Thursday, January 17, 2013

Via Give a Damn Campaign / FB:

Via 2012 Healing the Planet 2012 / FB:

2012 Healing the Planet 2012 shared a photo:
"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself." 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh  ~

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself."  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

With Bows of Gratefulness to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States:

Once again on Facebook and other venues, there have been a number of interesting discussions about GLBT people and their incorporation in the Bahá’í Faith. 

Unfortunately nothing is new – the conservatives continue to point out to those of us who already know that the writings say this or that, and appear to have free reign to spew their nonsense (essentially reminding us that we are not welcome). Though they will never really say so, because hiding their disgraceful homophobia behind a wall of the Sacred Writings, appears to give them power and weight. Instead they increasingly engage readers in the same tired discourse related to why the Faith cannot change (which I interpret why they do not want it to change). Meanwhile most of us GLBT folks, friends and family try to engage in other possibilities, trying to show that many other religious communities have found a way to ignore the very same teachings, and are welcoming GLBT people. But alas…

All of this has allowed me to recognize the “wisdom” of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States in removing my rights as a Bahá’í. In some unintended way, they have given me the opportunity to speak out fearlessly (what do I have to loose now?); investigate alternative truths and embrace Buddhism; to really come to question the need for organized religion at all; and even for the first time in my life question the actual existence of god him/herself…

This officially sanctioned homophobia by the Bahá’í leadership and majority of the Bahá’ís themselves, was for me, the final nail in the coffin  --no women on the UHJ was a major one, birth control, length of your hair, and some other weird and funky rules the Aqdas appears to be ready to implement -- that until then I was willing to forgo, and I like others accepted the official answer for etc… but now seeing that the shunning of science, reason and any sense of compassion for GLBT people is official, my concerns for all sorts of other oddities in the Faith opened up.  And the Faith looks like a cult or at best, silly, irrelevant and terribly sad…

To be honest, before having been defrocked, I was probably headed this way anyway… I had pretty much had it with the Bahá’ís in my community. I had made a couple of visits to the Shrines in Israel to pray and reflect and was treated coldly. Their officially sanctioned homophobia accelerated a process that I rather think was underway within anyway. So ian a funny way, their disgraceful act of showing me the door only allowed me to escape their cage.  A Fulbright research trip to Nepal and encounter with the Sacramento Buddhist Mediation Group confirmed what I was looking for -- a home, a refuge a sangha, that no Bahá’í Community has ever offered me. 

Removing my status as a member of the Bahá’í community unless I undergo some sort of treatment and divorce my husband, I think was intended to be a form of punishment for being a happy, open, and honest gay man.  But I rather think it has had the opposite effect, it has liberated me, made hundreds of people I know and love turn away from a religion that once held such promise, that once was held up to be progressive, loving and tolerant, and has shown the world that the Faith actually is no better than many of the other homophobic religions or cults it seeks to compete with.

So it is I offer bows of gratefulness to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States; may they liberate more and more people as time goes on!


Via Buddhism on Beliefnet:

Daily Buddhist Wisdom

The true principle is that even reality is not really real, and even falsehood is not unreal. It is not something calculable. Like space, it cannot be cultivated. If any intellectual fabrication occurs in the mind, then it is governed by measurements. This is like divination signs they are governed by metal, wood, fire, and earth. It is also like sticky glue; the kind demon can grab you, stuck in five places, and go home freely.
- Pai-chang

Sean Chapin - "Just Believe" (an It Gets Better song)

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma January 17, 2013

Our Highest Intentions

No matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can always set our compass to our highest intentions in the present moment. Perhaps it is nothing more than being in a heated conversation with another person and stopping to take a breath and ask yourself, 'What is my highest intention in this moment?' If you can have enough awareness to take this small step, your heart will give you an answer that will take the conversation in a different, more positive direction.
- Jack Kornfield, "Set the Compass of Your Heart"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through January 18th, 2013
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Marriage Equality USA Op-ed: Dear Conservative Christians: It's OK to Evolve on LGBT Equality

Advocate op-ed on the selection and withdrawal of a pastor to give the benediction at the inauguration, and replacement by an LGBT-affirming Episcopalian priest.

"...We do live in a society that should welcome vibrant discourse on a variety of subjects. But when it comes to affirming the human dignity of an individual, there is no room for compromise. It’s not up for discussion.

"That’s why, on second glance, something was very wrong with the initial selection. The problem was not merely a difference of opinion on an 'issue,' but rather, that the prayer to our nation would be offered by a man who might not fully affirm the human dignity of all Americans.

"...Christianity does not have to be exclusive of LGBT equality, and when it is, people are leaving the church.

"...As public opinion shifts, churches that do not fully affirm LGBT people will leave many in their flock behind. Scripture that is void of compassion is merely words, and our ability to have compassion for every human being is critical to our faith and in an increasingly diverse world.

"...The exclusion of Reverend Giglio is not a matter of banishing conservative theology from the public square; it is a matter of the public demanding more from our churches — more compassion, more understanding, and more dialogue about our biblical texts.

"While I have and continue to appreciate the president’s efforts to reach across the aisle, it is clear that his inaugural committee initially missed the mark on this one. It isn’t a problem to have an evangelical conservative give the benediction, but at the very least, a pastor who blesses our nation must fully affirm the human dignity of all Americans — that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans."