#TakeAKnee: When Peaceful Protests Are Vilified

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In 1963 a minister that most Americans today respect and praise as a man of social change MLK-Silent-about-things-that-matter.pngand justice was imprisoned because of peaceful protests that he helped lead in Birmingham, Alabama. Of course, that man was Martin Luther King Jr. Once in in jail he shared his reflections about non-violent resistance as a way to defeat racism in a powerful open letter known as a Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It seems that now is a good time for all of us to read that letter.

“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

In August 2016, then San Fransico 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the singing of the National Anthem. He did so to protest the growing epidemic of people of color being killed by people in authority. Colin explained that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Continue reading

Celebrating Bi Visibility Day: The Journey Continues!

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“I’m g-g-g-g-gettin’ bi. I’m gettin’ bi and it’s something I’d like to demystify. It’s not a phase; I’m not confused; Not indecisive; I don’t have the “gotta choose” blues. I don’t care if you wear high heels or a tie, you might just catch my eye. Because I’m definitely bi.” – “Gettin’ Bi” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Today, September 23, 2017, is Bi Visibility day. Last year on this day I remember spending time thinking about who I was. I was still in the closet then. Scared to come out. It wasn’t necessarily that I was afraid of rejection by people I loved and respected but I think I was afraid of being my authentic self. To be our authentic selves requires vulnerability and I image2wasn’t quite ready to be that kind of vulnerable with myself and others. At the same time, I was sensing an urgency to embrace my identity as a bisexual male. 2 1/2 months later I came out and finally did just that and every day since, I have experienced gratitude for being free of that aspect of my hidden, false self.

This past Labor Day Weekend I attended the GALA Retreat at Camp Red Cliffe in Hunstville, Utah. GALA is an organization whose mission seeks to “Providing sanctuary, spirituality, and transformation: For persons of ALL sexual orientations and gender identities through our shared faith experience in Community of Christ building bridges of understanding”. In the months leading up to the retreat I experienced a wide range of emotions. I went from being excited and couldn’t wait for it to arrive to feeling nervous about the experience and almost canceling my registration, to being excited and filled with anticipation again and so on. Additionally, I also struggled with the retreat theme of “Blessed are the Queer in Spirit” which hindered my anticipation for the event. In fact, the only reason I followed through with attending was that I was traveling to and from the retreat with a friend and didn’t want to cancel on her. I did follow through though and attend the retreat and I was blessed. Continue reading

Dear Mr./Mrs. Evangelical…

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To those who authored and signed the “Nashville Statement”,

You question why Christianity is dying in America. I see it in books that you author and blog entries you write. So you question why people are turning away from religion and then you publish this garbage. Shame on you. Look in the mirror. The answers you seek about the decline in Christianity may just be staring right back at you.

I would love to sit down with any person listed as a signatory on this document and share in a conversation about it. Maybe we could both grow from seeking to understand one another? So how about we get a drink from Starbucks and listen to one another. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a Unicorn Frappuccino. I’m sure that’s too gay for you anyways. We can just enjoy a regular cup of black coffee that is heavily diluted with white vanilla flavored creamer since I’m sure that is how you prefer to drink it anyways. Hmmm… Actually, Starbucks and their “liberal agenda” may not be the best place. I wouldn’t want you to be uncomfortable. Does Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A, or Cabela’s serve coffee? We could always go there. I don’t mind meeting you on your turf. Oh, I know there are some bakeries we could go to. They won’t bake me a wedding cake if I marry a guy but maybe they would serve me a scone to go with my coffee while we talk? Hmmm… Maybe. Continue reading

Singing, We Need Revival

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Holy Spirit rain down. Change us from the inside.
Singing. We need revival.

These lyrics from the song “Revival” by Soulfire Revolution (feat. Kim Smith) became an anthem for me as I sensed my ministry focus shift a few years back. It was a shift that led to my call, acceptance, and ordination to the office of Seventy. In many ways, congregational life in the Christian church is in the midst of its own huge shift as well, or at least needs to be. The needs and demands are changing. Building glorious structures of praise, beautifying our property, and traditional 11 am worship on Sunday meet the needs of many of our active members, but they no longer meet the needs of many in our communities. An “If we will build it, they will came” approach to living out congregational life is no longer relevant in our Western culture society today.  Continue reading

A Year Later: Orlando, Equality, and the Journey Forward

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When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day
This show is proof that history remembers
We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger
We rise and fall and light from dying embers,
Remembrances that hope and love last longer.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love,
cannot be killed or swept aside.
I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story.
Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.

-Lin-Manuel Miranda, excerpt from his acceptance speech
after winning “Best Score” at the 2016 Tony Awards
just 24 hours on the Pulse Nightclub Massacre.

A little over a year ago I had begun to finally understand my sexual orientation. It was a journey that took a long time and, in that moment in time, I was relieved to finally begin to understand who I was. The next step for me was to begin to stop living in fear, publicly “come out”, and claim my truth as a bisexual male. Of course, that eventually happened on December 5, 2016. Though, before I had even picked the date that I wanted to come out on, I almost came out one year ago today in response to the tragedy that occurred in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016. Continue reading