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Faithfulness

Greater NW Pride: Gathering

3/5/2020

Gathering   Last week, in Nashville, Tennessee, there was a national gathering of the Reconciling Ministry Network (RMN), “Connection 2020,” a gathering of United Methodist Church (UMC) LGBTQ+ people and non-LGBTQ+ allies. Over 200 people gathered at Belmont UMC Church from Feb. 27-29, 2020, with a thirst and hunger to hear and receive good news as the UMC goes forward into the General Conference of May 2020.    Each day included sessions for delegates of the General Conference to meet and ...

Greater NW Pride: Showing Up

2/25/2020

Showing Up   There is an adage in the world that I keep coming back to:  “90% of life is showing up. Sometimes it is easier to hide home in bed. I’ve done both.”    I thought of this quote as I read about Zachary Ro, a 9-year-old boy, who asked Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg, aka, Mayor Pete, to help him tell the world he’s gay, too: “I want to be brave like you.” Zachary was attending a rally for Mayor Pete in Denver, Colorado on Saturday night.   Mayor Pete responded, “’I ...

Great NW Pride: Vashon Island, LGBTQ+ People, and the Church

2/18/2020

  Vashon Island, LGBTQ+ People, and the Church   Last Saturday, my partner Christian Halstead and I had a chance to visit the Vashon Island Heritage Museum on Vashon Island. The Museum was housed in a former Lutheran church, one of the oldest church buildings on Vashon. The front half of the Museum was dedicated to the native people who lived on the Island before white settlers—farmers, actually—came and moved onto the Island. Today, it is a lovely Island with wineries, a cute downtown with ...

Greater NW Pride: Confession and Forgiveness

2/13/2020

Confession and Forgiveness   In the past month, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California made history in posthumously pardoning black, gay, civil rights pioneer Bayard Rustin—the right-hand man and aid to Martin Luther King, Jr.—for past criminal offense of being jailed for “lewd behavior,” and arrested for “having consensual sex with men” in 1953 in Pasadena, CA.  Gov. Newsom then offered others pardons if they were arrested for consensual sex as LGBTQ+ individuals up to and throughout the 1950s and ...

Dear Evan Hansen and the Church

2/5/2020

  Dear Evan Hansen and the Church   Last night, I attended a performance of Dear Evan Hansen, performed by the national touring company of the Broadway show at Portland’s Keller Auditorium. Dear Evan Hansen has won many awards, including the Tonys and a Grammy. The musical focuses on the teenage years in modern America, with loneliness, mental illness, drug use, suicide, and family dysfunction dancing all around the stage and through all the songs. AH, the high school years at Beaverton High!...

Greater NW Pride: The Pink Triangle

1/28/2020

The Pink Triangle   Now and then, when working with a group on LGBTQ+ issues and the United Methodist Church, often one of the questions that emerges is, “Where did the pink triangle come from to represent the LGBTQ+ community?” Today, the pink triangle is a sign of LGBTQ+ identity, power, and pride. It was a symbol that was adopted in 1970 as a way of identifying our liberation and freedom to be the people God created us to be, without apology. I have plenty of pins, t-shirts, pamphlets, and...

Greater NW Pride: Seeking Sanctuary

1/23/2020

Seeking Sanctuary   As a man of Christian faith who is an ordained pastor, parent, grandparent, partnered and gay, the last few week's news has been an emotional roller-coaster, as are most days of the week, weeks, months, years when it comes to LGBTQ+ folks around the world. By “emotional roller-coaster,” I mean there are some stories in the media that celebrate progress being made by those of us who are LGBTQ+ and our non-LGBTQ+ allies, as well as those stories that feel like “two steps ...

Greater NW Pride: A Busy Year Ahead!

1/16/2020

A Busy Year Ahead   As many of us do at the end of the year, we post all the accomplishments of the past year. This being “2020,” what some people decided that it was the end of not only one year but one decade, and the beginning of a new decade, so they posted on Facebook and Instagram photos of all that they did in ten years time. It is always powerful to "look back" and see where we've been.   And now it is time to look at the days and weeks and months and year before us!   This began for ...

Greater NW Pride: The Next Day

1/10/2020

  For most of this week, I, along with every other United Methodist in the world, have been reading and listening to the comments being made about one of the latest plans presented for the upcoming General Conference in 2020. The Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation that was revealed last week has received a lot of news of late. It has had fairly favorable reviews from many people in the United Methodist Church on my Facebook page and other social network websites I read ...

Greater NW Pride: Justice

12/31/2019

Justice    Yesterday, I spent over an hour in the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia with my partner and his family. In this sacred space, I was reminded of the complex story of the particular city where I was visiting, namely Atlanta, and the general area known as “the South,” as well as the contemporary events of civil and human rights around the world today.   The first floor of the Center reminded the viewer of the 1940s through to the 1960s, and ...

Greater NW Pride: LGBTQ+ Families and the Holy Family

12/23/2019

  LGBTQ+ Families and the Holy Family   With “Merry Christmas” on the lips of many in many churches in the US in the past few weeks—with simply a pause to first wish you a “Blessed Advent” first for those in the theological and church-holy-day “know”—the focus on December 24thand 25th, is all about family. Granted, it is the date that was chosen generations ago to be the day that we would celebrate the birth of the Christ child, though biblical scholars continually remind us that keeping sheep...

Greater NW Pride: #Resist Harm

12/9/2019

#ResistHarm UMC   The Revised Common Lectionary reading from the Old Testament for the second Sunday of Advent was Isaiah 11:1-10. The Prophet Isaiah foretold of a child from the “root of Jesse,” in which “the spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but ...

Greater NW Pride: Growing Churches Welcome LGBTQ+ People

12/4/2019

Growing Churches Welcome LGBTQ+ People   Part of the joy of my position is every day I read about what is going on in other denominations concerning LGBTQ+ issues and their respective churches. Along with More Light Presbyterians and Covenant Network in the Presbyterian Church (USA), I’m always interested in what is going on in the United Church of Christ (UCC). When I lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I attended United Church of Chapel Hill, NC, a UCC church, and my partner is a member ...

Greater NW Pride: World AIDS Day, 2019

12/1/2019

World AIDS Day, 2019   As we come to the closing hours of December 1, 2019, I wanted to post a blog about World AIDS Day. In my life, I have had many friends in the Church and outside of the Church have lived and died being HIV+(positive or poz) and dying of one of the AIDS related symptoms. Some phenomenal ministers, church administrators, priests, pastors, organists, and youth directors, all close friends, have died. Those who are closest to me today, personally, are HIV+, in which the ...

Greater NW Pride: Queer Pride Camp: High School, Aug. 6-9, 2020, Camp Magruder, Oregon!

11/23/2019

Queer Pride Camp: High School, Aug. 6-9, 2020, Camp Magruder, Oregon!   This blog post is really an announcement this week.  In 2019, I led and was part of a great team of LGBTQ+ clergy persons  and straight allies in the United Methodist Church’s Western Jurisdiction (UMC WJ), who brought about a very unique camping experience: Queer Pride Camp for young adults, ages 18-25 years old. The camp was held at Camp Sky Meadows in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California.  26 campers—all...

Greater NW Pride: Being Church

11/14/2019

Being Church   Since the specially called General Conference meeting of February 2019, with the decision to go with the Traditional plan, there’s a lot of activity within the United Methodist Church as our members are trying to figure out the way forward on this pilgrimage of faith.    For example, as I write this, the Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction came out with the aspirational vision of the “Safe Harbor” declaration, welcoming out and closeted LGBTQ+ clergy and families to find a ...

Greater NW Pride: Microaggressions

10/31/2019

Microaggressions   I’m in the process of becoming a Docent with the Portland Art Museum. This 36-week training course is part art history class, part education class, and part cultural awareness seminar. On October 28, 2109, we had a “Building Inclusive Practice through Anti-Racism,”workshop,  led by Keonna Hendrick and Marit Dewhurst of Brooklyn, New York. Because of the work we do as Docents, and how we interact with the works of art and the people who come to the Museum, it is helpful in ...

Greater NW Pride: One Step Forward

10/23/2019

  One Step Forward: The Art of Pilgrimage in Life   I recently completed walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. It was amazing!   This is the 20th year I’ve gone on a pilgrimage. Call it a spiritual practice/continuing education event/a source of life and living that I began soon before I left teaching at Duke Divinity School. Here was the situation: While I kept writing about pilgrimage in my books and essays and sermons regarding people with disabilities and the Church, I had two ...

Greater NW Pride: LGBTQ+ Missionary Pilgrimage in Southern Idaho, 2019!

10/2/2019

LGBTQ+ Missionary Pilgrimage in Southern Idaho, 2019!   By the time I got on my Alaska Air flight back to Portland via Seattle and sat down, I knew I was tired from traveling many miles.  Yet a big grin came across my face as I leaned against the window side of the small prop plane. What an incredible, short pilgrimage I went on across the southern, broad, part of Idaho! I called it the LGBTQ+ Missionary Pilgrimage, although on Facebook I called it the Queer Missionary Pilgrimage, spreading ...

Greater NW Pride: Violence

9/19/2019

Violence   In opening up Facebook, reading the New York Times and Washington Post,  watching CNN and MSNBC, listening to NPR, and reading towleroad.com and joemygod.com on a fairly regular basis, I was struck by the presence of violence upon LGBTQ+ people that is a constant in our life as queers in straight American society. There is the physical, emotional, and religious violence that is perpetrated on us daily. In other words, the violence is systemic. It is the in the very institutional-cul...

Greater NW Pride: On Writing As a Gay Man

9/12/2019

  On Writing As a Gay Man In the recent documentary of the life of the late-writer Toni Morrison, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, I was struck by a quote about who her audience is in terms of who she is writing to in her novels and essays. I was struck by her candor: she writes to and for black people.    It made me think about who I write this blog to and for: I write this blog to and for straight cisgender people, not for LGBTQ+ per se. That’s because this blog is part of the United ...

Greater NW Pride: Amateur Sports and the Church

9/4/2019

Amateur Sports and the Church   This Sunday morning, Sept. 8, 2019, I’m going to be preaching at Hillsboro United Methodist Church at 10 am, and I’m looking forward to it. I enjoy my time visiting UMC churches as the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Coordinator, visiting congregations and seeing what is happening in and around the Conference.    I’m also signed up to be paddling with my Dragon Boat Team, Golden Dragons, and there is a Grand Master Race (over 60 years-old) at 10 am that morning as well. I’ll ...

Greater NW Pride: Called to Love One Another: A Video Documentary Project

8/29/2019

  Called to Love One Another: A Video Documentary Project   “Called to Love One Another” is a video documentary project that collects the stories of three congregations and pastors who have been on a faithful pilgrimage of movement towards being an open, affirming, and reconciling congregation, along with the story of three LGBTQ+ United Methodist Church members, whose pilgrimage is a movement from the closet to being open and a members of a local United Methodist Church. In both movements—the...

Greater NW Pride: Queer Pride Camp Reflections

8/21/2019

Queer Pride Camp Reflections   On Sunday afternoon, Aug., 18, 2019, after a weekend together with each other, I drove a van full of queer young adult campers to a restaurant in Redlands, just down the “hill” from Camp Sky Meadows in the San Bernardino Mountains, where we were all part of Queer Pride Camp, a first camp of its kind in the United Methodist Church’s Western Jurisdiction. Twenty-six all-queer campers and eleven staff—all the camp leadership staff were queer—had a fabulous time ...

Greater NW Pride: What "Pose" Teaches Us About Being Church

8/14/2019

What Pose Teaches Us About Being Church   On Tuesday, Aug., 13, 2019, I read a Facebook entry by the Rev. Anna Blaedel—an openly queer United Methodist minister—who was facing an investigation and possible trial by the Iowa Annual Conference into her ordination because homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, and she is a “self-avowed and practicing homosexual” (Book of Discipline, Paragraph 2702.1[b]). In all honesty, as an openly gay Presbyterian pastor, I even cringe as I ...

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