July 11, 2009

Live Chat Tuesday 7/14 at 9:00 PM EST

We're going to try something new on Tuesday, hosting our first live chat right here at Straight, Not Narrow. Please bring your questions about our ministry, something going on in your own life, concerns about GLBT social issues, and we'll both do the best to provide answers and/or facilitate discussion.

It will start at 9:00 PM U.S. Eastern time and last an hour if the discussion carries that long. The link will be provided a few minutes before the chat in a seperate blog post. We hope this is something people will want to participate in and has value. Spread the word to anyone who might want to join in.

Saturday Mini-Concert 7/11/09-Mercy Me

July 10, 2009

Encouraging Words 7/10/09-" The Power of Small"

Rev. David Pettit of New Hope Christian Center in Pensacola, FL preaches from 1 Samuel 17:32-49 in his sermon "The Power of Small."


Encouraging Music 7/10/09-"Shout Unto God"

Tony Campolo Speaking In Favor of the Hate Crimes Bill

What would Jesus do? For one thing, in evangelist Tony Campolo's opinion, he would support the Hate Crimes bill currently being considered by Congress. Here is his speech at the HRC's Clergy Call rally:

July 09, 2009

Evening Prayers 7/9/09


I pray for all those people with idle hands these days, those who want to work but don't have the opportunity and are struggling to deal with it. Brenda has been wrestling with that for two months now and is making some headway in finding a new path that we believe you are laying out for her. Thanks to the way you have so richly blessed me in my career, both in stature and salary, she has options that don't have to include working a 9-5 job. This is something she had trouble embracing, but is starting to do that now and is becoming open to a plan "outside the box" that you appear to be laying our for her/us.

One of my closest friends has a spouse who has been out of work several months and does not have any opportunites on the immediate horizon. The emotional and financial strain is beginning to take a toll, especially because they don't have you in their lives. When we try to carry the burdens of life all on our own, they can way us down pretty quickly, and the more difficult burdens can break us. I don't want my friends to snap, but I fear that is possible. Lord, please use their difficulties to give me or someone else the opportunity to speak into their lives how much you love them and help them know you are always there for them.

Lord, I thank you that we don't have to figure things out on our own--you will guide us if we yield ourselves to your will and seek your direction. I ask that you help my friends and everyone who is searching for a new direction, a new purpose to fill their lives, and for that to be centered on you.


Encouraging Words-"No Condemnation"

In her latest podcast, Brenda references Romans 8:1 to point out that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Encouraging Music 7/9/09-"Enough"

Seduced By the Bright Lights in Washington

Wayne Besen is concerned that GLBT activists, including himself, have been seduced by the access to power and the lure of the bright lights of national politics in Washington, DC. Besen believes that leadership needs to refocus on more grass roots level issues. Here's an excerpt from his column:

Getting thrust into the national storyline means hundreds of news stories that feature your name and the bright lights of television. Of course, such massive media hits are important and serve a larger purpose. But, the downside is our movement can become intoxicated with Washington at the expense of broader issues.

Let me be clear, it is crucial that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement have a strong voice in Washington. It is vital that we support our national lobby groups. Solutions at the federal level are often preferable because they apply to conservative states where it may take decades to achieve equality.

Political discourse has become an aphrodisiac that has seduced our community away from equally important issues. Perhaps it is time we go into rehab and free ourselves from the Washington crack pipe. It is a cheap high that rarely lasts and often leaves us broke and unsatisfied.

We all wanted King Obama to sweep into office, wave his magic wand and make discrimination disappear. I really wish he would, but it is clear that he won’t - or at least not as quick as we desire. So, why don’t we pry ourselves away from DC for a moment and try using our resources in alternative ways?

Anyone remember AIDS?

Ever hear of the multi-million dollar ex-gay industry that pumps out reams of propaganda to portray gay people as sick and “sexually broken?” Few people seem to notice, even though these groups spread harmful myths and poisonous stereotypes that impact our daily lives.

What about increasing funds to help GLBT youths who are thrown out of their homes? Or, scholarships, so these teens can succeed in life and maybe one day run for Congress?

How about focusing on the abuses against GLBT people overseas?

The aforementioned issues will not get you on a Congressman’s speed dial. It is unlikely that you will win a sparkling trophy or have a marble bust made of your head. The cable shows may not be dialing you at a frenzied pace. But, you might have a disproportionately positive impact and even save a few lives.

Hard words and some deep thinking from soneome who looked in a mirror and wasn't happy with what he saw. We should all do that every now and then.

Click here to read the rest of Wayne Besen's column.

July 08, 2009

Evening Prayers 7/8/09


I can only imagine how frustrated you must get with us, but I got a small taste of it today. Someone I know and care about came to me with a problem, but shared so little of it that I felt my hands were tied in being able to help. You've given me a heart that wants to reach out and help people, but we are limited to what they tell us and show us.

It's got to be even more frustrating for you because you know our problems even without us telling you, so when we don't turn to you for help, you know just how foolish we are being, usually even better than we do.

Lord, I pray for my friend and the issue they are dealing with. I pray that they don't try to handle it without help, but they'll need to let down their guard with someone and let them in before help can be given.

Please help us to let down our guard with you and ask for your help, whether the issue is large or small, there's nothing in our lives that you don't feel is worth your time, and for that I stand in amazement and thank you profusely for blessing us the way you do.


Encouraging Words 7/8/09-"All Past - No Peace"

Pastor Tee M. Hines of Emmanuel Fellowship Church in Akron, OH brings a message about how dwelling on your past only adds to your burdens and the sack of rocks you’ve stored up in your soul in "All Past - No Peace".


Encouraging Music 7/8/09-"What the World Will Never Take

A Look At Relationships Between Straight and Gay Men

From the New York Times:

The kinship between gay men and straight women is familiar to the point of cliché (see: “Sex and the City,” “Will and Grace,” Kathy Griffin’s audience, etc.), but friendships between gay and straight men have barely registered on the pop culture radar, perhaps because they resist easy classification. For every sweeping statement one can make about such friendships, there is a real-life counter example to undermine the stereotypes. And as with all friendships, no two are exactly alike.

But as America’s openly gay minority becomes more visibly interwoven into society — a 2007 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 4 out of 10 respondents had a close friend or family member who was a gay man or a lesbian — the straight world becomes more aware of the gay world. Although male friends of opposite orientations can face formidable obstacles — sexuality, language, peer pressure, inequality — there seems to be more mutual appreciation and common ground.

“The younger generation understands the spectrum and fluidity of sexuality much more than generations of the past,” said Tom Bourdon, director of the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender Center at Tufts University. “Most liberal-minded straight
guys today could say they have gay friends, and people wouldn’t bat an eye.”

Pop culture has also been picking up on this, serving up gay characters who have broken out of old stereotypes. In “I Love You, Man,” Andy Samberg plays
a fist-bumping sports nut who is gay but makes the straight man, Paul Rudd, look
prissy. On “The Sarah Silverman Program,” the gay couple acts so pathologically
straight that they express their feelings with lines like, “I’m totally gay for you, dude,” between bong hits.

Still, as Billy Crystal remarked in “When Harry Met Sally,” it’s difficult for men and women to be friends because “the sex part always gets in the way.” The same can be true between gay and straight men — only it gets way more complicated.

As a straight man who has several close gay male friends, I have found that a sense of humor from both parties is essential to cutting through the differences that could be somewhat awkward, particularly if one or both men take each other too seriously. I have given my gay friends abuse for not knowing anything about football, and they have busted me for my total inadequacy in.....the kitchen (what did you THINK I was going to say?).

The most important factor I have found, though, is mutual respect. As I had the opportunity to share in a room full of gay men at The Evangelical Network's recent conference, I have the deepest respect for them to plow through the pain and abuse they have taken, emotionally and sometime physically, and still found their way to God, to love and be loved by Him. The commonality of Christian faith can get through a LOT of barriers to a strong, healthy relationship.

July 07, 2009

Evening Prayers 7/7/09


I come to you asking for a new level of discipline. Brenda has been after me nearly as long as we've known each other to cut back the fast food and eat healthier, and she has gone the extra mile to plan out menus and do some extensive shopping to fit meals into my narrow, picky taste. Help me find the discipline to stick with it and not cheat when I'm away from home, drinking less soda and more water and orange juice, eating more fruit and less snacks.

I also thank you and praise you for leading me to a spouse who loves me so much, who worries about my health and wants me to be the best I can be as we work together to execute your plan for our lives.

Thank you for caring about the details in our lives. Thank you that there is nothing too big or too small for you to be concerned about and that we can bring to you.


Encouraging Words-"You are NOT an abomination!"

Brenda offers clarification of the Leviticus 20 scripture in her latest podcast.

Encouraging Music 7/7/09-"Your Love is Extravagant"

"Confirmed-God Is Slightly Gay"

In this SFGate column, Mark Morford writes about the extensive evidence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom and what it tells us about how God views same-sex relationships. Here's an excerpt:

Here's the shocking new truism: In the wilds of nature, to not have some level of homosexual/bisexual behavior in a given species is turning out to be the exception, not the rule. Would you like to read that statement again? Aloud? Through a megaphone? To the Mormon and Catholic churches? And the rest of them, as well? Repeatedly?

Would you like to inform them that such behavior is definitely not, as so many hard-line Christian literalists want to believe, some sort of poison that snuck into God's perfect cake mix, nor is it all due to some sort of toxic chemical that leeched into the animal's water supply, suddenly causing all creatures to occasionally feel the urge wear glitter and listen to techno and work on their abs?

And so we extend the idea just a little bit. Because if homosexual/bisexual behavior is universal and by design, if gender mutability is actually deeply woven into the very fabric of nature itself, and if you understand that nature is merely another word for God, well, you can only surmise that God is, to put it mildly, much more than just a little bit gay. I mean, obviously.

But let's be fair. That's not exactly true. God is not really gay, per se. God is more... pansexual. Omnisexual. Gender neutral. Gender indeterminate. It would appear that God, this all-knowing and all-creating and all-seeing divine energy that infuses and empowers all things at all times everywhere, does not give a flying leather whip about gender.

That's a pretty interesting job of connecting the dots, of stepping back and looking at the big picture God has created instead of focusing on a few verses often taken out of context from the Bible. That's okay, because God created us with a brain to figure things out--we should try that more often.

You can click here to read the rest of the article. Thanks to my friend Doug Sewell, the pastor of All Saints Community Church in Cortland, Ohio for the link.

July 06, 2009

Evening Prayers 7/6/09


This was one of those days when I just felt overwhelmed. I love my job, but today I felt that I just had to pour it out with very little time to catch my breath, and then had another rough commute home because of the continued issues with the DC subway system.

In your word, you told us we could do everything through him who gives us strength (Phillipians 4:13), and I claim that tonight as I recover from the day. I claim that for tomorrow, heading into the city again and facing another challenging schedule. Lord, there are no challenges put before us that you can't get us through. I know sometimes you allow things to happen in our lives that wear us down, that force us to draw on your strength because ours alone is not enough.

Lord, I thank you for the times that humble me, and I was humbled a couple of times today. I thank you for the things that keep my ego in check, that remind me I am enjoying the success I currently have in my life not because of my greatness but thanks to your blessings.

I thank you that I can look forward to tomorrow with anticipation, not trepidation. I thank you for filling me with hope and not fear.


Encouraging Words 7/6/09-"Interview-For the Bible Tells Me So"

The website "NathanOUTLoud" has a podcast interview with Daniel Karslake, the director/writer/producer of the wonderful documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So."

You can listen to it here.

Encouraging Music 7/6/09-"The Voice of Hope"

Stonewell Still Making a Difference Across the Pond

Plenty has been written about the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, commemorated last weeek, but I thought this article from the BBC was particularly interesting, reminding us that the impact of that event was felt far beyond American borders. Here's an excerpt:

It seems a world away from modern-day Westminster, where openly gay MPs and peers sit around the cabinet and shadow cabinet tables while politicians on all sides of the House profess their tolerance.

On 28 June 1969, following a campaign of police harassment, patrons of Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn - mostly gay men, lesbians and transvestites - fought back following a raid.

The event prompted the first gay pride marches, inspired a new wave of the equality movement and eventually gave its name to the campaign group Stonewall.

The impact of this movement can be witnessed during the past dozen years when the age of consent was equalised, civil partnerships were permitted and the ban on gays in the military was overturned.

And another legacy has been to allow gay and lesbian politicians into the mainstream - not just demanding equal rights, but as representatives of the wider community.

Click here to read the rest of the BBC article.

July 05, 2009

Site Updates

If you've been following this blog regularly, first off, I hope you have been blessed in some way because that's our intent. We're not doing this to build ourselves up, we're doing it to build others up and encourage them by pointing them toward the Lord.

We also hope you've noticed the changes we've made over the last few weeks as we move toward a committed ministry effort with a sprinkling of GLBT issues instead of the other way around, which is how we started back in June 2005. In the last few weeks we've added:

o Encouraging music at 12:00 PM(Eastern time) every weekday (a video with the words to the song).
o Encouraging words, either a podcast or sermon, at 6:00 PM every weekday.
o A mini-concert of a popular Chrsitian artist every Saturday morning at 6:00 made up of five videos, usually recorded live.
o A new search function so you can look for any specific topic within over 1,400 posts we've made on this blog.
o In addition to news feeds from popular GLBT focused blogs, we've added a Google news feed picking up stories with GLBT, LGBT, gay, lesbian, and transgender key words.
o A listing of GLBT affirming books available for purchase through Amazon.com (we get a small referral fee if you click through from this site).

As we continue these features along with a daily news/ministry story every weekday morning at 6:00 and our Sunday Worship feature on Sunday mornings at 6:00, we have a couple more things to roll out.

o Starting tomorrow night, I'll be posting "Evening Prayers" at 10:00 PM. I'll be sharing a portion of my prayer life with you, hoping you'll add your prayer support and also that you'll join in by adding your prayer requests so Brenda and I can prayer over the needs and desires of you and those you know and love. Tonight I will just ask you to pray for our ministry as we continue to seek and find opportunities to spread our message of healing, encouragement, affirmation, and love into the GLBT community. I was on a GLBT-focused radio program in Dallas today for nearly an hour talking about Straight, Not Narrow and what we are trying to do--what a wonderful opportunity the Lord presented!
o Within a couple of weeks, I'll be joining Brenda in recording podcasts, something I'm very much looking forward to.
o We have set up a Cause on Facebook, not to raise money but just another way to gather people who are supportive of our mission and establish some form of community. If you are on Facebook, please check it out and consider signing up--let yourself be counted as a supporter of equality for all in God's kingdom.
o Within a couple of weeks, we'll be starting a live chat on Tuesday evenings.

Also, if you have a church or other group that you think would be interested in hearing our message, please let us know. We are open to road trips, possibly including some help with travel expenses depending on how far away you are from the Washington, DC area.

We are very excited about the direction our ministry is heading. We thank you for your support and will continue to build this site into a useful resource that can bless people.

Sunday Worship 7/5/09

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.

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

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