Greater NW Pride: Beyond the Rainbow Flag
Beyond the Rainbow Flag (Or “Once the Rainbow Flags Are Down, Then What?”) Since the vote taken by the delegates at the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) specially called General Conference, my Facebook page with other UMC contacts exploded with images of rainbow flags, banners, bunting, pics of whirligigs, candles, hats, pins, ribbons, hair bows, and tassels. Everywhere I looked on various UMC websites, there were more rainbow memorabilia, with banners draping church signs, rainbows flags ...
Greater NW Pride: What St. Harvey Milk Has to Say to Queer UMC Folk
What St. Harvey Milk Has to Say to Queer UMC Folk Above my desk in my office space in the OR-ID United Methodist Church Conference Center is a modern-day icon of St. Harvey Milk, one of my heroes in the LGBTQ movement, painted by the local artist Chris Haberman. In this moment of change within the United Methodist Church, I’ve asked myself, “What would Harvey do?” After all, he was in the nexus of change in modern American society, and his story, like many other stories of LGBTQ people in ...
Greater NW Pride: Solidarity in Love for and with LGBTQ+ United Methodist Clergy and Members
Solidarity in Love for LGBTQ+ United Methodist Clergy and Members In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, the pastoral part of Paul talks about the incredible nature of the body of Christ in terms of the interconnectedness and solidarity we are to practice with one another. What came to mind as I watched the decisions being made by the delegates of the United Methodist Church’s General Conference (UMC-GC), are these verses: “But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to ...
Greater NW Pride: Prayer, Patience, and Perseverance
Prayer, Patience, and Perseverance In the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), the lead up to our amending our Constitution (Book of Order) in 2011 to welcoming and affirming LGBTQ people as out and ordained as Ministers of the Word and Sacraments, Ruling Elders, and Deacons, was dramatic, long in coming, and drawn out. Our process of amending the Book of Order begins with an amendment beginning from a church’s session, followed by its approval by a Presbytery Committee (Conference), followed by ...
Greater NW Pride: Who's Going to Get It Right?
Who’s Going to Get This Right? Something amazing is going on concurrently involving the LGBTQ community and the Church. More specifically, something is going on this week in both the Roman Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church and their respective relationship with LGBTQ people, having to do with the matter of including and integrating us into their largely cisgender and straight faith communities. In the Roman Catholic Church, columnist Frank Bruni of the New York Times focused on...
Greater NW Pride: Valentine’s Day in the LGBTQ+ Community
Valentine’s Day in the LGBTQ Community My partner Christian and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early this year because he was going to be in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Valentine’s Day, and I was going to be in Portland. It was also our first Valentine’s Day as a couple! I surprised him with chocolate, red wine, a card, and an orchid, and he gave me a card last week, along with numerous gifts of shirts, meals out, and love! The card was huge, as he said to me after I opened his card to me, “I usually ...
Greater NW Pride: Inclusion, or Who is Including Whom into Which Community?
Inclusion, or Who is Including Whom into Which Community? “Inclusion.” Noun. Mirriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines inclusion as the act or state of being included. “Include” is a transitive verb. It means to enclose; to shut up; to take in or comprise as a part of a whole or group; to contain between or within. In the previous blog, I focused on the act and art of hospitality, of welcome. To act hospitable, or to welcome is the first move towards inclusion and, finally, integration. ...
Greater NW Pride: Hospitality: Welcoming People with Disabilities and LGBTQ+ People in the Church
Hospitality: Welcoming People with Disabilities and LGBTQ+ People in the Church In the Rule of St. Benedict, we read that “all guests who arrive (are to) be received like Christ, for he is going to say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt. 25:35), and to all let due honor be shown, especially to those who share our faith (Gal. 6:10) and to pilgrims…In the reception of the poor and pilgrims, the greatest care and solicitude should be shown, because it is especially in them that Christ is...
Greater NW Pride: Separate and Not Equal
Separate and Not Equal: People with Disabilities and the LGBTQ+ Community There is no secret in the community of people with disabilities that, up to and through 1990 with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, life in modern American society has been “complicated,” to say the least. Through the 1950s and 1960s, people with disabilities—which then included the deaf community; people who were visually impaired or blind; people with physical disabilities of various kinds; people ...
Greater NW Pride: From Separate to Welcoming, Inclusion, and Integration: Parallels Between the Community of People with Disabilities and the LGBTQ Community in the Church
Since assuming the role as the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Coordinator, and attending local churches and Reconciling meetings, regional Annual Conference of the OR-ID UMC Conference, and attending the national Reconciling Convention, I’ve been inundated by the use of words like “separate,” “welcoming,” “inclusion,” and “integration,” wondering if everyone was on the same page about using those terms, and where the movement towards full integration of LGBTQ+ people was headed in a largely oppressive ...
Greater NW Pride: A Kiss
A Kiss A few weeks ago, sailor Bryan Woodington came home to Jacksonville, Florida, after seven months at sea on the USS Sullivan, and kissed his husband Kenneth, dipping him, like the iconic V-J Day kiss in New York City’s Times Square in 1945. The photograph, which showed both on Facebook and a local television network news feed, while garnering much praise, also drew critics and negative responses by those who were offended by two gay men kissing. All this, because two men kissed, and the...
Greater NW Pride: New Year’s Resolutions in 2019
New Year’s Resolutions in 2019 In an article from Psychology Today, “Why We Really Celebrate New Year’s Day,” writer David Ropeik writes that New Year’s Day is, logically, simply the movement of the clock, from Monday to Tuesday. However, we put special, symbolic, and emotional charge to it, making one day “2018” and the next day, “2019.” The reason we celebrate New Year’s Day is something that is ubiquitous, tied to something intrinsic to or in our DNA as human beings, in which we give all...
Spirit Alive: 2019-- Happy Old Year!
How Do You Know If You Made Any Progress Last Year?
Greater NW Pride: Forward Together, Not One Step Back in 2019
Forward Together, Not One Step Back in 2019 In the Raleigh (NC) News and Observer newspaper, one of their traditions is to identify a citizen of NC who is “crowned” as the Tar Heel of the Year. This year, 2018, the Tar Heel of the Year is the Rev. William Barber of Goldsboro, NC. He is also well-known for his work with the Moral Monday movement, in which many of us—myself included—participated in ongoing rallies in Raleigh, the capitol of NC, protesting against the Tea Party Republican ...
Greater NW Pride: Re-Hearing the Magnificat as a Gay Pastor
Re-Hearing the Magnificat as a Gay Pastor This coming Sunday, Dec. 23rd, is the fourth Sunday of Advent. The Gospel reading is Luke 1:39-55, in which the latter part of this reading (vs. 46-55) is the famous Magnificat. The passage opens up with Mary setting out and, “with haste” makes it out to a Judean town in the hill country, where she has fled to the house of her relative, Elizabeth. These two women—both outsiders to the dominant culture because of their gender—share joy in their ...
Greater NW Pride: Baptismal Affirmation and Transgender People
Baptismal Affirmation and Transgender People The Church of England recently issued rules to their priests on ways of being “creative and sensitive” as they welcome transgender people into the Church. Benjamin Fearnow wrote that the Episcopal Church’s “House of Bishops approved the pastoral guidance document that advises Anglican clergy to address trans individuals by their chosen names, rather than their birth names. The move to welcome more transgender individuals into the church, the BBC ...
Greater NW Pride: World AIDS Day 2018
World AIDS Day 2018 December 1 was World’s AIDS Day. Dec. 1 was founded as World AIDS Day in 1988. We have had 30 years of World’s AIDS Day, in which this is a day to unite against HIV, with people showing their support for people living with HIV, as well as to commemorate those people who have died. Currently, there are approximately 34 million people who have the virus, which was first identified in 1984. Over 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS. These are the facts. Then there...
Greater NW Pride: Reflecting on Thirty-Five Years
Reflecting on Thirty-Five Years The invitation: “The Presbytery of Boston invites you to a celebration of joy and peace as Brett P. Webb-Mitchell is ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament at Valley Community Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Nov. 27, 1983, at 10:30 am…and installation as Assistant Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of East Boston, Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2:30 pm.” On the outside of the invitation was a small boy in a too-large Genevan gown, with these words from the ...
Greater NW Pride: LGBTQ+ People and the Caravan
Being LGBTQ and the Caravan With Thanksgiving before us, focusing on the religious pilgrims who sought freedom to practice their religion, and their first harvest meal in October 1621, that we now honor as a nation with a federal holiday. 90 native people and 53 settlers attended the first harvest festival that became our Thanksgiving. In light of this holiday, as a nation we are also aware that more settlers are on the border of California and Mexico, as a caravan of thousands of people ...
Greater NW Pride: "Boy Erased" and the Church
At the center of the book and movie, “Boy Erased”, written by Garrard Conley, is the so-called conversion or reparative therapy. Conversion or reparative therapy is the dangerous psychological practice of “attempting” to turn a person who self-identifies as LGBTQ to being “straight,” with the underlying misnomer that “straight” is normal and good, and same sex attraction is evil or bad. The 19-year-old college student, Jared (who is really Garrard) is sent to an ex-gay Christian ministry, ...
Greater NW Pride: In Search of a New Home Church for a New Family
In Search of a New Home Church for a New Family I am writing this blog with a new title in my life: I am a grandpa, or as I am calling myself, “Pops.” My daughter Adrianne and her husband Scott are celebrating the birth of their daughter, Edie! The news of the pregnancy was a note of coming attractions. The actual arrival of the child gave “birth” a whole new and dramatic shift in the tectonic plates of my family’s life. Upon Edie’s delivery into this world, new titles “birthed” too. The next ...
Spirit Alive: Which is More Important, Being Correct...or Learning How to Connect?
November 6, 2018 With Heart, Soul, and Mind: What's at the Heart of Christian Discipleship? "Teacher, which commandment of the law is the greatest?" Matthew 22: 36 "Evil is always complex, roundabout, tangled. Goodness is always a reduction of life to simplicity....All great discoveries are a reduction from complexity to simplicity....Life for the Pharisee was very complicated. For Jesus it was very simple. The Pharisees lived by innumerable taboos, regulations, and laws. Jesus reduced these ...
Greater NW Pride: Lessons from the Life of Mathew Shepard
Lessons from the Life of Matthew Shepard In 1998, outside of Laramie, Wyoming, two men—Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson— beat up and robbed Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old college student who happened to be gay. Matthew was pistol whipped and left for dead for 18 hours, tied up to a fence on a remote Wyoming prairie outside of Laramie. He died five days later without regaining consciousness. For two decades, Shepard’s parents—Judith and Dennis—kept their son’s ashes near their home in ...
Greater NW Pride: Changing the Definition of Gender Matters to LGBTQ+ People
Changing the Definition of “Gender” Matters to LGBTQ People In 1941, there was the creation of a scientific definition of “mental retardation” by Edgar Doll that was approved by the national body known as the American Association on Mental Deficiency (AAMD), and the federal government. This definition considered a person “mentally retarded” based on social incompetence due to mental subnormality, which has been developmentally arrested, which obtains at maturity is of ...
Spirit Alive: Which is More Important, Being Correct...or Learning How to Connect?
What's at the Heart of Christian Discipleship?