Everyday Blessings

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 ...

Spirit Alive: Can We Be an All Souls Church in a Some Souls World?


Spirit Alive is a twice a month blog that looks at different aspects of mission and ministry throughout the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference and beyond. January 15, 2019 With Heart, Soul, and Mind: What Will It Take to Transform the World? "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.'" Romans 12: 2 "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." President Theodore Roosevelt Some years ago, when I was at a conference in Washington, DC, I ...

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...

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 ...

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 ...

Greater NW Pride: The Rule of St. Benedict, Hospitality, and LGBTQ+ People


What the Rule of St. Benedict, Hospitality, and LGBTQ+ People Have in Common

Greater NW Pride: Honoring National Coming Out Day


In Honoring National Coming Out Day

Greater NW Pride: Being LGBTQ+ and new insights to Scripture


Being LGBTQ+ and New Insights to Scripture

Greater NW Pride: Colonialism, LGBTQ+ People, India, and the Church


Colonialism, LGBTQ+ People, India and the Church   In the last two weeks I had an opportunity to be on pilgrimage in India.  When I arrived there on Sept. 4, 2018, “homosexuality” was considered a criminal act under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which banned any “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” In other words, even as a gay man on a pilgrimage in India, it was best that I not say anything about being gay. That all changed on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, when the India ...

Greater NW Pride: Lessons from Camp Hope


Lessons re-learned about advocacy with people with disabilities and Camp Hope.

Greater NW Pride: The UMC It Gets Better Campaign


What would a UMC "It Gets Better" Campaign Look Like?

Spirit Alive: Remembering the Saints in Our Lives


Spirit Alive: Remembering the Saints in Our Lives

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