The Visit…

I have to start by stating I claim no superior knowledge or insight into the GLBT world.  While I have many friends who were born gay and live healthy, loving, and productive lives, there is a limit in my ability to understand fully the struggles and challenges society exerts.  What there isn’t a limit to is my ability to accept and welcome people today into my small circle of existence irrespective of where they are on life’s journey.

Fortunately, these dear friends have allowed me to ploddingly ask questions about their humanity, showing such patience and willingness to let a clumsy seeker gain a small foothold in what it means to be a homosexual.  The stories I hear devastate me.  The pain and anguish thrust upon these sons and daughters by parents, clergy, as well as extended family and friends is in a word, horrendous.

As a brief bit of background, had I not gone through a period of deep rejection as fallout over my divorce that likewise caused me great sadness and isolation, I may have never have come to see pain that others share and live in each and every day.  For many, pain is a passing period of great grief that dissolves over time and while maybe not forgotten, an ability to function meaningfully does develop.  But what if the pain were never to stop, never release, instead only compound?  Hope that some day there will be a light that leads one away from this bondage but only seems to stay forever darkened.

Where is that safe place?  Where do they go for respite?  Where does the world slow down enough to allow them to catch their breath?

Much is made of what would Jesus look like if he came to earth and walked among us.  People spend time in debate over how Jesus would honor certain groupings and assimilate with others while rejecting and castigating those the loving faithful seem to dislike.  Personally, I haven’t a clue what Jesus would do, but I do have a hunch.  I would bet he would come back as one so isolated and cast out, one so despised by society, one so unwelcome, unwanted, and unlikeable to the masses that he would be overlooked and missed completely.  Like a friend said, wouldn’t it be like Jesus to come back and walk among us a transgendered individual?  What other person reflects so much of what society rejects?  Wasn’t it the excluded who Jesus chose to spent his time while walking among us?

Imagine my surprise when Jesus sat down next to me at church this past Sunday.  Found so much happiness watching others offer a greeting to our guest as well.  I think he felt welcome, he must have felt safe here maybe even among soon to be friends for when the offering was presented he shared his gift like all the others.  Everyone needs a place they can call home and just be themselves, I hope this community becomes that to him.  For my part, made damn sure s/he felt welcome, for its not everyday you have such an encounter.   Glad Jesus felt comfortable enough to visit our church.  Hope we see him/her again real soon.

My prayer is that I forever seek the promise of love embodied in all.  Seeing no person as less than or lacking, instead fostering a desire for unity of our common souls chasing the promise of hope fleshed out in the life of our Christ.

Dear Mr. Deer…

Your delicate prance through the lawn, my fescue playing a bit part

in the bounty available to a lover of natures provision.

Ears on full alert, listening for the slightest disturbance.

Eyes focused on the prize, the luscious verdant awaiting its turn.

Head now at attention…what is that sound?

Tail flicks alerting others of concern.

Natures question with only one right answer.

Sprint away, give no room for harm, Or,

live for the moment and rejoin the feast.

Become fully aware Mr. Deer.

Season of Zen…

Lying in the grass, eyes towards the heavens.

Tranquility heralds the afternoon sun,

the breeze a perfect dance partner to the fall leaves.

Squirrels scamper about preparing for cooler climes,

a yellow butterfly floats to my side.

The aroma of a nearby fireplace, the pageantry of colors marking autumns arrival.

Take your bright spring, warm summer or even blanketing winter, keep them all

they hold no place dear to my heart.

I’m saving myself for the one I truly love, that one is fall.

Homemade Wine…

The corks conceal the treasure this day,

anticipation of the grape, it’s prized offering flowing freely.

Temptation to unwrap natures present early is a daily fight,

as a child’s desire beneath a sparkling tree.

The preparation by one’s own hands,

of such a bounty, ready to share.

Seeing the bottles stacked high and far,

accepting the dust as a friend.

In time my gift will bring pleasure,

but waiting is a bitch.

A Toast…

The condition of the heart matters.  No, it really, really matters.

If one is so inclined the bible is a vast playground of defense for just about any type of manufactured behavior, both implied good and outright bad.  Centuries of misuse have divided and enslaved humanity both physically and spiritually, separating basic dignities from those needing such.  Sadly, this same book of hope, peace, and acceptance is being used to further isolate and traumatize the weak, ignored, and abused of our society.  In the depths of my heart I’m deeply saddened by the negative direction the evangelical church is taking with it’s militaristic and political overtones.  God have mercy.

As an amateur winemaker I’ve come to understand and appreciate the process of racking wine in the differing stages of fermentation necessary to produce a delicate finish.  Each time the wine is racked (transferred to another holding container) the lees is removed from the fermenter.  The lees is the unwanted sediments found on the bottom of the barrel that takes away from the quality of the finished product.  With wine, the more rackings that are done, the finer the quality of the wine.  With people in the church, this analogy doesn’t hold true, in fact it’s just the opposite.  Each time the church tries to refine itself and make the institution more pure, it lessens the end product and by no means improves it.

People are not like lees which can just be thrown out and forgotten.  Even if they are considered bottom of the barrel by some, there is a basic goodness in all that has to be valued and considered.  The church is well on it’s way to refining itself into uselessness with little or no social impact.  How can this institution be taken seriously by anyone other than the select few who claim themselves holy or good enough to be included.

Consider this beautiful prayer of St. Francis of Assisi…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love. Where there is injury . . . pardon. Where there is doubt . . . faith. Where there is despair . . . hope. Where there is darkness . . . light. Where there is sadness . . . joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled . . . as to console, To be understood . . . as to understand; To be loved . . . as to love, For It is in giving . . . that we receive. It is in pardoning . . . that we are pardoned, It is in dying . . . that we are born to eternal life.

Raise your glass and join me in a toast…To Love, and the true practice thereof.