Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Via JMG: Today's Dear Abby Column

Pauline Phillips, the original "Abigail Van Buren," died last year at the age of 94.  Here is today's advice from her daughter Jeanne Phillips, who has written the column since 2002.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I relocated to Florida a little over a year ago and were quickly welcomed into our new neighbors' social whirl. Two couples in the neighborhood are gay -- one male, one female. While they are nice enough, my husband and I did not include them when it was our turn to host because we do not approve of their lifestyle choices. Since then, we have been excluded from neighborhood gatherings, and someone even suggested that we are bigots! Abby, we moved here from a conservative community where people were pretty much the same. If people were "different," they apparently kept it to themselves. I don't feel we should have to compromise our values just to win the approval of our neighbors. But really, who is the true bigot here? Would you like to weigh in? -- Unhappy in Tampa
DEAR UNHAPPY: I sure would. The first thing I'd like to say is that regardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person's sexual orientation isn't a "lifestyle choice." Gay people can't change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual. From where I sit, you may have chosen the wrong place to live because it appears you would be happier in a less integrated neighborhood surrounded by people who think the way you do. But if you interact only with people like yourselves, you will have missed a chance for growth, which is what you have been offered here. Please don't blow it.
More than 30 years ago, Pauline said the same thing, but a bit more succinctly.

Reposted from Joe Jervis

Via HimalayaCrafts / FB:

The mind is everything. - Buddha

The Fire Tablet (music by Arlen Yanch)

Response to a Post on BUD: I have some observations...

Response to a Post on BUD

I have some observations... 
I won’t apologize if my mixture seems a bit rich, or harsh to some here. The time for politeness is over. This need for Baha’is to be condescending or tell others to “firm up your covenant” and to constantly school us here
over and over about the writings, that trust me we all went to first… is over. I have a reasonable expectation here to be treated just as fairly in a Baha’i community as I am in the real world. It astonishes me that Baha’is do not see this. 

There are GLBT people that have every right to be in this religion and expect that that this homophobia should stop. As for me, I have been misled, lied to by important people and institutions, spied upon, that if this had occurred in my professional life I could have sued and retired a very happy healthy and free man. I once let this happen in hopes that I could just hide under a rock, but they came after me anyway. 

In so doing, I have noticed a phenomenon when Baha’is encounter the GLBTs in their community; I am ashamed to say that once I was there as well. I wish I could write as well about these things as others here can and do, so please bear with me. There are stages… or Valleys if it were:

1. Throw the book at them. At this stage the well-meaning but very fanatical and conservative Baha’i throws every possible quote, paragraph, writing at the GLBT. They labor under the misbelief that if the GLBT just reads one more special paragraph or prayer they will be “cured” and that they will miraculously turn straight. That if you question anything your covenant thingy is infirm... 

2. Be kind but firm with them. Not sure to me if this is less or more harsh, this is where the Baha’is are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They pretend to be a friend, they may even treat GLBT colleagues at work “nicely”. But if you are a seeker or become a Baha’i they quickly, perhaps subtly, question your “firmness in the covenant” or even question why you are so angry? They will never include an actual GLBT Baha’i in the dialogue, just those that seek to cure us, thus making the Faith look absurd from the outside. And then when you stand up, and begin to publically ask questions they ask you why then are you a Baha’i? Or suggest that there is something amiss with your covenant thingy.... This is where they ask you if you don’t agree, with what they, the institutions or the writings have to say then why you are a Baha’i? 

All these groups are dishonest, inadequate, hostile and violent in their own way towards GLBT people – they will not include GLBT Bs in the dialogue, they will inform on you, they do not allow for you to express your anger or frustration, and eventually they show you the door if you do not agree with them. They will not change or open their hearts. They just judge. They kick you out, but expect you to reform, to change, to return to a community that will never ever accept you anyway now because it is mired in antiquated homophobia that the institutions allow and support.

On the other side there seems to be pattern I have seen as well… most GLBT Baha’is do some of this:
Many cower, are ashamed, try, try, try to live like the person in Number 1 above wishes us to do, they fail frequently and eventually leave the Faith. Others live double lives, they marry, and play dangerously on the side because they have been terrorized into thinking that if they must put on a show all is well, yet eventually they find it is impossible, or end of living double lives, and not really part of either world. They buy into the homosexuality is sickness, and remain sick. Because this is what the Faith calls - CURED! Others attempt to make sense of this, they come in contact with healthy outstanding GLBT members and friends of other religions that despite having practically the very same teachings and rules on homosexuality, have made an all-inclusive community anyway. They probably visit these communities with their friends and begin to see a different world, where GLBT people are welcomed and encouraged to become healthy, happy citizens. And in so doing begin to ask the Baha'is why we can't do this as well? Or, they disappear all together
So it is, after living years in Os States (I was born there, pioneered to Central America, went to grad school there, worked 22 yrs there, tried being married, have an amazing son, and gave countless hours of service before I was lied to and then shown the door after marrying the man of my life). Comparing homophobic Baha’i cultish response to GLBT people to how many other religious communities behave, causes me to ask WTH (heck or Hidalgo as someone said) Baha’i Faith is just that.Is this constant berating of GLBT Baha’is doing any of us any good? Is ignoring our pain and frustration doing anyone any good? Is this constant throwing the writings at each other doing any good? 


Is it including all of us in dialogue? Is it allowing all of us to be part of your community, in an open welcoming accepting manner? Or are we to continue this outdated, backward homophobic response and keep those terrible, sick weak in the covenant GLBT people out of our Feasts, Firesides, and communities? Sorry, but it really is time that all Baha’is grow a set, mature and realize that there are GLBT people everywhere, and we are not going away, and that we are not scary, immoral evil people, but can and should be included in all aspects of this messed up but beautiful religion. What possible harm would my happy, healthy family be to your nice little polite feast or fireside? So yeah, WTH BF?

Via Tricycle Daily Dharma

Tricycle Daily Dharma February 19, 2014

Abandoning the Transactional Mindset

Even in close relationships, spending time with a friend, even while helping others or doing other good works, if your attention is on what you are feeling, on what you are getting out of it, then you see these relationships as transactions. Because your focus is on how you are feeling, consciously or unconsciously you are putting yourself first and others second. This approach disconnects you from life, from the totality of your world.
- Ken McLeod, "Forget Happiness"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through February 20, 2014
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