Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Via Sen McGlinn's blog: On conversion therapies for homosexuality, July 7, 2014

[This is a citation from a letter to an individual written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice: dated 7 July, 2014. It was cited, in German, by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Germany. A full text would be much appreciated. ~ Sen]

“Sie haben auch gefragt, ob das Haus der Gerechtigkeit‚wirksame Behandlungen der Homosexualität nennen könnte, die dokumentierte Erfolge aufwiesen. Darüber wird die Wissenschaft zu entscheiden haben, und natürlich haben sich die Ansichten der Mediziner zur Homosexualität im Laufe der Jahre deutlich verändert. Die Frage ist jedoch nicht, ob die sexuelle Ausrichtung geändert werden kann, sondern ob man sich als Bahá’í nach Kräften bemüht, Bahá’u’lláhs Lehren zu folgen. Es bleibt dem einzelnen Gläubigen überlassen zu entscheiden, ob eine Beratung oder ein anderer Ansatz ihm persönlich dabei hilft.”

(Aus einem Brief im Auftrag des Universalen Hauses der Gerechtigkeit an einen einzelnen Gläubigen, 7. Juli 2014)

Sen's English translation:

They also asked whether House of Justice could name any effective treatments for homosexuality, whose success has been documented. This is something that science will have to determine, and of course physicians’ views regarding homosexuality have changed significantly over the years. However, the question is not whether sexual orientation can be changed, but whether one does one’s best, as a Bahai, to follow Baha’u’llah’s teachings. It is left to the individual believer to decide whether a particular kind of counseling, or some other approach, helps him personally.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, July 7, 2014)


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Via JMG: Apple's Tim Cook Tops Out's Power 50 List

Out Magazine today published its ninth annual ranking of the 50 most powerful LGBT people in the United States.  Taking the top spot from last year's list leader, Ellen DeGeneres, is Apple CEO Tim Cook, who formally came out six months ago. Here is this year's top ten:
1. Tim Cook 2. Ellen DeGeneres 3. Rachel Maddow 4. Sen. Tammy Baldwin 5. Anderson Cooper 6. Anthony Romero  7. Chad Griffin 8. Mary Kay Henry 9. Laverne Cox 10. Andy Cohen
Romero is the executive director of the ACLU and Henry is the head of the SEIU. Missing from the list for the second year is closeted homocon blogger Matt Drudge, who ranked at #21 in 2013 and at #16 in 2012. Fellow homocons Peter Thiel and Ken Mehlman appear on this year's ranking at #13 and #41 respectively, with closeted Fox anchor Shepard Smith coming at #20. Also gone this year is recently retired blogger Andrew Sullivan, who ranked at #26 last year. Hit the top link for the full 2015 list.

posted by Joe Jervis

Via Mindful: The Many Meanings of Mindfulness

When we hear "mindfulness" it ought to inspire caring and joy, not just attention.

Photograph by Caleb Roenigk/
By Barry Boyce

Mindfulness is a big deal these days. Now that we’re hearing the word so often in so many contexts, some readers are telling us that it can confuse them. The meaning fuzzes out, and they have a hard time talking to others about it. It’s like breakfast, which covers everything from a granola bar to a Grand Slam at Denny’s. So it may be worth taking some time to consider what mindfulness conjures up in people’s minds when they hear it.

One of the first things to clarify is that the word is doing double duty. For one, it refers to an innate quality or way of being we all have access to that allows us to be fully present, attending to the moment, deeply engaged and yet at peace. Mindfulness also refers to techniques that train our minds to be that way more often. Understanding the difference between the practice and the innate quality is vital. If we don’t, it becomes far too easy to think mindfulness is something possessed by experts and conferred by them on others.

Once you’ve sorted out the confusion between the way of being and the practices to cultivate it, you’re left with the question of how adequate a job this single word can do to describe a quality so elusive, and so wonderful, that it’s like water. How many ways can you describe what water is, and does, and the forms it can take?

To delve into this question, we queried a dozen or so people who teach mindfulness (the practice, not the innate quality) to get their thoughts about the effectiveness of the word.

There was a consensus that mindfulness as an umbrella term for a range of qualities is powerful, but also limited in certain ways. For one thing, Jon Kabat-Zinn and others say, mindfulness also needs to be heartfulness. There’s feeling and caring there, not just cool, distant perception. Being mindful can also mean being aware of causes and effects and responsibilities—up to and including for our whole planet—but there is no mindful ideology that everyone who meditates signs on to.

Others commented that mindfulness can sound like something that takes a lot of work, like mental ditch digging, or that involves being hypervigilant—never misplacing your keys or making a wrong turn. In fact, there’s an ease that comes about as one obsesses less about maintaining storylines that solidly define us in every situation.

Janice Marturano, of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, emphasized that there’s a strong element of aspiration to mindfulness. It’s not something you get once and then have forever. In a similar vein, Michael Chender, who also does leadership training, talked about relaxing into ambiguity or uncertainty, not needing to nail things down in every moment.

Still others were looking for some juice or joy. Mindfulness has a quality of pleasure about it, and connectedness, to other people and your surroundings. It makes things taste better. When you hear a word like chocolate, juices start to flow. The heavy three-syllableness of mindfulness doesn’t capture the pleasure factor. Some suggested that space or flow or presence are qualities that make sense to talk about in the right context.

Tara Healey, of Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, among others, concluded by saying that uncovering mindfulness is a journey. And all the limited ways we think about it come about because we’re asking the word to carry a wide range of meanings. No single definition can cover the whole territory. It’s a territory we discover in moments that go beyond words.

This article also appeared in the February 2015 issue of Mindful magazine.
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Sete Vidas: Luís conta para os filhos que teve duas mães

"Em algumas famílias, todos são da mesma cor. Em algumas famílias, todos são de cores diferentes. Algumas famílias têm...
Posted by Jean Wyllys on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sete Vidas: Luís conta para os filhos que teve duas mães

"Em algumas famílias, todos são da mesma cor. Em algumas famílias, todos são de cores diferentes. Algumas famílias têm madrasta ou padrasto, irmão postiço ou irmã postiça. Algumas famílias adotam filhos, algumas famílias podem ter dois pais e outras famílias podem ter duas mães... Vocês sabiam disso, que uma família pode ter duas mães? Às vezes são dois pais e, às vezes, duas mães.

É um pouco confuso, sim, porque não é assim que acontece na maioria dos casos. Tão confuso que a sua irmã, quando era bem pequenininha, perguntou para a mamãe quem era o avô dela e a sua mãe, com medo que a sua irmã não fosse entender, inventou um avô de mentirinha; foi uma forma que a sua mãe encontrou para adiar o assunto da vovó Vivian, para vocês estarem grandes e entender tudo melhor, como estão agora.

(Não tinha pai), mas eu tive DUAS MÃES. Para mim foi legal (ter duas mães) porque eu tive ESSAS MÃES. Tudo o que uma criança precisa, meu filho - amor, carinho, dedicação - tudo isto eu tinha de sobra. A Estér e a Vivan eram casadas, tipo namoradas, duas mulheres que se amavam muito. A minha família era tão legal que eu nunca podia imaginar que família pudesse ser de outro jeito.

Não importa se quem cuida de você é homem ou mulher, o importante é a pessoa que cuida de você te dar amor e segurança."


Via Human Rights Campaign

J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech | Harvard University Commencement 2008

The Baha'i Faith is Homophobic: The Baha'i faith and LGB issues

From a colelague on FB:

The group, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, believes that all religions have some good and that nearly all religions change their beliefs over time -- generally becoming more tolerant. Here's an observation the group makes about the Bahai Faith and homosexuality. It seems to be a reasonably accurate and pithy summary of the present situation:

The Baha'i Faith and LGB issues

The Baha'i Faith teaches that homosexual behavior is unacceptable among its members. Voting rights of some of their lesbian, gay and bisexual members quite an(LGB) who are out of the "closet" have been suspended; some memberships have been terminated.

The Baha'i faith is in a unique position with regards to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals (LGB's) because:

The last person capable of changing the authoritative interpretation of its holy texts confirmed that homosexual behavior, same-sex marriage, etc. is unacceptable.

He died without naming a successor.

Human sexuality researchers, professional mental health associations, social worker professional associations, and liberal religious groups have reached a near consensus that homosexual and bisexual orientations and behavior are normal and natural for a minority of adults, and that homosexual orientation is unchosen, and unchangeable.

One of the main principles of the Baha'i faith is their respect and adoption of the findings of science.

Thus Baha'i beliefs concerning sexual orientation are quite similar to those of the conservative wings of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other religions. They reject the findings of science on this topic, and they have no mechanism to change their position.

Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do Dia- Flor del Día- Flower of the day 15/04/2015

“Ao avançar e aprofundar nas práticas espirituais, você inevitavelmente começa a enxergar mais claramente as atuações do eu inferior. É a sua dedicação à prática espiritual que te dá essa visão clara. Portanto, esteja atento para não cair na armadilha da mente que te faz acreditar que você está involuindo. Você está apenas podendo perceber coisas que antes não percebia, e a impressão é que a sombra está ficando maior, mas isso não é verdade.”

“Al avanzar y profundizar en las prácticas espirituales, inevitablemente comienzas a ver más claramente las actuaciones del yo inferior. Es tu dedicación a la práctica espiritual lo que te da esta visión clara. Por lo tanto, permanece atento para no caer en la trampa de la mente que te hace creer que estás involucionando. Solo estás pudiendo percibir cosas que antes no percibías, y la impresión es que la sombra se está haciendo más grande, pero eso no es verdad.”

"By advancing and deepening in your spiritual practices, you inevitably begin to see the actions of the lower self more clearly. Your dedication to a spiritual practice gives you this clear vision. So be careful not to fall into the trap of the mind that makes you believe you are going backwards. You're just being able to perceive things now that you couldn’t see before. It may seem as though the shadow is getting bigger, but this is not true."

Via Daily Dharma

The Three Marks of Existence | April 15, 2015

As your mindfulness develops, your resentment for the change, your dislike for the unpleasant experiences, your greed for the pleasant experiences, and the notion of selfhood will be replaced by the deeper awareness of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness. This knowledge of reality in your experience helps you to foster a more calm, peaceful, and mature attitude toward your life.

- Henepola Gunaratana, "Sitting Still"