Greater NW Pride: Camp Queer Pride 2019
Camp Queer Pride, 2019! From Friday, Aug. 16 to Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019, the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church is holding its first LGBTQ+ camp for young people, from ages 18-25-years-old who live in the Western Jurisdiction, as well as those LGBTQ+ who are outside of this Jurisdiction and need to come to a safe place for a few days. We are gathering at Camp Sky Meadows in the San Bernardino Mountains area. This is the first camp or retreat of its kind in the United ...
To Be Family
To Be Family The definition of family, according to Merriam-Webster: the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children. Also, any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family. I was struck by the need to clarify what is a family after listening and reading about a story regarding a gay couple who have been denied a US visa for their baby who was born through a British surrogate. The story caught my eye...
“Single-User, Gender-Neutral, Accessible, Lockable Rest Rooms” in UMC Churches by 2020
“Single-User, Gender-Neutral, Accessible, Lockable Rest Rooms” in UMC Churches by 2020 On Tue., July 23, 2019, in my former home-state of North Carolina, The State Supreme Court ruled that the state of NC cannot use House Bill 142 (which replaced the hated HB 2) “to prevent transgender individuals from using public restrooms and other facilities in state government buildings that match their gender under an agreement approved today by a federal court.” For years, NC was well-known for “...
Greater NW Pride: The Moral Arc Bending Towards Justice and LGBTQ+ People
The Moral Arc of the Universe is Bending Towards Justice and LGBTQ+ People Martin Luther King, Jr., once stated that, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I was reminded of this quote as I read the current news regarding churches, denominations, and LGBTQ+ people. After the US Supreme Court ruled in the Obergefell v. Hodges landmark civil rights case, that we who are LGBTQ+ have the right to marry, guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal...
Greater NW Pride: Stealing Rainbows
Stealing Rainbows This past Wednesday, July 10, 2019, I met up with some United Methodists from the Vancouver-Camas, Washington area, to talk about issues confronting LGBTQI+ folks and straight allies in local Methodist congregations in light of the decision made during the specially called General Conference of The United Methodist Church in St. Louis, MO. It was a great conversation with two pastors from the area and lay leaders, some straight and others LGBTQ+. What struck out to me was ...
Greater PNW Pride: Godly Resistance!
Godly Resistance! At last month’s Annual Conference gathering of the Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Church Conference in Eugene, Oregon, there were people wearing t-shirts—including the Bishop—that quoted part of the baptismal covenant used within the UMC. The words that stand out on this shirt, in various rainbow colors, are “Resisting evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” The people wearing the shirts are saying that they are resisting evil, such as ...
Greater NW Pride: My Blood Is Wanted
My Blood is Wanted: The Red Cross, Giving Blood, HIV, and Being Gay My blood is wanted. To be more exact, in the last few days, a lesbian friend reminded me on Facebook about an opportunity to give blood to the Red Cross. She spoke about giving blood as one of the more noble causes and activities in her life. Giving blood is for a good purpose, namely saving the lives of others in need of blood. Giving blood is one of the ways we can fulfill what Jesus is calling us to do in loving one ...
Greater NW Pride: So Much Love!
“So Much Love!” Last Saturday, June 15, 2019, I had an educational experience of being in two very different cultural contexts, both located on Interstate 5 in Oregon. In the morning, I participated and observed the last day of Annual Conference of the Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Church (UMC) Conference in Eugene, Oregon. That afternoon, I drove north to Portland, OR to the festival area that was part of the Portland LGBTQ+ Pride festivities, participating in the parade the next day (June...
Greater NW Pride: Building a Better World, for God's Sake
Building a Better World, for God’s Sake I write this blog post in the middle of the third day of the Annual Conference of the Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Church Conference (OR-ID UMC AC) in Eugene, Oregon. It has been exciting to listen and watch to the changes afoot in this Conference as more out-LGBTQ+ people and people of color and allies are voicing their concerns while celebrating life. People are wearing their self-identity with rainbow buttons and t-shirts, “He/Him/His,” “...
Greater NW Pride: Happy Pride and Happy Pentecost!
Happy Pride and Happy Pentecost! This coming Sunday is Pentecost, the day the Church celebrates the descending of the Spirit upon the earth. This was no ordinary event, by any stretch of the imagination! With Jesus having ascended into the heavens, there came not a quiet breeze, but the sound like the “rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where (the disciples_ were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them ...
Greater NW Pride: Preferred Gender Pronouns and LGBTQ+ People in the Church
Preferred Gender Pronouns and LGBTQ+ People in the Church When growing up in modern American society, I remember as a young adult—who was identifying as white, cisgender, straight, male at the time—I would get letters addressed and sent to me as “Mr. Brett Mitchell.” The young woman I was engaged to at the time would get letters addressed to her with “Miss.” When we got married in 1978, soon letters were sent and addressed to us as “Mr. and Mrs. Brett Mitchell.” As she pointed out to me that...
Greater NW Pride: Pride Parades and Your Church
Pride Parades and Your Church This last weekend I was blessed and happy to be working with the great folks at First United Methodist Church, Ashland. On Sunday morning, as I was entering the church to preach, I spied a beautiful, big rainbow flag fluttering in the breeze attached to their front sign! The flag reminded me that the time is coming up for LGBTQ+ Pride Parades, often held in June, which is LGBTQ+ Pride Month in the USA. And if you and your individual United Methodist Church want...
Children’s Literature, LGBTQ+, and Church
Children’s Literature, LGBTQ+, and Church I am preparing for a trip to visit my granddaughter on the east coast in the coming weeks and started to shop around and see what I might bring with me in my new role as the grandfather who spoils his grandchildren. On one of the websites I scan daily, mombian.com, there was a new book that made me smile: A Plan for Pops! by Heather Smith and Brooke Kerrigan. It is one of the first gay grandparent books that I’ve seen publicized, and also...
Greater NW Pride: Schism
Schism The word, “schism,” means “division or disunion, especially into mutually opposed parties” (dictionary.com). Schism is a theological or “church” term, used to describe those groups that break away with a church and establish a rival church. According to Britannica.com, the term originally referred to those divisions that were caused by disagreement over something other than basic doctrine. “thus, the schismatic group was not necessarily heretical. Eventually, however, the distinctions...
Greater NW Pride: From Toxicity to Grace
From Toxicity to Grace The contrast couldn’t be greater when looking and reading the two groups of stories on Facebook this morning. The first set of stories reflected the current toxicity within The United Methodist Church, in which many out-LGBTQ+ and allied clergy are facing charges for simply being out and LGBTQ+ or supporting LGBTQ+ members of their respective churches. The first story in the Tampa Bay Timescovered the Rev. Andy Oliver of Allendale United Methodist Church, ...
Spirit Alive: Life is a Series of Covenants
Honoring Our Commitments and Keeping Life Connections in Balance
What I heard at Table Talks 2.0
Helping lead Table Talks helped Jan Nelson learn how church members are viewing the UMC's challenges.
Greater NW Pride: Coming Out Pilgrimage
Coming Out Pilgrimage "Seventeen years ago I awoke early one morning and began my coming out pilgrimage. Though I had long imagined what it would be like coming out, the very act of coming out of my closet brought both unbridled joy and literally scared me to death. It was these polar opposite feelings that effectively stopped me from leaving the closet’s narrow, loathsome confines. I was paralyzed emotionally, wanting to embrace the emotional, relational, intellectual, spiritual, and physical...
Spirit Alive: Who is Invisible to You?
How Can You Relate to Those You Do Not Know?
Greater NW Pride From Closet to Resurrection
From Closet to Resurrection In a recent Facebook posting (April 16, 2019), from “Friend of Dorothy Book,” there was an entry called “Reasons not to stay in The Closet: 1. It’s dark; 2. It smells; 3. It’s lonely; 4. It’s only big enough for one person; 5. It’s exhausting to lie all the time; 6. You might end up in Narnia." https://www.facebook.com/FriendofDorothyBook/photos/a.343204645768504/2110528405702777/?type=3&theater On “The Rachel Maddow Show” on April 15, 2019, in Rachel’s ...
Greater NW Pride: Publicity! How to Affirm LGBTQ+ People in Our Churches
Publicity! How to Affirm LGBTQ+ in Our Churches In a recent article published on-line in The Advocate, Sam Brinton, who works with the Trevor Project, wrote an interesting article about the difference of being a “welcoming” community of faith, which simply “welcomes” those of us who are LGBTQ+ , and nothing more. Meanwhile, an affirming church affirms that God created us all—male, female, and non-binary, LGBTQ+ —in God’s image. In other words, God is not only male, female, and non-binary, but...
Spirit Alive: It's Time for a Bit More Jesus
What Can the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Teach Us About Our Own Life and Times?
Greater NW Pride: Transgender Visibility Day and Other LGBTQ+ Days
Transgender Visibility Day and Other LGBTQ+ Days Happy Transgender Visibility Day! After seeing all the rainbow bunting, flags, t-shirts, and stoles on so many United Methodist Church websites, Facebook posting, and Instagram accounts after the vote taken by the UMC General Conference in February 2019, I thought it would be helpful to share with those UMC churches who are supportive of LGBTQ clergy, lay leaders, and lay members other ways of supporting those of us in the LGBTQ+ community. I...
Greater NW Pride: What Does it Mean to be an “Ally” in the LGBTQ+ Movement?
What Does it Mean to be an “Ally” in the LGBTQ+ Movement? From time to time, in and among my LGBTQ+ friends, we joke about getting our “membership card” when we come out of our respective closets, receiving a list of what is the “gay agenda,” in which we strive for ultimate world power, somewhere between waking up, coffee brewed, showering, going to work, work, lunch break, take over the world, work some more, coffee break, and going home to make a “fabulous” meal before we turn in and go to...
Greater NW Pride: What Does LGBTQ+ Mean? A Primer
What Does LGBTQ+ Mean? A Primer Language matters. And naming and labeling matters. One’s “sexual orientation” is a social construct and context dependent, which we all use to identify and self-identify just one part of our life. So, I am a gay, cisgender, white, male, Christian, who prefers the personal pronoun “he/him/his;” I am able bodied and hearing. Our gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, ability, hearing, being deaf, disability, socioeconomic class, and religion also matter and ...