August 29, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/29/09-"It's Not About the Rules"

Here's a good word from Ray Neal, the pastor at MCC Seattle, from his blog "Something to think about."

What do you do when you are challenged by other Christians who believe you aren't living up the standards of the Scriptures because of your sexuality or gender identity? How do you respond when they quote scripture in their attempt prove to you that you are sinful and therefore are unloved by God?

Well, you could follow Jesus' own response to the so-called religious authorities of his day. The story is found in this week's Gospel reading from Mark 7. The religious leaders accused Jesus' disciples of failing to abide by the Holiness and Purity Codes found in Leviticus because they didn't wash their hands properly before meals. In their way of thinking a proper God-believer would not have acted this way. Instead they would have followed an elaborate ritual of washing their hands and of preparing their food before they could eat it. Since the disciples didn't do that, then the disciples must therefore be sinners who ignore the commands of God.

Jesus responds "(The Prophet) Isaiah hit the nail on the head when he spoke about you. He saw right through your hypocrisy when he wrote this: 'These people mouth all the right words, but their hearts aren't in it. Their worship is just one big sham. They invent rules to suit themselves and then teach them as the word of God.'

Jesus then continued: "At the end of the day, you are more concerned about your own rules and traditions than you are about what God actually wants of people."

Go get them, Jesus! Haven't you wanted to give as good as you get sometimes when you believe you are in war of words with those who tell you that you can't possibly be Christian and gay? Jesus is trying to say that it isn't the rules that are important, not even how we interpret them or apply them, but how we make God's power and presence a part of our hearts and lives, most especially how we accept God's love for ourselves and share that same love with others. Condemnation of others isn't ever loving. Whether it is you and I condemning our accusers or them condemning us. Jesus goes on to tell us that people of faith must always avoid abusing others by our actions and words.

Click here to read the rest of the post.

Encouraging Music 8/29/09-"Holy Ground" by Sandi Patty

Former Maryland Governor Apologizes for Stance on Same-Sex Marriage

We're posting this because it's just something you don't see every day. The former governor of Maryland, Parris Glendening, issued an apology for opposing same-sex marriage during his time in office (1995-2003). He did so in a very public way, sending a letter for publication in the Baltimore Sun. Here's the text:

Tom Schaller is commended for his thoughtful commentary in the Baltimore Sun regarding marriage equality for same-gender couples ("Md. should be a leader on gay marriage," Aug. 25). While serving as Prince George's County executive and governor of Maryland, I was a forceful advocate for enacting laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Despite our successes, however, in addressing employment, housing and public accommodations discrimination against gays and lesbians, I was firm in my statements that I believed "marriage should be between a man and a woman." This was especially true during my 1998 re-election campaign.

I was wrong! Allowing same-gender couples to join in the institution of marriage, and to experience the commitment and security of being legally married, does nothing to diminish or alter the institution of marriage itself. It does, however, promote healthy, stable families.

The freedom to marry is a basic human right. It was during the 1998 campaign, and it certainly is today. Democratic leaders all too often point to incremental progress but actively maintain the status quo because of political sensitivities. They can learn from my personal awakening. Simply put, ending discrimination means ending discrimination in marriage. Maryland should be among the great states in our country that affirm this personal freedom for all our citizens, regardless of whom they love.

Anyone can make a mistake, but it takes a big person to admit it, especially in public where it might actually help change some minds. We commend the former governor for doing so here.

August 28, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/28/09-Encouragement From an Ex-Gay Survivor

We have posted links to numerous pieces written by Peterson Toscano here over the years, and here's another outstanding one where Peterson responds to a letter from a young lady who is fighting her lesbian orientation with determination and prayer, yet is not "changing" into being straight. An excerpt:

After 15 years of living like this, it was with great sadness that I came to the conclusion that I could never actually change my orientation. Five years of marriage with a wonderful Christian woman proved that to me. I still labored on though for another two years to at least live a celibate life, one that I called a repentant life, although that seemed like a cop out compared to an actual transformation. But the misery continued and increased. I begged and pleaded God to give me victory. I cut out every gay contact in my life. I sought to destroy the gay part of me for Jesus. I found it was not possible or necessary. God did not answer my prayer. Sometimes when we ask something of God, and the answer is no.

I assumed I knew what the Bible said about gays, but I was wrong. In no passage does it forbid two men or two women to be in a loving relationship. Lust, idolatry, abuse are all condemned for straights and gays, but a loving relationship is not. In fact, it makes it clear that man (and women) should not be alone. We are designed for companionship, but an unequal orientation almost always ends disastrously–like being unequally yoked, with the two pulling in different directions. Also, I had not understood how people misused the scriptures to reinforce a bias they already held. We have seen this with slavery, where white Christians misread the passages to support the slave trade. They went to the scriptures with their minds made up instead of openly seeking God’s will. That is how I approached the scriptures for years not allowing the possibility of any other way.

In my own life I settled into a place of listening to God, asking questions without demanding certain answers. I brought to the Light what was hidden in my heart and asked the Spirit, “What about this? What about that?” I waited and listened trusting that God would lead me and guide me even though initally after I came out I still preferred to be straight. I came to an outrageous conclusion, not only was it okay to be gay, but my orientation is one of the many gifts that God has given me, one that I continually attempted to return for almost 20 years of my adult life, one that I violently attacked and tried to tear to a million pieces. God is so patient and so gracious with me! How long I coveted my straight neighbor’s life rejecting my own saying it was not good enough.

Many people will tell you they know what God’s will is for your life. Ultimately you have to discover this for yourself. Perhaps to a straight minister, the idea of loving someone of the same gender is completely foreign. Based on his or her experience that minister may say that God would never decree such a thing. Perhaps not for them because they are straight; they don’t get it. So they put burdens on other people’s backs often confusing sexual desire with intimacy with sin with companionship thus demanding people live lives without family other than church family without the day in and day out closeness of an actual partner. In the end this is not just about sex. It is about honesty. It is about intimacy.

God cannot fully bless a life that is not lived honestly, and it is not His desire to make you in a way that you will be denied the opportunity for intimacy and wholeness. That's not the God that some right-wing fundamentalists preach about, but it the God that we worship in full equality with Peterson. He's also the God who loves you and has His arms open waiting for you.

Click here to read the rest of Peterson's response.

Encouraging Music 8/28/09-"You Never Let Go" by Matt Redman

"A Marriage Like Any Other"

Long-time readers of this blog will recognize the name Richard Madaleno, a state senator from Maryland. He is a rising star in the Maryland legislature and happens to be gay. He wrote a stirring op-ed for the Washington Post advocating full marriage rights equality. Here is an excerpt:

In 2002, I became the first openly gay person elected to the Maryland General Assembly. It was important to me to be straightforward about who I was while not being pigeonholed as “the gay guy.” I immersed myself in my role as a public servant, focused on my constituents and worked hard. As time passed, people began to see me as “the budget guy,” or as an advocate for education, addiction treatment or developmental disability programs, or simply as Rich. My colleagues also came to know my husband, Mark.

Seven years have helped me to transcend being defined by my sexual orientation. But seven years, two wonderful children and a church wedding later, my husband and I are still denied the fundamental protections of civil marriage. Anyone who has ever stood up for his or her family will understand why the risk of being viewed as “the gay senator” can no longer keep me from speaking out. Achieving the freedom to marry, and removing a restriction that impedes the development of secure families, is a matter of fundamental social justice that needs vocal champions.

It will soon be 10 years since Mark and I were set up on a fateful blind date and eight years since our wedding at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda. Do we have a marriage license? No. But marriage is more than a legal document. The foundation of ours is the commitment we made, before our families and religious community, to build a life together and to be there for one another in good times and bad. The root of our marriage isn’t a license but our son and daughter, our families, our home, our memories and our dreams. But make no mistake — a marriage license would mean vital rights and responsibilities for our family, especially during turbulent financial times, and in matters related to health care, child-rearing, social services, retirement and, though we do not relish the thought, the time when one of us leaves this life for something greater.

While Maryland does not allow same-gender couples to legalize their relationships here, many such couples in our state are already legally married. Some had destination weddings in a pro-equality state such as Vermont or Massachusetts; others were married before moving to Maryland for work or family. Recently, I asked for an opinion from Attorney General Doug Gansler regarding whether Maryland should follow the District and New York and honor these legal marriages. Having reviewed our case law, I believe we have a legal obligation to do just that. In the past, Maryland has, as a legal principle, honored marriages performed elsewhere even when those marriages could not have been performed here. A government should not dissolve a validly contracted marriage without even one party requesting it.

The fact that the legislature is crippled by inaction on this issue does not end Maryland’s responsibility to the law. With the stroke of a pen, Gansler and Gov. Martin O’Malley can help to bring peace and security to thousands of Maryland families.

Mark and I would prefer to make it “official” in Maryland rather than traveling to New England. But until more of my colleagues in the General Assembly make it possible for gays and lesbians to legally marry here, we could at least take heart in knowing that our marriage was honored by our state. Whatever road it takes to get there, this “gay guy” looks forward to the day when his family is like any other, and when future generations have no understanding of what it was like before all Americans had the freedom to marry the person they love.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed. We remain proud to have a man like Senator Madaleno representing everyone's interests in our state legislature.

August 27, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/27/09-Ministering Like Jesus, the Hard Way

This is an essay I (Jim) wrote for publication in the 8/09 Unidiversal newsletter:

I believe one verse in the Bible that really describes the core of Christianity is John 3:16 (KJV) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” There are those who would interpret a handful of other verses in a way that directly contradicts with this critically important truth. They would have you think that because you were born with an orientation different than being attracted strictly to the opposite sex that you are disqualified from this promise.

The problem with that, however, is that it doesn’t match up with what Jesus said. He said “Whosoever believeth in Him” would have eternal life. He didn’t say that we had to be a Republican, wealthy, a college graduate, or straight. Whosoever means “no matter who.” Hard to parse that out into anything other than complete and full inclusiveness.

Sadly, the same folks that whiff on John 3:16 also seem to miss the next verse too:

John 3:17 (KJV) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. It seems to me like a lot of “fundamentalists” spend a lot more time using God’s word to condemn than to save. When people say “hate the sin, love the sinner,” (allow time for cringing) they often seem to be a lot better at the hate part than the love. I’m sure some of you have been pushed away from a church (perhaps literally) by a congregation preaching that message. I doubt you felt the love, but I’m pretty sure you got the hate part loud and clear.

In the ministry the Lord has led Brenda and myself into, we are trying to turn that around. The message of Jesus is one of hope, not condemnation. True, there are terrible consequences for not yielding our lives and claiming Him as our savior, but Jesus spent most of his time on earth preaching about the hope we ALL have for eternal peace and fellowship with Him because of his sacrifice at the cross.

Shouldn’t our message be one where we share that hope with those who don’t know it, who haven’t embraced it, who need a savior? Not this angry God who has become so popular in “fundamentalist” churches either--the one who loves us enough that he sent His son to Earth to die a painful death just to save us.

It would be so easy to turn on those who have propagated hate and discrimination in God’s name and return fire with anger and display the pain they have caused in your lives.

Let me encourage you, though, to show them love, peace, and the hope that you received from the real Jesus. That’s doing it the hard way, but isn’t that the way Jesus lived his life and completed His earthly ministry?

The best way we all can share the hope and love of Jesus is to do our best to live like Him, even when it’s hard.

Encouraging Music 8/27/09-"Love Song for a Saviour" by Jars of Clay

White Privilege in the LGBT Community?

I hope you've seen that we don't hesitate to post potentially controversal pieces here, primarily because I want to stimulate conversation and get people thinking, including ourselves. This is another one of those type of essays.

Chris MacDonald-Dennis has a blog titled "The Pink Pink Elephant." He has a recent post where he asks "Whose Community Is It Anyway?" MacDonald-Dennis believes the existance of "white privilege" is undermining the LGBT community. Here is an excerpt:

Whiteness in the LGBT community is everywhere, from what we see, what we experience, and more importantly, what we desire. Media images in television and film promote a monolithic image of the 'gay community' as being overwhelmingly upper-middle class if not simply rich, male and white. Even the most cursory glance through gay publications highlights the scarcity of images of people of color. If we are represented, it seems that we only exist to serve the needs of the largely gay white population seeking an 'authentic' experience of some kind, either through sex, music or travel. To the white LGBT community, our existence as LGBT people of color, is merely an afterthought, an inconvenient fact that is thought about in the most insignificant and patronizing way.

We must continue to grapple with the ways invisible whiteness and white privilege permeate the LGBT community because they undermine our movement. Recently, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, released a report aimed at gaining a deeper understanding about the complexities at the intersection of race, sexual orientation and gender identity. I applaud HRC for this study and the subsequent blog conversations and online town halls they are holding. I hope, though, that HRC discusses white privilege as a part of this work. If they do not, the work will be incomplete. Paula Rothenberg, a professor who specializes in studying whiteness, reminds us that white privilege is the other side of the racial oppression coin. HRC, and other groups that are attempting to be more inclusive, cannot truly look at why people of color are not involved in the larger movement if they do not examine white privilege. It's time for white LGBT folk to challenge their own privilege, listen to all voices and take on the issues that matter to all of us.

Click here to read the rest of the post and add your comment below to weigh in on this topic. How much of this do you think is caused by the strongly anti-gay feelings often expressed within the African-American community? I believe that is probably an important factor.

August 26, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/26/09-Tuscon Church Creating Postiive Intersection of Traditional Christianity and the Community

We're happy to post this announcement from one of the churches we've included in our list of independent affirming churches; Cornerstone Fellowship in Tuscon, AZ.

Do you wonder if there is a place for you in Jesus’ church, even though you are different?

Do you have a desire to be in God’s presence, but have been rejected by the church?

Would you like to see God through a fresh lens?

Have you been forced out of the church you grew up in because you are different but long for that old connection with God?

You do NOT have to forsake God, or Jesus just because you are different. HE HAS NOT forgotten you, and He still loves you…JUST THEWAY YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!!

Cornerstone Fellowship Church is sponsoring "All Peoples--One Voice," a Labor Day weekend outreach to the Tucson community.

Services are scheduled for; Friday, September 4th at 7:00 PM, Saturday, September 5th, at 7:00 PM and Sunday, September 6th, at 10:00 AM.

The focus of this outreach is bringing Jesus back to society’s outcasts.

This weekend kicks off the church’s initiative to remove social barriers to worship, uniting the whole community and making the church a place of worship for all people.

God’s word says. “Deliver us, O Lord, our God! Gather us from among the nations! Then we will give thanks to your holy name, and boast about your praiseworthy deeds.” – Psalm 106:47 (NET bible)

Guest speakers for the weekend are evangelists Evelyn and Dennis Schave from Houston, Texas, and Missionary R. Kayla Williams from Louisville, Kentucky. The worship leader will be Lori Bailey.

Dennis and Evelyn Schave are scheduled to speak on Friday and Sunday. They have been ministering Christ’s love for the GLBT community since 1989. They were selected Honorary Grand Marshalls for the Houston Pride Parade in 2005. Evelyn’s book, For Such a Time as This, chronicles her journey to understanding God’s unconditional love and acceptance for the LGBT community.

Minister Kayla Williams will be speaking on Saturday evening September 5th, at 7:00 PM.

Worship leader Lori Bailey has led worship services in El Paso, Tucson and Southern Arizona for over 10 years.

Paul Chambliss, pastor of Cornerstone Fellowship Church, said, "I believe this is going to be a transforming and life changing experience for many people in our community and our church. We will then begin the journey to spiritually speaking with one voice as revealed in the scriptures."

Cornerstone Fellowship is located at 2902 North Geronimo, in Tucson AZ, at the corner of North Geronimo and East Laguna, north and west of the intersection of First Street and Glenn Street.

More information is available by calling the church at (520) 622-4626, or at the church website,

We had the pleasure of hosting the Schaves last year when they visited the DC area to participate in the Fall Renewal services at our former church. They are wonderful folks and both have a strong anointing from the Lord. We would strongly encourage anyone that can get to Tuscon over Labor Day weekend to take advantage of the opportunity to join in what is sure to be some powerful worship.

Michelangelo Signorile: "Why I'm Marching" (October 10-11)

Michelangelo Signorile is a leading gay journalist and activist who hosts a show Monday-Friday on Sirius Satellite Radio's OutQ from 2-6 PM (eastern). It is the most consistently thoughtful and relevant LGBT oriented program broadcast nationally that we've heard.

That's why we believe you should care about the essay he wrote for The Advocate explaining why he will be participating in the upcoming National Equality March in Washington, DC on October 10-11. Here's an excerpt:

A lot of people are saying we need to think big -- real big -- and that we need to stop denigrating ourselves by settling for crumbs, which we never get anyway. Perhaps we need an omnibus LGBT rights bill that covers everything -- go for it all, and leave it at the feet of Congress. Maybe we should amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include us. What about going for the most urgent things rather than the easiest—like pushing hard for the president to issue a moratorium on “don’t ask, don’t tell” -- something he has disingenuously said he can’t do and that gay groups more or less have given him a pass on -- rather than sitting idly by and watching careers be destroyed while we continue to investigate options for overturning the policy?

It’s time for these new, even risky approaches, and it’s time to ask for it all -- now. That’s why I’m going to Washington for the National Equality March -- called for by legendary activists David Mixner and Cleve Jones -- even though, like others, I wasn’t initially down with the idea. It’s time the rest of us showed up on the National Mall and let Obama know that the cocktail party crowd -- the suck-ups, the sycophants, and the scaredy-cats -- doesn’t represent us. We want full equal rights (or at least see a substantial commitment to moving in that direction) -- not photo ops and wine spritzers.

It’s not that I was ever really opposed to the idea of a march. To the contrary, as listeners to my Sirius/XM radio show know, I’ve been talking about marching on Washington ever since the morning after Election Day. For me, it’s been a matter of historical precedent: The black civil rights movement wisely took advantage of a window of opportunity in 1963, when Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress. Republicans could no longer be blamed for the lack of civil rights protections, and marchers knew that media attention would put pressure on the Democrats and shame them into action.

We have that same window of opportunity today.

Click here to read the rest of Signorile's essay.

For what it's worth, we also plan to participate in this march. While we're not totally convinced that this is the right action at the right time, we are open to the possibility that it might be. Given that it's right in our back yard, we feel it would be disengenuous of us to promote LGBT equality while siting in the comfort of our homes yet be unwilling to literally take a step out and join those voices raised for equality.

We'll pray that the subway doesn't breakdown--that's been a major problem recently.

Welcome to Mid-Week Worship 8/26/09

We're on vacation this week, but we hope you will be blessed by this podcast from Gay Bible Christians titled "May God always bless you with failure."

Encouraging Music 8/26/09-"Because of Who You Are" by The Imperials

What's It Like to be the Face of LGBT Journalism?

From Metro Weekly:

It should come as no surprise that one chapter of Kerry Eleveld's life contains a stint as an amateur stand-up comic. Her keen wit, sharp voice and knowing smile make her seem like she could have easily dropped in from a classic screwball comedy, one where the wise-cracking gal proves herself a competent player in the newsroom.

Which, of course, she's done -- but without the comedy.

After covering the 2008 presidential campaign for The Advocate, during which she scored the rarest of grails for the GLBT press -- an actual interview with Barack Obama -- she's now taken up residence in the Washington press corps and become the daily face of GLBT media in the White House press room. Her constant stream of reports for The Advocate's Web site are must-reads for those tracking the progress -- or lack thereof -- on GLBT issues under the Obama administration and Democratic Congress.

It's a necessary job, as she sees it, even as gay issues more often appear on front pages and newscasts across the country.

''The mainstream media is very primed right now to cover our issues but they don't really have the resources to do it,'' she says. And even when they do, the need for a GLBT-specific approach remains. ''Everyone will throw in a gay question every now and again in an interview, but what mainstream organization would ever do an interview with a politician and ask four or five gay questions in a row? That doesn't happen.''

Eleveld's own profile has risen higher in recent weeks with daytime appearances on MSNBC where her journalistic sensibilities are turned to a range of current political events, both GLBT-related and beyond.

''It's an interesting opportunity. I'd never seen an LGBT outlet's reporter weighing in on [non-LGBT] issues,'' she says, stressing her pleasure at being part of the ''greater American discussion.''

And with Eleveld as part of that discussion, the GLBT community enjoys a distinctive voice, indeed.

Click here to read Metro Weekly's Q&A where Kerry Eleveld answers the questions instead of asks them for a change.

August 25, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/25/09-Reclaiming Faith Vital to Attaining LGBT Equality

Bishop Gene Robinson (does he really have to be identified as "the only openly gay Episcopal bishop" anymore?) recently gave a speech in Salt Lake City, UT that I felt contained great encouragement for the LGBT community. I'm excerpting parts of the report from the Salt Lake City Tribune (hat tip to Gay Agenda):

There may be one thing even more difficult than coming out of the closet for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop.
And that's coming out as religious.
Yet reclaiming faith is vital to the success of the gay-rights movement, V. Gene Robinson told Utahns this week at a Salt Lake City fundraiser for the nonprofit group Equality Utah.
"We need to lay claim to the fact that we've been able to put our sexuality together with our spirituality in a way that enlivens us and nourishes us," said Robinson,

"When straight allies are joining us in our fight, then we can really make some progress," an optimistic Robinson told the 1,200 gathered at the Calvin Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center.
Homophobia is waning, he said, and there is a "vast, movable middle" in society that can be won over. "They've stopped wanting to kill us, but they're not ready yet to celebrate us either."

Working from within faith communities is important, Robinson said, because "90 percent, at least, of the oppression that you and I face as LGBT people comes from the Abrahamic faiths -- from Judaism, Islam and Christianity."
Robinson predicted The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- as well as other churches -- will change its position.
"Pretty soon," Robinson said, "even the LDS Church is going to realize that no one under 30 is interested in joining a church that discriminates against us."

Robinson said he is confident LGBT people eventually will have full inclusion in all of society, including in churches, synagogues and mosques.
"In the end," he said, "we can keep doing this work because we know how it's going to end."
He encouraged LGBT people to lives of joy, "fabulousness" and integrity so that no one can deny "the eternal light that is in each one of us.
"No matter the setbacks, the costs, the price we pay," Robinson said, "we are inexorably moving to a vision of the culture and of our religious institutions which is closer to God's [vision]."

Make no mistake, God's vision is no less than ALL of His children walking together, equal citizens of His kingdom.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Encouraging Music 8/25/09-"Here is Our King" by the David Crowder Band

"The Gay Gap"

Here is a very encouraging survey I want to share with you (thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the link).

As contentious as the debate over gay marriage can get sometimes, I’ve always taken comfort in one simple fact: This is a generational battle, and that means the younger generation wins… eventually.

We all know there’s a gap between how old folks feel about same-sex marriage and how young folks feel. What you might not quite grasp is just how tremendous that gap is. A new paper (”Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness” [PDF]) by Jefferey Lax and Justin Phillips puts it in a bit of perspective.

Just how big is the gay marriage age gap? Between the under-30 crowd and the over-65 crowd: 35 percentage points.

Or, try this on for size, at the state level: If people over 65 in each state made the laws, 0 states would have gay marriage; if people under 30 made the laws, 38 states would have gay marriage.

Click here to read the detailed results.

August 24, 2009

Encouraging Words 8/24/09-Preaching Inclusion

We found this message at a site called Inclusive Orthodoxy. There are many other resources at that site, but we particularly wanted to share this one with you today.

We believe that all people are included in the Gospel invitation, and we affirm that there is a place within the full life and ministry of the Christian Church for faithful believers regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation, both those who are called to lifelong celibacy and those who are partnered.

Jesus' ministry was radically inclusive, challenging social, cultural, and religious traditions and beliefs which devalued any human being. In a culture where tax collectors were corrupt and despised, he broke bread with them and shared a meal (Matthew 9:9-13). The Pharisee's were confused by this and exclaimed, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

In a world of innumerable purity laws and cultural norms which governed interactions between Jews and Gentiles, as well as between men and women, Jesus, when sitting at a well, asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. She exclaimed, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (John 4:1-42).

Wherever he went Jesus broke taboos, and cultural boundries which dehumanized and segregated people. He gave attention to the outcasts of society– the sick, the handicapped, and even those who were demonically possessed. He was also concerned about those on the fringe of society– the poor and marginalized, confronting those in power who considered themselves to be superior.

Click here to read the rest of this message.

Encouraging Music 8/24/09-"Always" by Buildling 429

Who Is the Gay Obama?

Here is a piece I wrote for publishing on GayAgenda:

Leadership. It’s all about leadership.

A profound statement, for sure, but where am I going with it?

Leadership sometimes seems like a lost art, particularly in the public sector. Despite the hue and cry about the war in Iraq, President Bush was reelected in 2004 because Democratic nominee John Kerry didn’t have the charisma, the leadership, to galvanize wide enough support to dislodge an incumbent president.

Things were much different in 2008 when Barack Obama emerged in many people’s minds and hearts at THE MAN, a charismatic leader who gave people hope, who could rally those who were previously disengaged and make them an enthusiastic part of the electoral process. He made politics mean something again to many who had become cynical and felt disenfranchised.

Where is the gay Obama? Where is the person who will galvanize support with the LGBT community and its allies, the person who has the vision of how to bring about true equality in society and can develop the plan to make it happen?

Click here to read my conclusion.

August 23, 2009

Sunday Worship 8/23/09

If you don't have a welcoming church near you, or you just can't make yourself step into one, we're bringing worship to you. Here are links to some worship music and services from open and affirming ministries (all times eastern). I hope you are blessed and take time out of your busy schedule to enter into the Lord's day.

Don't forget to click on the tab on the upper right of this blog and leave your prayer requests in the comment section so we can petition the Lord for your needs.

If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with us.

Live Sunday Services (all times Eastern)
MI-Renaissance Unity Church, Warren, 10:00 AM
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM
VA-Believers Covenant Fellowship, Vienna, 11:00 AM
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 11:45 AM
NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem, 12:00 PM
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa, 1:00 PM
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach, 1:00 PM
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore, 1:30 PM

Canada, Vancouver-Christ Alive Community Church, 10:15 PM
FL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program) 4:30 PM

Video Archive

AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach
FL-Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Ft. Lauderdale
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa
GA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Atlanta
MI-Christ Community Church, Spring Lake
MI-Renaissance Unity Church, Warren
NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem

OK-Expressions Community Fellowship, Oklahoma City
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa
TX-The One Church, Garland
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore

Audio Archive
AZ-Community Church of Hope, Phoenix
AK-Open Door Community Church, Sherwood
CA-Christ Chapel of Long Beach
CA-Christ Chapel of the Valley, North Hollywood
FL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program)
FL-New Hope Christian Center, Pensecola
GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta
MD-Kittamaqundi Community, Columbia
NC-Revolution Charlotte
OH-Emmanuel Fellowship Church, Akron
OH-All Saints Community Church, Cortland
TN-Covenant of the Cross-Madison
TX-New Hope Fellowship Church-Dallas
TX-White Rock Community Church-Dallas
TX-Community Gospel Church-Houston
TX-Through Him Fellowship-Houston
South Africa-Deo Gloria Family Church

Can we pray for you? E-mail