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I just adore my friend who so eloquently wrote this.... Having accepted that social media is mostly absurd, I use FB to keep up with old friends, and share short stories from my life that I think might lighten your day. This will be neither short nor light. Many of you know that I was raised in a church. That it was, in fact, very important to me. If you knew me then, I probably gave you communion, or taught your children, or prayed and sang alongside you every Sunday. I've become mostly a holiday churchgoer these days, but my faith isn't held in those walls, and I'm nothing but thankful for my time there. Many of you know that I'm gay. This is also very important to me. I have the somewhat unique experience of not struggling between my faith and my sexuality. I've always been gay. I've always believed in God. In my own church I never heard hate. I came out to my pastor before I did to my parents. I certainly never heard bigotry at home. I knew it was out there, but, like anything scary, I tucked it away until I was stronger. Regarding the CA ballot intiative, Sodomite Suppression Act, which states: "Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God's just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method." And, Family Research Council president Tony Perkin's veiled call for violence if the Supreme Court clears the way for national marriage equality. I have this to say: Get out of the way. I can read these things, as an adult, and know that there will never be a law that allows you to kill a group of people who have found their voice. I know, as a married man, that society doesn't fall apart when we pay our taxes, and save for the future, and dream for our daughter. Kids hear these things though, and don't have the tools yet to figure that out. They look to you for guidance. If you choose to stand firmly on the shaky ground of Leviticus, have you ever read a bit further? Because in with me and my lot, you'll have to put the blind, people with acne, and dwarves. And women, oh my. Unclean seems to sum it up. So who will be left? After the cotton/poly blend wearers, anyone who has touched a real football, or eaten a shrimp, who's around. You? Awesome. Get a move on. If you believe that gay people are worse than terrorists. That we are the base of all that's wrong in this One Nation Under God. That we control the weather. If you believe that in our humanness we're any different from heterosexuals, then your faith has been handed to you. It hasn't been lived. Jesus, having never said a single word about homosexuality, never set out on a road that leads to hate. Humans did that. For narcissism, power, and wealth. Not for God, and certainly not for you. If you think he did, my guess is a bigoted parent, self righteous preacher, or Klan member taught you that. Could you be wrong? Would the world end if you were? Could you finally learn what forgiveness feels like? There are amazing Christians that are working for equality and inclusion. There are atheists that lift up and support their neighbor. There are buddhists that work for peace and love around the world. There are gays who work for justice, and some straight people are arm in arm with them. If you can't see the value in that. If you can't see Christ in that. Then get out of the way. The rest of us have work to do.
I was recently accosted while waiting outside by the car for my wife. I'm sure that I'm a sight to see. I can't walk very well because multiple sclerosis messes with my balance, so I take a pair of Canadian walking crutches when I'm outside. At a glance, you can tell that I'm not in perfect health. What amazed me was that even from across a decent distance, this person noticed my condition, and thought to ask if I needed help. The distance was great enough, that after he called out it took me a while to see where it was coming from. I must have been a sight, and not specifically to him. Where I was standing, there were apartment buildings on either side. Each of them were facing me, and none of them were facing the samaritan from where he was standing. The neighbors would have heard me, but they wouldn't have heard him. [laughs] No doubt they might have thought I was hearing voices and needed to adjust my dosage. Anyway, I told him after he finally reached me that I was fine. I explained that I’ve had this disability for years, and I had long since gotten used to it. We then parted company. Later, after my lovely wife was driving us to Walmart, I noticed the same guy standing at another corner holding up a sign I couldn’t read. It hadn’t occurred to me that the gentleman might have been homeless; I think it’s because he never asked for anything. All he wanted to know was that I didn’t need any help, and then he left. I’m not an expert on the human-condition, and I cannot read minds, but it’s my belief that he discovered what I’ve already been saying. Hope is contagious. By giving Hope to others, you’ve increased your own. I wish I had shaken his hand.
The uncertainties of life and the vicissitudes of existence do not in any manner contradict the concept of the universal sovereignty of God. All evolutionary creature life is beset by certain inevitabilities. Consider the following: 1. Is courage — strength of character — desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments. 2. Is altruism — service of one’s fellows — desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality. 3. Is hope — the grandeur of trust — desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties. 4. Is faith — the supreme assertion of human thought — desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe. 5. Is the love of truth and the willingness to go wherever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible. 6. Is idealism — the approaching concept of the divine — desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings stimulative of the irrepressible reach for better things. 7. Is loyalty — devotion to highest duty — desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of betrayal and desertion. The valor of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default. 8. Is unselfishness — the spirit of self-forgetfulness — desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast. 9. Is pleasure — the satisfaction of happiness — desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities. Rev. Bill
o great shree hanuman! son of the wind, and the greatest of rama. here me; you give me the strength to accept my loss, yet still I treasure every day. you keep me on my feet; straight and steady, and keep my ache at bay. o hanuman, i Hope for rama's peace, and I dream of sita's joy! by your grace, one can enjoy all happiness and one need not have any fear under your protection.