Jimmy Tells the Truth

I did not vote for him either time he ran for President, but I sure like him now. I don’t always agree with the 40th President, but when he’s right, he’s right. jimmycarterleaveschurch

Jimmy Carter has left the Southern Baptist Convention, because he is tired of the way that religious body treats women. Specifically, he opposes their refusal to ordain women and their requirement that women be subordinate to their husbands.

He also connects those positions with the global abuse, discrimination, and mutilation against women. He says no religion should subjugate women, and he rightly holds male leaders responsible for the choices they make in interpreting sacred texts.

I pray for the day when he, and others of similar integrity and wisdom, also will see the connection between religiously-based misogyny and religiously-based homophobia.

But he is doing a good thing. He has tried to change the view of his denomination–with which he has been associated for 6o years–but finally decided he could do more by leaving.

May each of us live our faith with such integrity and commitment to justice.

A National Health Plan

Let me reveal my bias at the beginning: I think Sonia Sotamayor will be an outstanding member of the U.S. Supreme Court.

I also support the senators as they ask tough questions of Judge Sotamayor to make sure she is qualified.

But I keep feeling a nagging thought about those who keep asking her about her bias: Have they revealed theirs?

I was struck by Judge Sotamayor’s statement, “We all have bias.” We have to own it in order to overcome it. s-SOTOMAYOR-97x75

Did the senators, all of them, hear that?

Or are they like lots of “straight” folks, or white folks or old folks or men, who just assume that everyone else ought to think and act as they do–and then expect those of us who are not to fit in?

Mystics and wise teachers from every faith tradition tell us that self-examination is key to spiritual health.

Is not that practice good for our national health, too?

The Joy of Justice

It appears that the U.S. Episcopal Church is going to end the ban on gay bishops (and presumably lesbian, bisexual, and transgender ones, too).

The church has been avoiding this moment. Some of that is due to homophobia. Some of it is due to fearing the reaction of other parts of the wider, global Anglican Communion. Some of it is due to fear of losing more U.S. churches who, in reaction, are leaving the denomination.

There are always people who resist justice. Doing justice often exposes pain.

Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire
Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire

But when the Diocese of New Hampshire elected Gene Robinson as its bishop–the first OPENLY gay bishop in the Anglican Communion–the die was cast. God does not want God’s people to go back, away from justice, but to push forward into more.

God knows how good it is for us to cast off our fears, and how good it feels. Doing justice leads to joy.

A Kiss Is Still a Kiss

It seems that kissing may be a problem in Salt Lake City.  At least when two men do it.

Chris Dobrusky, left, kisses Frank Armstrong during a protest Sunday to show opposition to recent actions of LDS Church security who detained a gay couple on Main Street Plaza, adjacent to Temple Square and LDS Church headquarters. (Jeremy Harmon / The Salt Lake Tribune)
Chris Dobrusky, left, kisses Frank Armstrong during a protest Sunday to show opposition to recent actions of LDS Church security who detained a gay couple on Main Street Plaza, adjacent to Temple Square and LDS Church headquarters. (Jeremy Harmon / The Salt Lake Tribune)

Security officials for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints detained two men on Thursday after one kissed the other one on the cheek within view of the church’s Temple. As a result, about 100 people, including heterosexual couples, gathered at Main Street Plaza for a “Kiss-in” protest this morning — showing their support for the two men.

It is not certain if a law was broken, but the public plaza is controlled by the church and apparently same-gender kissing is not allowed within church “guidelines.” They don’t allow protests either, so the demonstrators were turned away today, too.

Sources close to heaven said God was working on changing the church’s mind. The unnamed sources predicted an eventual shift in policy. “He’s working on it, and it will happen.”

The Most Important Things

Today I met with some folks in our church who care passionately about, and work for, stronger, more faithful life together for all of us in community.

As we talked, we uncovered hurt feelings and misunderstandings from the past. We also found common ground of hope and commitment in the present and for the future.

scales-unbalancedI was reminded that “The most important things in life aren’t things” (attributed to Anthony D’Angelo).

The most important “things” are God, people, ourselves, our relationships, our dreams, our compassion for others . . . . .

Thanks, God, for the opportunity to share these most important things.

Daring to Live

I found it hard to get going today. I even felt a little sorry for myself.

Then I came across one of my favorite bits of wisdom, from Helen Keller:  “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Helen Keller Smelling a Rose and Reading Braille
Helen Keller smelling a rose and reading Braille

She’s right, of course. Even on the slow, sad days, life is an adventure. For one thing, we don’t know what will come next; the variables in the universe continually cause things to shift.

For another, if we let God lead, new life comes.

I have great opportunity today–to communicate with and work with and pray with good people, to feel the joy of Tigger and others feeding hungry people, to learn something I didn’t know yesterday, to share hugs with friends, to listen for God, to eat good food, to snuggle with Jonathan at the end of the day . . .

What daring adventure are you on today?

Let Freedom Ring!

liberty_bell_1Two  hundred thrity-three years ago today–July 8, 1776–the Liberty Bell was first rung in Philadelphia.

Did you know that in 1965, groups of gay men and lesbian women took to the streets in public demonstrations at various locations in Washington, D.C.–including the White House and the Pentagon–and at Independence Hall in Philadelphia?

Historical Marker at Independence Hall
Historical Marker at Independence Hall

They were seeking liberty, as we do yet today.

Those who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and caused the bell to be rung, like those who marched in 1965, were bold, courageous, passionate. They knew the right, and they stood for the right.  

What about us, in 2009? Do we dare to be as bold? As courageous? As passionate?

Let freedom ring.