):

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”