Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why The Church Should Save Time And Apologize To The LGBTQ Community Now


Sooner or later it’s going to happen. It always does.

History teaches us that eventually justice comes where injustice has reigned for so long, and with it too so do the oppressors’ apologies to those who they’ve victimized. This is true of nations, governments, institutions, corporations, and individuals.

And so often these expressions of culpability and regret arrive posthumously, when many generations who deserve to hear them have long passed, when they cannot benefit from the admissions of those who’ve hurt them. Restoration for these folks, is impossible. 

That’s precisely why the Christian Church needs to apologize to the LGBTQ community and those who love them now, and save so much any unnecessary future suffering.

Though many of us have already figured it out, I believe that day is indeed coming when all Christians will realize just how terrible we as an entity have been to gay people, when we come to grips with our misplaced focus on sexuality, when we’ve properly fathomed the cost of our conduct and fully realize the terrible damage we’ve done to the queer community in the name of God. In that day, we as a Church will be contrite and remorseful and with great sincerity we’ll ask them for forgiveness.

And for so many good, loving, faithful LGBTQ people and their families who’ve been the recipients of our systemized and sanctioned bigotry and fear—it will be too little, too late.

The Church should be brave enough to speak now; those of us within it who are presently committed to diversity without caveat or condition or prerequisite—or delay. We who claim Christ and who believe the Church cannot fully reflect him until it loves all people well, need to say such things loudly and clearly in these moments.  A generation needs and deserves to hear that they are equally loved and valued, not after a lifetime of unnecessary heartache, but to prevent one.

Martin Luther King Jr. was right, the arc of history does bend toward justice, and right now we’re in the middle of such grand, undeniable movement; in Supreme Court decisions and denominational shifts, in local congregations and high-profile spiritual leaders. Most importantly, this beautiful revolution is happening in the very hearts of millions of Christian people who desire a Church that better represents them. If this includes your heart, may this conviction move from there to reach your voice and hands as well.

To those whose eyes are fully open to what God is doing in the world, we can see that day just off in the distance.

We’re surely heading toward a time when all people regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation can worship unfettered and without restriction; where LGBTQ Christians are simply welcomed and celebrated in their communities of faith. While to some, this kind of radical hospitality feels unprecedented and seems radical, Jesus showed us this way two thousand years ago. His ministry was expectation-destroying and scandalous, and startling in its openness to all people and its refusal to cater to the elite, powerful insiders. It sanctioned none of the moral gatekeeping and bullying and segregating and barrier-building that has marked so much of Christianity’s recent history.

The Church then, needs not so much to move forward by abandoning tradition, as it needs to look back and recover the heart of the Christ which is the tradition; one we’ve discarded for decades, in favor of a manufactured culture war over sexuality and sky-is-falling hyperbole over LGBTQ inclusion in the Church. It has been a costly, wasteful, violent diversion from Jesus’ vision for the world, and Christians’ place in it as physical manifestations of his compassion and goodness and mercy.

We need to claim ownership of this, apologize for it, and repent of it—and the reasons are quite simple:

We’re wasting time. Generations of people are being born and living in deep and urgent need of all sorts, and we’re allowing the Church to be largely consumed by a battle that doesn’t rid the world of the smallest bit of hunger or poverty or injustice or war or hatred or greed or suffering, but only promotes division and perpetuates damage to people who are seeking to willingly come alongside the Church (or to live peaceably away from it).

We’re obscuring the message. People outside of the faith (and many within it) are weary of our seeming preoccupation with people’s bedrooms and body parts, and realize just how inconsequential it all is in view of the massive adversity we face in this life, the greater needs of our shared humanity, and the priceless opportunities we have to build something beautiful together. The Church’s focus on issues of sexuality has simply caused us to lose the plot.

I realize there are many people of deep faith reading this, and you still hold an orthodox understanding of sexuality. You are still carrying the teaching you have grown up immersed in and you see the idea of apology to the gay community as a willful rebellion against God. I can only tell you that I wish for greater things for you. I pray that you one day see what so many of us are seeing as we too seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus; that we have really missed the mark and squandered precious time and lives in the process.

And to you who do see, I say again, be loud. Speak the words you feel compelled to speak, because I assure you there are people all around you in your faith communities and homes and workplaces who feel exactly what you feel and who are waiting on someone else to say it first. So say it.

Once communities evolve to embrace greater civil rights for all people and become more inclusive, they rarely go backwards unless overcome by some irrational prejudice or fear. We as the Church are not moving toward a place of less affirmation of the LGBTQ community, but a place where this will eventually be a non-issue; where the gifts and inherent value of all people are the given that we move forward in.

Until that day, in these moments may we as the Church learn from our history regarding the treatment of people of color and of women, and may we be prophetic enough to see where we are headed and act now with boldness and Grace. For the LGBTQ people and those who love them who share this very time and space and breath with us, let our learning (and our apology) not come posthumously. 

There is great living to be done together.

Make the jump here to read the original article and more


Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do dia - Flor del día - Flower of the day 04/11/2015

“Quando você se torna 100% responsável por tudo o que acontece na sua vida, você erradica do seu sistema um dos mais profundos vícios: o vitimismo. E Um dos principais produtos da ideia da vítima é a ingratidão. Estando tomado por ela, você não consegue enxergar as oportunidades que a vida oferece; tudo é visto pelo lado negativo e se torna motivo para reclamação. A vítima é incapaz de agradecer. E é da ingratidão que nascem os pactos de vingança e os jogos de acusação. Essa é uma das raízes da guerra.”

“Cuando te vuelves 100% responsable por todo lo que sucede en tu vida, erradicas de tu sistema uno de los vicios más profundos: el victimismo. Y uno de los principales productos de la idea de la víctima es la ingratitud. Al estar tomado por ella, no puedes ver realmente las oportunidades que la vida ofrece; todo es visto por el lado negativo y se convierte en motivo de reclamo. La víctima es incapaz de agradecer. Y es de la ingratitud que nacen los pactos de venganza y los juegos de acusación. Esta es una de las raíces de la guerra.”

“When we become 100% responsible for everything that happens in our lives, we eradicate one of the deepest vicesfrom our systems: victimhood. A leading consequence of the idea of victimhood is ingratitude. When we are taken over by the victim, we are unable to see all the opportunities life has to offer. Everything is looked atpessimistically and in turn becomes a reason to complain. The victim is incapable of having gratitude, and this lack of gratitude gives birth to pacts of revenge and games of accusation. This is one of the root causes of warfare.”

Satsang completo no link a seguir:

Via FB:

Via Michelangelo Signorile/ Huffington: How Houston Was Lost: Prop 8 Redux as LGBT Rights Are Put on the Ballot

Political strategists warned LGBT activists in the days ahead of the vote: There was little Spanish-language outreach, no big ad buy in Spanish-language media -- in a city that is 44% Hispanic -- countering the lies of the opposition, who'd certainly been doing their own outreach. Monica Roberts, a long-time African-American transgender activist, warned of little outreach in the black community, which makes up 24% of the city. There was little emphasis by the LGBT rights coalition on the terrible economic impact that a "no" vote to equality would have on the city -- something else that political strategists warned was lacking in their campaign as well. And no ads by LGBT rights proponents held the equal punch that the nasty hate ads embodied. Instead, they overwhelmingly ran nicey-nice ads about good neighbors and equality and human dignity. 

And so, it wasn't a shock, really, that the vote wasn't even close last night. LGBT rights were clobbered, hammered, devastated in the city of Houston by voters, as the Houston Equal Right Ordinance (HERO) was repealed. 

Make no mistake, though HERO protected 15 classes of people against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations -- groups from African-Americans and women to veterans and disabled people -- the ordinance was always cast as a gay rights measure. That's because it included LGBT people and was spearheaded by Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian who signed it into law in 2014, and anti-gay opponents, who've always demonized Parker in ugly ways, latched on to that. And in recent months those opponents recast HERO specifically as "The Bathroom Ordinance," via television ads, narrowly focusing on transgender equality and the right of transgender women to use a public rest room, but preying on public fears and misinformation.

That recasting -- that control of the message on a budget that dwarfed that spent by gay groups -- was so effective that, as so many in Houston and outside reporters have told us, many average people interviewed on the street thought the ordinance was all about allowing "men" to use women's rest rooms.

LGBT activists argued until they were blue in the face that every other major city in Texas had such a broad ordinance, as did 200 other large cities across America -- and Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. -- but that argument held no weight against the lies of the "bathroom" ads. The opposition ran a hideous but enormously effective attack campaign warning people that their daughters would be molested by men dressing as women in public rest rooms. 

LGBT rights groups were led later in the campaign by the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, whose president, Chad Griffin, told Dominic Holden of Buzzfeed that this was the group's biggest foray into a local ordinance, with 34 staffers on the ground. The coalition HRC led, Houston Unites, which also included the ACLU of Texas, with all of its money and star power, never effectively hit back against the lies with a powerful, biting rejoinder exposing the haters. They didn't even respond in a clear way to the bathroom lie itself, running only one ad to counter it.

The first problem of course -- and some in the coalition, on the defensive, are relying on this as their post-loss spin -- is that equal rights should not be on the ballot. That was something forced by the Texas Supreme Court-- all elected right-wing Republicans -- after opponents of HERO took it to court when they didn't get enough signatures to get it on the ballot. It was a horrifying example of judicial fascism, like something out of Iran.

That said, similar efforts to repeal ordinances, both state and local, can be put on the ballot in many other places in even easier ways. LGBT activists have been successful -- or perhaps lucky -- in a few recent attempts in the past. But the Houston win by anti-LGBT forces puts the wind at their sails. 

They will take these ads -- including the one depicting a man following a little girl into a bathroom stall -- on the road, and maybe even try to use them in a push at a federal law, just in time to use it to drive religious conservatives to the polls in a presidential election year. The so-called First Amendment Defense Act was introduced in Congress this year by Republicans specifically to allow for religious exemptions to LGBT rights, and you better believe Republicans in Congress and around country are looking at the effectiveness of the Houston anti-LGBT campaign. 

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in fact heralded the Houston vote as a win for religious freedom: ""Houstonians' religious freedom, freedom of speech, and the right to petition their government have won the day, but much more work remains to be done to safeguard these freedoms across the nation."

So, we had better break out of victory blindness -- that hazy, heady whirl people are experiencing after one man on the Supreme Court sided with us (while he sides with the right on issues of equality for other groups), making us believe we've arrived when in fact we're still hated by enough people for this to happen. We've got to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. What happened last night is reminiscent of the battle over Proposition 8 in California. 

The anti-gay side focused on harm to children, activating irrational fear deep inside people's brains regarding homosexuals. There was no counterpunch, as in Houston, where ads did not powerfully take on the hate mongers. And there was no outreach to specific communities of color that the opponents were hitting with distorted hate messages.

So Houston was very much Prop 8 redux. LGBT rights activists spent 3 million to 4 million dollars -- while opponents spent about a million dollars -- bringing in people like Sally Field to make appeals, and using other Hollywood celebrities in ads. They got President Obama and Hillary Clinton to speak out, and thought that was going to clinch it. It had the feel to many of a top-down, elite campaign -- outsiders swooping in to tell Houston what is good for it -- instead of being deeply embedded on the ground, in the communities that were voting, including in their media, where the opposition surely was doing their dirty work. There's only so much Sally Field can do, though we all love her and thank her for the help. Right now we need new leadership, and a better plan, or we're doomed to see this again.

Today's Daily Dharma: Power of Conviction

Power of Conviction
You have to work at your sense of conviction. ... Like someone lost in the forest, if you're not really convinced that there's a way out, you give up very easily. You run into a thicket here, a steep cliff there, and it just seems way too much. But if you're convinced there's got to be a way out, you've heard of other people who've made their way out, you think, "It's got to be in here someplace." You keep looking, looking, looking. And finally you see how the other people made their way out: "Oh. That
was the path they took."
—Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "Power of Conviction"
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