June 19, 2009

Words of Encouragement 6/19/09-"The Voice of Assurance"

Rev. Paul Turner, GentleSpirit Christian Church, Atlanta, GA


Music of Encouragement 6/19/09-Shout to the North

‘God is not going to turn you away because you are gay.’

That's the lesson Moriah May learned, but nearly died in the process. She survived, though, and her story can be an inspiration to others who share her struggles.

From the Kingsport (TN) Times News (via the Tennessee Equality Project thru Twitter):

May, who was 21 at the time and had entered her second semester of college, had
told her immediate family that fall that she is gay. While she said some family
members were supportive, others were not.

“My sister, my mother and my brother are pretty much all the family that I have now. My extended family were pretty much the ones who were rejecting me. My mom was like ‘You’re my kid. I’m going to love you no matter what.’”

But it’s not easy being gay in Northeast Tennessee, so May searched for answers to the continuing emotional turmoil she felt.

May said she is a religious person and comes from a religious background, so she sought answers in church.

“I went to some — I won’t mention any names — and I talked to some religious people and I was told that I was going to go to hell no matter what,” she said.

May doesn’t believe that now, but then it was a different story.

“I was willing to believe anything because I was so torn apart at that point. If they told me I was going to hell, I thought I was going to hell.”

That was the frame of mind May was in on Dec. 26, 2007, when she drove to the lake. She said that on Christmas Day she’d been receiving phone calls from some former high school classmates making fun and ridiculing her for being gay. That brought her to a breaking point.

Click here to read the rest of the story from the Kingsport Time-News.

June 18, 2009

Words of Encouragement 6/18/09:"Straight From the Heart-The Love of God"

Brenda offers a word of encouragement straight from the heart, referencing scripture from 1John 4 and John 3:16.

Music of Encouragement 6/18/09-The Word Is Alive

President Obama - A Gay Advocate?!

I am tired. No, I'm sick and tired! I'm sick and tired of hearing what an advocate President Obama is for our glbt brethren. I don't see it.

The President has not repealed "Don't ask, don't tell" for the military, which he could do without the help of Congress or anyone else. He has not made any policy statements that advocate for same-sex marriage and, in fact, his administration has argued to uphold DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and uses an argument that equates our relationships to incest! The President says all the right things, but I just haven't seen anything to tell me that he gets it. The only thing he's done lately for the glbt community is sign a measure that gives gay or lesbian federal employees with partners medical benefits. Woohoo! Party over here. Not!

What President Obama has done is given our community the big goose egg. I still think he's a whole lot better than McCain would have been, but that's not saying much. Why is it that a president with a huge approval rating and a Congress with an overwhelming majority isn't doing the right thing? He's hemming and hawing on healthcare too! I just don't understand what is so difficult for him. An injustice has been allowed in our country for far too long and he just tiptoes around it like it's a firepit.

I'm tired of hearing what a hot button issue this is. It's quite simple, really. I am an adult person who is a citizen of the United States of America. I fell in love with another adult citizen 16 years ago and would like to get married so that we have the same 1,000+ benefits that marriage affords other couples. Why is that difficult? Don't tell me religion. The Constitution guarantees that the Congress will not establish a State religion or prohibit the free exercise of religion. Therefore, there is no religion that should have any say in whether I am able to marry my partner. It is a civil matter. Frankly, anyone who would deny my right to marry on the basis of religious beliefs should be ashamed of themselves for trying to force their religion on me. My beliefs are different than those on the Right that would deny me the benefit of marriage based on my sexual orientation.

I sick and tired and I'm not going to take it anymore! I am going to call and write my representatives in Congress and the President and express my outrage until something changes. Every glbt person in America and every advocate in America should be up in arms about this issue, but we all seem to be asleep at the wheel because President Obama is supposedly supportive. Until he steps up to the place and actually starts doing something to back up his words about equality, I will not stop calling him on his inconsistency. I will not allow anyone to tell me that I don't deserve to be married, legally, because of who I love. It's wrong and we need to take back our country from those who would deny us the same rights everyone else has.

So, glbt people and those who love us, join in and start a writing/calling campaign. Take to the streets in front of the White House. Visit your representatives. Do whatever you can to let them know that we're watching and waiting for them to do what is right and just, not politically expedient.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox for the moment. Thanks for letting me get that out!


Editor's note: During the presidential campaign, I pointed out my belief that Obama was not in favor of equality for GLBT people, merely less discrimination. He has done nothing to disprove that, and we could even debate the less discrimination at this point.


Newsweek is asking the question "Can Obama Win Back the Gay Community?"

June 17, 2009

Words of Encouragement 6/17/09-"Eye Has Not Seen"

Pastor Doug Sewell, All Saints Community Church, Cortland, OH


Music of Encouragement 6/17/09-In The Blink of an Eye

Do We REALLY Want to Preserve "Traditional Marriage"?

For those people who use the term "sancity of traditional marriage" to oppose same-sex marriage, well, you might want to be careful what you ask for after watching this clever video (thanks to The Mighty Pen for the link).

June 16, 2009

Words of Encouragement 6/16/09: "Straight From the Heart-The Character of Love"

Brenda brings a word of encouragement straight from the heart, focusing on scripture from 1Corinthians 13.

Music of Encouragement 6/16/09-Better Than Life

40 Trans Heroes

My facebook friend Meghan Stabler linked to this press release from the NGLTF:

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, the International Court System, in collaboration with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is recognizing 40 transgender and gender- nonconforming individuals for their contribution toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.

To mark this occasion, the International Court System is showcasing these "40 Trans Heroes" on its Web site at www.impcourt.org/Trans40/ to highlight the importance of the transgender and gender-nonconforming community as an equal and important part of the broader LGBT community. The "40 Trans Heroes" were solicited and selected from hundreds of nominations by a special committee of the International Court Council.

"This is by no means a complete list or a 'best of' or 'top 10' list. It is merely a beginning tribute to the thousands of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals that have made our modern-day movement possible," says Thom Hansen, president of the International Court Council. "This momentous tribute to the transgender community is a long time coming. The International Court System is honored to partner with the Task Force. Together, we pay tribute to those whose lives and works have impacted each and every one of us."

"On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, let's remember the legacy of those who started our struggle for equality and liberation," says Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Recognizing 40 of the many transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals who have worked tirelessly and passionately in favor of full LGBT equality throughout these four decades is a reminder of the determination and persistence of the transgender community and of the human spirit. Let's continue to honor these important contributions toward a more just and equal society for all of us."

The International Court System will present a commemorative plaque inscribed with the names of these outstanding individuals on June 25 to be placed at the Stonewall Inn.

Click here to see the bios and phots of these 40 courageous people.

June 15, 2009

Words of Encouragement 6/15/09

We want Straight, Not Narrow to become a go-to resource for those in the GLBT community who want to know Christ (especially those who have been deeply wounded in previous church experiences) and those who already know Him who are looking for a closer relationship with Him, or just need an encouraging word. This is the first of an ongoing series of sermons delivered by ministers in independent open and affirming churches mixed in with podcasts from us that will be posted every weekday. We hope you are blessed.

"The Proof is in the Putting" by Pastor Leslie Tipton, Church of the Holy SpiritSong in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Music of Encouragement: 6/15/09- 'Mine," a music video

Mariah & Byron Edington are straight allies who have a website titled "Caffection, Married to My Best Friend." They contacted us a little while back asking if they could use our picture in a music video they were going to produce, and we were delighted to say yes.

The video, set to the song "Mine" is completed, and here's the link. Our picture is early on, and let me present the video with a warning--if you don't want to see photos of couples that adore each other, you'd better skip it.

Great Article on The Evangelical Network Conference

A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to particilate in the annual conference of The Evangelical Network in Gastonia, NC. The organization is a group of evangelicals that is not only reaching out to include the GLBT community in God's kingdom, but is working with mainstream churches to bridge the gap between straight and GLBT people. If that sounds familiar, it might be that you saw it on the heading of this blog--that is a mission we are passionate about and hope to become involved in supporting TEN's efforts.

Gastonia is in the Charlotte metropolitan area, and the conference was covered by a lengthy article in their local GLBT newspaper, Q-Notes by Matt Comer (one of my Facebook friends). Thanks to TEN President Todd Farrell (another one of my Facebook friends) for the link. Here are some excerpts:

When most people hear the word “evangelical,” they immediately think of people like the late Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson of “The 700 Club” or Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. Far-right fundamentalists, it seems, don’t have a monopoly on the word. (AMEN!)

David Thomas, pastor of Abundant Grace Church near Hickory, was one of several local leaders who helped to organize the conference and assist with logistics. He told Q-Notes that he was excited to bring the conference to the state and help heal some of the rifts between LGBT people and their faith.

“Evangelicals have given the word ‘evangelical’ a bad rap,” he said. “The word comes from a Greek word meaning ‘good news.’ It is the good news of Jesus Christ. We believe the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, that he came to bring love, peace, deliverance and salvation to liberate peoples’ lives.”

Thomas was a speaker during one of the conference’s several worship experiences. He said he wanted to give people the message that they shouldn’t ever let anyone look down on them for any reason.

“If you are a person who believes in God, loves God, don’t let people look down on you,” he said. “Live a life that exemplifies what Christ’s life was about: love and caring for other people.”

David is a wonderful man of God, and I couldn't give any better advice that he did in that quote.

The conference was wonderful and we were very blessed and energized. It's no coincidence that you're seeing a lot more content on this blog (with more to come) since we came back. Thanks to Todd, Carl Smith, and everyone else who did the hard work and set the stage for the Holy Spirit to take over that hotel for the weekend.

Click here to read the rest of the article in Q-Notes.

June 14, 2009

Sunday Worship 6/14/09

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.

We appreicate all of the positive feedback we've received for our Sunday Worship series. If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with me.

Worship Music--sing along and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Live Sunday Services (all times Eastern)
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 11:45 AM
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM
VA-Believers Covenant Fellowship, Vienna, 11:00 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
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, TX
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