January 30, 2010

The Next Step for Straight, Not Narrow

After much discussion and prayer, we have decided to take this blog in a 100% faith related direction.  We've obviously been moving toward that over the last few months, but felt led to take the final step at this time. 

We'll still have plenty of LGBT related news available.  We've added feeds from several of the top LGBT news sites to our Google Newsreel on the right hand side of every page.

Our total focus now, though, will be on matters of faith in Jesus Christ, continuing to help LGBT people understand they are welcome in the kingdom of God without having to act straight, and to help straight people understand that fact and embrace their LGBT brothers and sisters as equals in every aspect of Christianity and society.

Starting tomorrow and continuing every Sunday, Straight, Not Narrow will be completely focused on bringing you live worship being streamed over the Internet. 

We've been limiting our services and churches we link to those who are independent, not affiliated with any particular denomination.  We are now undertaking a long-term project to add churches from some of the main denominations that allow recognition and acceptance of LGBT people.  Most of those denominations, however, allow individual congregations the option of choosing how they respond to LGBT people, so we will be examining churches on a case-by-case basis. 

This examination will also include adherence to what we believe are the non-negotiable basic truths of the Christian faith; that God came to Earth in fully human form as Jesus Christ, was crucified for our sins, rose on the third day, and that acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the ONLY way to eternal fellowship with Him in heaven.  We will do our best to be vigilant in not including any churches whose teachings conflict with these basic truths.

We hope by this exercise to bring you a wider choice of worship styles and doctrinal beliefs so that more people will engage in the services and hopefully be fed by the Holy Spirit and even visit one of the churches we present here at Straight, Not Narrow.

Here is our new schedule for Monday-Saturday.  All times are Eastern.

5:30 AM  Encouraging Words, formerly labeled as Daily Devotional
8:00 AM  LGBT Helping Hands (Monday-Friday) and our LOL cat friends on Saturday
10:30 AM Encouraging Music
1:00 PM Affirming Resource, either an LGBT affirming church or a useful website that teachings LGBT affirming doctrine
3:30 PM Matthew 25 Resource, helping those less fortunate (Monday-Friday) and "From the SNN Library" on Saturday, continuing our book recommendations
6:00 PM Affirming Words, including teachings, essays, and soon Brenda and Jim will resume podcasts that will be included here

We want everyone to have the opportunity to embrace the affirming love of Jesus.  If you know of someone who needs that message, please send them a link to our site.

We thank the Lord for the opportunity to serve through the material we post on this website and hope you are blessed as we continue to develop the Straight, Not Narrow ministry.

Encouraging Music 1/30/10 "Thou Art A Shield" by Kent Henry

LGBT Helping Hands 1/30/10-CLANGLES, Central Lancashire (England) LGBT Support

Information, Support and Community News for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People in Central & South Lancashire

Welcome to CLANGLES, (Central LANcashire Gay, LESbian, Bisexual and Transgender community website serving people in Central & South Lancashire.

Whether you are out’n’proud or just beginning to explore your sexuality, you will find some useful information on this website.

Until recently there has not been much going on for LGBT people in this area, so what CLANGLES is trying to do is bring together information about what is out there, how you can get involved and ways to make things happen. We also aim to link in to news of what’s happening further afield.

The site is managed by Project Oscar, an initiative funded by Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust.
Click here to find out more.

Changes at Straight, Not Narrow

Check back tonight for an update on what the next step is for Straight, Not Narrow.

Daily Devotional 1/30/10 Eternity

From:  Love Worth Finding

“That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:15

Your soul, made in the image of God, will exist forever.

I think Billy Sunday the evangelist said it this way: “Imagine a little bird taking a grain of sand and flying to a distant planet. It would take him a million years to fly to that distant planet. Then he would drop that grain of sand. Then the little bird would fly back to the earth taking him a million years. He gets another grain of sand and flies back to the distant planet. Back and forth, back and forth it goes. When he will have transplanted every speck of earth to that distant planet, it will only be breakfast time in eternity.”

Your soul will go on, and on, and on.

•Where do you plan on spending eternity?
•Where do your loved ones plan on spending it?

If you don’t know, ask them today and get their salvation on the right side of eternity.

January 29, 2010

Encouraging Words 1/29/10-Homosexuality and the Bible Part 4 and 5 of 5

The fourth part of a five-part series taught by Rev. J. R. Finney of Covenant Community Church in Birmingham, AL.

Encouraging Music 1/29/10 "Victory Chant" by Bob Fitts

SNN Recommends 1/29/10 (Just For Fun)-I Can Has Cheezburger

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is Expensive

From On Top Magazine (hat-tip to PageOneQ):

The US military has spent between $290 million and more than a half a billion dollars implementing its ban on open gay service, a new study released Tuesday found.

The research brief released by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a public policy institute that focuses on sexual orientation law, also estimates that 66,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people are currently serving in the Armed Forces, approximately 2.2% of all military personnel.

“Despite official policy requiring that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals remain silent about their sexual orientation, data from the US Census Bureau suggest that an estimated 66,000 LGB men and women are serving in the US military,” Dr. Gary J. Gates, who authored the study, said in a press release.

Congress approved the ban, also known as “don't ask, don't tell,” in 1993. It prohibits gay and lesbian service members from revealing their sexuality at the risk of losing their jobs.
Click here for the rest of the story.

Daily Devotional 1/29/10 Be An Encourager

From: Love Worth Finding

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Somebody has well said that discouragement is a dark room where the negatives of fear and failure are developed. There are some who are encouragers and others who are discouragers.

Have you ever met a discourager? They’re like a drink of water to a drowning person. They can brighten up a room by leaving it. They leave you drained and depressed.

But an encourager leaves you full and refreshed. God has cornered the market on encouragement. All encouragement comes from God.

You’re never more like God than when you’re encouraging people and never more like the devil than when you are discouraging people.

Find a needy person and enrich them; a lonely person and include them; a misunderstood person and affirm them; an undiscovered person and develop them; a failing person and restore them.

January 28, 2010

Encouraging Words 1/27/10-Homosexuality and the Bible Part 3 of 5

The third part of a five-part series taught by Rev. J. R. Finney of Covenant Community Church in Birmingham, AL.

Encouraging Music 1/28/10 "Holy, Holy, Holy" by Hillsong

Matthew 25 Resource 1/28/10-Our House (Monroe, LA)

As a center for youth, Our House, inc. is prevention/intervention oriented and is unique because it accepts client self-referral. The immediate goal is to address the crisis and stabilize the youth and family toward reunification. Our House provides shelter services for males and females age 11 to 17, until the crisis is resolved and he/she can return home, obtain an alternative placement, or become self-sufficient.

Our House strives to provide an effective family setting with shared responsibilities and decision making and a sincere caring for youth. The daily routine is structured, but flexible. The routine delineates boundaries essential for youth in preparing for social interaction up upon their return home. The program will be modified to accommodate the needs of individuals as much as possible, without compromising the mission of the programs to provide an environment of structure and consistency. Staff throughout the program will demonstrate a concern and respect for ethical, spiritual, and moral values of youth and their families.

In its longer term goal to assist runaway and homeless adolescents, as well as youth in crisis and their families, Our House provides intervention, counseling, shelter, referral, and/or advocacy on behalf of the youth in crisis. Often these services and others, such as tutoring, are provided on an ongoing basis as needed by the individual client and /or family. Because of its prevention emphasis, Our House concentrates on non-offending youth, or youth who have committed only minor status offenses. Our House strives to deter juvenile-delinquent activity, such as community violence, vandalism, and self-destruction, by developing helping relationships with at-risk youth. This the only early intervention, 24-hour availability, self-referring program serving youth in northeast Louisiana.
Click here to find out more.

Safe Schools Bill Introduced

From the DC Agenda:

Polis’ introduction of the legislation is consistent with his past work in public schools in his home state of Colorado. The lawmaker is a former chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education and has founded and served as the superintendent of charter schools serving at-risk student populations, according to a statement from his office.

ACLU has endorsed the bill. In a statement Wednesday, Christopher Anders, ACLU’s senior legislative counsel, called the legislation “long overdue.”

“Many LGBT students face harassment, discrimination and sometimes violence in our schools,” he said. “Our public schools should not be places of exclusion, but places where students feel safe and free from discrimination. The Student Non-Discrimination Act will go a long way toward protecting LGBT students and will help promote a better learning environment.”

Check back on DC Agenda’s website later for a more detailed look at the legislation. Download a copy of the Student Non-Discrimination Act here.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Daily Devotional 1/28/10 Random Acts of Kindness

From: Love Worth Finding

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great.” Luke 6:35

I’ve seen bumper stickers that exhort us to “show random acts of kindness.” I think that’s a good thing. And what is kindness? It’s love in the little things.

A woman came down the aisle of a church to give her heart to Christ, and the preacher wanted to know what had impacted her life for Christ. She said, “You did.”

The pastor said, “Well, I’d be interested to know what it was that I said that brought you to Christ.”

She said, “It was nothing you said. It was something you did. I was standing nearby when somebody criticized you very unfairly. I saw the kindness with which you responded, and I knew that your faith was real.”

What random act of kindness can you do today that will demonstrate that your faith is real?

January 27, 2010

Same-Sex Marriage Is Not The New Abortion

Jennifer Vasco writes in the Dallas Voice:

Gay marriage is not like abortion. This might seem obvious: One is about keeping a life from starting, the other is about joining two lives together. But in fact, gay marriage is compared to abortion a lot.

People lump gay marriage in the same polarizing issue category as abortion and gun control all the time. It’s one of the issues, it seems, that defines someone as a liberal or conservative, from a red state or a blue one. For example, the Washington Post said in a headline in 2004 that gay marriage is “the new abortion.”

And often, legal experts or other talking heads will predict the outcome of a Supreme Court gay marriage battle by looking at Roe v. Wade.

That decision was a disaster, they say, because the court’s opinion protecting the right to an abortion was far ahead of public opinion. The country was heading toward making abortion legal anyway, the theory goes, until the court made a big deal about it and caused a backlash that we’re still suffering from.

But gay marriage is not abortion.

In a New Yorker article on the Proposition 8 trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which is currently being argued, Margaret Talbot writes that researchers who “have studied public opinion on gay rights, believe that in five years a majority of Americans will favor same-sex marriage — the result of generational replacement and what [one researcher] calls ‘attitude adjustment.
Click here to read the rest of the story.

Encouraging Words 1/27/10-Homosexuality and the Bible, Part 2 of 5

The second part of a five-part series taught by Rev. J. R. Finney of Covenant Community Church in Birmingham, AL.

Encouraging Music 1/27/10 "Open the Eyes of My Heart" by Mercy Me

LGBT Helping Hands 1/27/10-Fenway Health (Boston, MA)

The mission of Fenway Health is to enhance the physical and mental health of its community, which includes those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), the people who live and work in our neighborhood, and beyond. Fenway provides high quality, comprehensive health care in a welcoming environment and seeks to improve the overall health of the larger community, locally and nationally, through education and training, policy and advocacy, and research and evaluation.

The Fenway Institute operates the nation's first community-based HIV research program, which has been conducting long-term epidemiological research since 1985. Fenway is one of eight sites in the US that was selected by the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases to recruit participants for the first clinical trials of an HIV vaccine. In 2007, The Fenway Institute was awarded a federal population center grant from the National Institutes of Health, representing the first time a community-based organization has been selected for this type of work. Working with the American College of Physicians, they also published the nation's first medical textbook focused on LGBT people The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health.

Click here to find out more.

"What About The Rest of Us"

That's the question Sean Kosofsky asks at The Bilerico Project, with us being LGBT people not living on either coast:

Right now our movement is caught up in the daily drama of the very important federal lawsuit to strike down Prop 8 in California. Don't get me wrong, this case is of utmost importance. There is a lot at stake, to be sure, but my concern lies in the fact that the LGBT movement seems obsessed with all things coastal. California, New York, D.C.... All important places.

Dozens of states have endured divisive and destructive ballot measures that have left the local community devastated, hurt and angry. But no other state experienced the outpouring of LGBT community and media attention as California. This isn't just about California's size - this has to do with the queer center of gravity being on the coast. Bigger is better. Bigger is sexier. This story has it all, stars, victims, a celebrity governor and rival attorneys coming together to take on an evil policy.
It has always been that leaders, organizations, celebrities and causes that have some link to the coast will gobble up the valuable real estate of our community's consciousness.

The plight of LGBT people in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and Missouri and other states is just as important as those in California. But because their stories and brave local leaders don't get any recognition or attention, our movement is being defined by people whose lifestyles, values and personalities are representative of a particular location and segment of our community. This is not to devalue or dismiss anyone in California. But, dammit there is more to this movement than California.

Regardless of what happens in California (and I hope we win) we must stop the love affair with one geographic slice of our country. We must widen our lens and see further than we have been seeing. The problem with fixating on any one strategy or any one region is that such short sightedness will fail us. Our movement must be more versatile and nimble and unless we can weave a larger narrative of where we live and where we are facing discrimination and violence, the queer "problem" or "issue" will always be "over there" and not "right here."

Problem is...we all live "right here."

What do you think?  Are LGBT people in middle America geting the short end of the deal, or is it just that resources being invested in the regions where success is most likely?

Daily Devotional 1/27/10 Investing in Others for God's Glory

From:  Love Worth Finding

“I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord.” Isaiah 63:7

One time, a man came into a village, and he asked an old man living there, “Any great men born here?” And the old man said, “No, just babies.”

Great people are not born. Great people are made, investing in the lives of others, sharing God’s love, and showing His mercies.

There is not a magic formula that instantly makes us sanctified. Sanctification is a process. Our calling is to be poured out into the lives of others for His glory.

How can you show His mercies to a lost co-worker or neighbor today? Pray about it and then watch for how God provides!

January 26, 2010

San Diego's Mayor Testifies for Marriage Equality

Jerry Sanders, the Republican mayor of San Diego, testified on behalf of equality in the ongoing Proposition 8 trial.  He wrote an essay for the Huffington Post telling why:

I was proud to testify this week in what I believe will soon be seen as one of the defining civil rights cases of our time, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. I did so as a Republican mayor, a father, and a former police chief with over 26 years of experience on the force. But I also testified as an American who has seen the effects of discrimination - and who believes that discrimination against anyone, anywhere, is unacceptable.

My thinking on this important issue has evolved significantly in the past few years. Not long ago, I believed that civil unions were an acceptable alternative for same-sex couples. Like many people, I mistakenly thought there was no difference between a civil union and a marriage.

My eyes were opened in 2007, when I had to decide whether to support a ban on same-sex marriage in my capacity as mayor of San Diego. Through conversations with friends and supporters, I realized that my position was inconsistent with one of my core principles as a police officer and as mayor, which is that every community deserves to be treated with equal dignity and respect.
Click here to read the rest of the story.

Encouraging Words 1/26/10-Homosexuality and the Bible Part 1 of 5

The first part of a five-part series taught by Rev. J. R. Finney of Covenant Community Church in Birmingham, AL is titled "Understanding Who I Am, Before Tackling What I Am."  We'll have the subsequent installments over the next four days.

Encouraging Music 1/26/10 "Makes Me Want to Shout" by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Matthew 25 Resource 1/26/10-The Greater Boston Foodbank

Mission: To help end hunger in eastern Massachusetts.

To achieve our mission, The Food Bank feeds more than 320,000 people annually in nine counties in eastern Massachusetts. They're poor to middle-class people who can't make ends meet. They're our friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

The Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and one of the largest food banks in the country. We distribute more than 30 million pounds of food and grocery products annually to a network of nearly 600 member hunger-relief agencies. We are a trusted and efficient resource for these local food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless and residential shelters, youth programs, senior centers, and day-care centers, providing the food they need to feed the hungry. Still, the need for food is growing in the 190 communities we serve. That's why we need your help
We acquire food in many ways--food industry product donations, corporate and group food drives, individual food donations, and financial contributions that enable us to buy even more food. The Food Bank receives most of its donated food in partnership with retailers such as Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, Roche Bros., Whole Foods Market, and Shaw's Supermarkets. We actually help retailers solve a major business and environmental problem, accepting large quantities of good food that might have been overproduced, incorrectly labeled or packaged, or that is simply not selling well.

We also receive surplus food from retailers, restaurants, caterers, hotels, corporate cafeterias, and universities through Second Helping, a prepared and perishable foods rescue program. The Food Bank serves as a unique intermediary, a clearinghouse that connects and fulfills the needs of food industry donors, hunger-relief agencies, and, most importantly, our region's hungry citizens.

In addition to Second Helping, The Food Bank offers three other direct service programs targeted at underserved populations. Our Kids Cafes, operated in partnership with local Boys & Girls Clubs, serve nutritious meals five days a week to more than 1,000 disadvantaged children. Our Brown Bag program provides families and seniors with 15-pound, supplemental bags of nutritious groceries once a month. And our Perishables program delivers perishable foods, such as fresh produce and dairy products, to Boston Housing Authority (BHA) developments once a month.
Click here to find out more.

Debate on Transgender Rights in Massachusetts

There is a bill being considered by the Massachusetts state legislature that would help protect transgender people from discrimination.  Local LGBT newspaper Bay Windows published an in-depth report about the ongoing debate.  Here's an excerpt:

Rev. E. Carrington Heath from the United Church of Christ in Provincetown was motivated to lobby due to issues of faith.

"All people are children of God and God loves his children regardless," Heath said. "We are all created equal and this bill just verifies that."

Opponents of the bill say that this bill endangers the general public.

"[This bill] would open all public facilities to which ever gender wants to use them," said Kris Mineau, the president of the Massachusetts Family Institute. "We believe this is not in the public’s best interest."

Mineau said this bill opens doors for sexual predators and the cost of this bill is public decorum. Mineau said the MFI has been very active in opposing this bill and believes the legislature is "well informed" of the consequences of passage.

Christina Knowles, the spokesperson for Mass NOW said this is "completely ridiculous."

"The bill does not allow transgenders to commit crimes," she said about the idea that a male can walk into a female bathroom and molest someone. "Anyone who commits a crime, transgender or not, will be punished."

Daily Devotional 1/26/10 The Heavens, A Testimony of Creator God

From:  Love Worth Finding

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

Can intellectuals believe in God? Absolutely! Many intellectuals believe in God. As a matter of fact, your intellect has very little to do with your belief in God.

Out of all of the secular professional groups, do you know what professional group has the highest number of believers in God? The astronomers do. Over 90% of the world’s great astronomers believe in God. Why? Because they have studied the heavens.

It’s not a sign of intelligence not to believe in God. If you’re intelligent, you have to say, “Somebody created all of this.”

January 25, 2010

Encouraging Words 1/25/10-BCF Praise Report

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm, steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord-always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord- knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile- it is never wasted or to no purpose.

1st Corinthians 15:58 AMP

Greetings BCF Family & Friends!

REJOICE and BE GLAD, AGAIN I SAY, REJOICE! God is moving and blessing His Church in so many awesome and exciting ways in this hour! Garrey and I have just returned from the annual Pastor's Retreat hosted by Joshua Ministries and led by Dennis & Evelyn Schave- down in Houston, Texas. It was more wonderful than we imagined it would be! The love, the fellowship, the meekness of spirit amongst everyone, and the awesome times of worship and discussion/activities prepared by Brother Dennis all ministered to everyone in ways that we can't easily explain. It was just GOOD- like our God! He knew what we all needed, and He made a way. We were especially blessed and recognized what a profound gathering it truly was as we connected and reconnected with parts of the Body of Christ that we haven't seen in a long while or ever met. I am so pleased to report to you of the sincerity of heart, the humility of character, the depth and levels of spiritual maturity, and the evidence of a people who really love Jesus was all present in our leadership. This is the NEW MOVE of God and these are among the many across the world that God has been doing a deep work in to prepare us to guide and equip the Church in these last days before Christ returns. Garrey has a real gift for discernment, and his discerner said, "This is the real thing!" Praise God! So, please continue to pray for the Lord's Five-fold leadership that He is raising up, we truly are a blessed People!

It was great to be back in worship at BCF yesterday. Although attendance was very low, those who attended had a great time together with the Lord.

Pastor Tony in Dallas taught us some wonderful songs at the Pastor's Retreat, so we learned three new ones yesterday- love them, THANKS PASTOR TONY! The Word of the Lord exhorted the Church to continue to be steadfast in our prioritizing the Kingdom of God and fellowshipping together as the Church. God has called each of us to be PILLARS in His House and reminds us that each and every one of us are needed and important in the well-functioning of the Church. Every one of us have an anointing from the Lord and when we don't faithfully DO what He has called us to do, we can stagnate and weaken.

The KEY to remaining steadfast and faithful every day and week to the things of the Lord is A REVELATION OF WHO JESUS CHRIST IS! He is NOT just a good man, He is NOT just a prophet in the Bible, JESUS IS THE ALMIGHTY GOD IN THE FLESH! When we speak of Him being worthy- I believe that each of us need a fresh and BIGGER revelation of exactly what that means! HE IS GOD! When He calls us to His presence for worship-WE MUST RESPOND! When He is present- WE MUST RESPOND! Sometimes we become complacent and forget that we are talking about GOD! That our purpose in gathering for church services is to worship GOD- and when we gather HE IS PRESENT!

HOW SHOULD YOU BEHAVE WHEN GOD IS PRESENT!???! Are you going to sit back on your laurels and not Honor the Lord? Aren't you going to jump up to your feet as though the Queen of England, or a bride in a wedding has just walked into the room? The Lord is DUE all of our honor and worship! My goodness, don't forget WHO we worship and WHO HE IS, and WHAT He has done for you! We need some honest-to-goodness waking up to God! We need some good-'ol PENTACOSTAL HOLY SPIRIT FIRE to shake us up! I guarantee that if Jesus walked into the room of your worship service you wouldn't just sit there! You also wouldn't be all that quiet! You would jump up to your feet and SHOUT PRAISES TO THE LORD! And then....we'd all probably fall flat on our faces in humble adoration!

DO NOT BE COMPLACENT- now is the time to stir up the Gifts and the FIRE of the Spirit in your being! Jesus Christ is coming soon- we ALL know that, so why is it that we all too often act like it's a fantasy and not really going to happen! IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN! Stir yourself up, rededicate your life to Christ, GIVE EXCELLENCE AND THE BEST OF YOURSELF to the Lord! He is WORTHY AND DESERVES IT! Whether any other Believer takes this serious or not- YOU take it serious! I was recently reminded that after Jesus' resurrection, He appeared to 500 people before He ascended to the Father, and He told them all to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come. When the Day of Pentacost finally came, only 120 people bothered to show up!!! Where were the other 380? I guess they were tired, or had to work, maybe it was a rainy day and good sleeping weather, or maybe they just didn't bother to really take Jesus serious- but any way you look at it, THEY MISSED OUT on what God had in store for them- simply because they didn't show up! Are you showing up? Are you really obeying God and His commands? Do you really and genuinely believe that these are the Last Days and the Lord Jesus is coming soon? If so- then ALL THE MORE be steadfast, immoveable, and get busy building God's Kingdom and being a part of the Family of God! That way when you stand before Him, you will hear Him say to you- "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"

We continue to pray for you daily and we sincerely LOVE YOU with the love of the Lord. Keep praying for us, too- we have a lot to accomplish and we need your prayers, your support, and your involvement!

In Faithfulness and Love, and with the blessing of SHALOM!

Ap Dale

How Does Marriage Inequality Affect the Kids?

This morning we posted a story about how kids raised by same-sex couples are "statistically indistinguishable" from those raised by the traditional mother and father.  Those kids are becoming more of a factor in campaigns for equality.  Here is an excerpt from a story about that in the New York Times.  Also included in this article is a typical right-wing response that kids are better off in a traditional family, a statement which was clearly refuted in this morning's post.

While opponents of same-sex marriage worry that schools will teach that gay and straight relationships are equal, many supporters focus on a different, but still child-centered, issue: What about the children now being raised in families headed by gay men and lesbians? How does the lack of marriage benefits for their parents affect them?

In recent years, an increasing number of these children — ranging in age from 10 to nearly 40 — have taken active roles in campaigns organized by Colage (formerly known as Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere), and civil rights groups like Lambda Legal and Glad (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders). Their involvement is helping to change the narrative of same-sex marriage to a story about families from one about couples.

With 31 states having rejected same-sex marriage — most recently in Maine, New Jersey and New York — strategies used by supporters now include projecting a mainstream family image in public opinion campaigns surrounding court battles like the challenge to Proposition 8, the ballot measure that reversed marriage rights for same-sex couples in California. Many gay rights activists think that hearing articulate children of same-sex parents ask why their families should have fewer rights than their neighbors goes a long way toward turning the family values argument on its head. Last week, Chiah Connolly-Ingram, 21, the daughter of a lesbian couple, helped close the rally outside the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco, where Proposition 8 is being challenged. “As the daughter of lesbian moms, I know that children are affected by this decision,” said Ms. Connolly-Ingram, a student at City College of San Francisco and an intern at Colage.

Zach Wahls, a freshman at the University of Iowa whose mothers married this summer in Iowa, one of the few states where same-sex marriage is legal, said in a recent interview: “At the end of the day, it’s really about separate but equal. This isn’t just about lesbian and gay, it’s about tolerance and acceptance.”
Click here to read the rest of the story.

Encouraging Music 1/25/10 "Giving My Best" by Cathedral of Hope Voices of Hope

LGBT Helping Hands 1/25/10-Utah Pride Center (Salt Lake City)

The Utah Pride Center helps to provide GLBT people, their families and friends living in Utah with a vast array of services. Many programs and services are generated through collaborations with other community organizations and allies operating in the broader Utah community. By establishing formal partnerships with various community-based organizations through our affiliate and sponsored programs, the Center is able to bring together the vast resources of the community to one central place. The majority of the Utah Pride Center’s work is currently focused in and around the Wasatch Front.

The Utah Pride Center serves as a hub that links individuals and programs to each other and to the community. The Wasatch Front is rich with organizations and agencies serving specific needs of the GLBT community; and the Center’s goal is to connect them to provide a more unified, holistic approach. Rather than duplicating existing services, the Center works to enhance and promote them, fostering connections among service providers and insuring that people in need can find them. Through the scope of its mission and resources, the Center plays a distinct role to strengthen both individuals and organizations (formal and informal) in Utah’s GLBT community. The Utah Pride Center helps to develop programs that encourage peer leadership and focus on empowering individuals to be active participants in building a shared community.

Click here to find out more.

Does Gender of Parents Matter in Raising Kids? Survey Says...NO

From USA Today:

Children raised by same-sex couples appear to do as well as those raised by parents of both sexes, suggests an international research review that challenges the long-ingrained belief that children need male and female parents for healthy adjustment.

"It's more about the quality of the parenting than the gender of the parents," says Judith Stacey of New York University, co-author of the comprehensive review. It will be published Friday in the Journal of Marriage and Family.
Sociologists Stacey and Timothy Biblarz of the University of Southern California, spent five years reviewing 81 studies of one- and two-parent families, including gay, lesbian and heterosexual couples. "No research supports the widely held conviction that the gender of parents matters for child well-being," they conclude.

"Children being raised by same-gender parents, on most all of the measures that we care about, self-esteem, school performance, social adjustment and so on, seem to be doing just fine and, in most cases, are statistically indistinguishable from kids raised by married moms and dads on these measures," Biblarz says.
Here's some helpful advice for those would denegrate the idea of same-sex couples raising kids--shut up.
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Daily Devotional 1/25/10 Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?

From:  Love Worth Finding

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Genesis 18:14

A little boy was trying to roll a rock as his father watched from a distance. The boy was heaving and sighing, but he couldn’t turn the stone over.

His dad, with a smile said, “Son, are you using all of your strength?” He said, “Yes, Daddy, I’m using all my strength.” And the father said, “No, you’re not because you have not asked me to help you. My strength is your strength.”

Sometimes we wrestle with problems and say, “I don’t know what to do.” Our Father wants us to say, “I’ve run out of my strength,” and run into His. He is there.

There is no problem too big for Jesus to solve.

Do you believe that? I hope so.

Is there a problem too big for you to solve? Give it to Jesus. He can handle it

January 24, 2010

Committee Chairman Could Scuttle DADT Repeal

From the DC Agenda:

Even if President Obama includes a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal as part of his upcoming defense budget request, the language could be yanked by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). (DC Agenda photo by Michael Key)

President Obama is being pressured to include a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal as part of his upcoming defense budget request to Congress, but the response from two key Democrats to such a proposal could hinder any change in the law.

Two lawmakers with considerable sway over defense matters — and whether a repeal will initially be part of the fiscal year 2011 defense budget — are House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

As leaders of the congressional committees that handle defense matters, Skelton and Levin get first crack at determining what’s included in the defense budget after the president sends his base bill to Congress in February. The lawmakers can make changes to the president’s request in their chairman’s marks to the legislation before the rest of Congress takes action.

So if Obama includes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal as part of his defense budget request, it’s possible for either Skelton or Levin to strike the language from the bill if they don’t want it there.
Unfortunately, relying on the courage of congressmen to do the right thing is a very dicey proposition these days.
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From the SNN Library 1/24/10-"Lead Like Jesus"

Ken Blanchard gained notariety when he wrote the book "The One-Minute Manager."  It turns out his faith is at the foundation of his managerial wisdom.

Amazon.com ratings:  19 out of 21 reviews gave it at least 4 out of 5 stars
SNN rating: 4 stars

"The more I read the Bible, the more evident it becomes that everything I have ever taught or written about effective leadership over the past 25 years, Jesus did to perfection. He is simply the greatest leadership role model of all time." -Ken Blanchard

With simple yet profound principles from the life of Jesus and dozens of stories and leadership examples from his life experiences, veteran author, speaker and leadership expert Ken Blanchard guides readers through the process of discovering how to lead like Jesus. He describes it as the process of aligning two internal domains-the heart and the head-and two external domains-the hands and the habits. These four dimensions of leadership form the outline for this very practical and transformational book.

Click here to read user reviews or order a copy of the book from Amazon.com

Welcome to Sunday Worship 1/24/10 God's Faithfulness

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) VIDEO FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM VA-Believers Covenant Fellowship, Vienna, 11:00 AM AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 12:00 AM NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem, 12:00 PM FL-Oasis Fellowship Ministries, Casselberry, 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-Rainbow Community Church, Vancouver 9:00 PM AUDIO 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-Oasis Fellowship Ministries, Casselberry FL-New Hope Christian Center, Pensacola FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa GA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Atlanta GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta 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 Canada-Rainbow Community Church, Vancouver 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-Body of Christ Church of God, Largo FL-New Hope Christian Center, Pensecola GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta KY-Covenant Community Church, Louisville 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 UT-Glory to God Christian Church, Ogden South Africa-Deo Gloria Family Church Can we pray for you? E-mail straight_notnarrow@yahoo.com

Putting Baseless Bigotry On Triai

Part of the strategy of the attorneys leading the case against California's Proposition 8 is to show the hate and mindless bigotry that helped fuel the campaign that got it passed in November.  This AP story via the Miami Herald shows a clear example of that from court testimony:

Hak-Shing William Tam of San Francisco spent five hours testifying Thursday as a hostile plaintiffs' witness to prove that bias toward gays fueled the 2008 campaign to pass the voter-approved measure, known as Proposition 8.

Tam, who was one of five individuals who signed on as official proponents of the ban and whose names appeared alongside ballot arguments for Proposition 8, acknowledged that he subscribes to beliefs about an alleged link between homosexuality and pedophilia posted on the Internet by a Chinese-American Christian group for which he serves as secretary.

"Do you believe that homosexuals are 12 times more likely to molest children?" attorney David Boies asked.

"Yeah, based on the different literature that I have read," Tam replied.