Archive for the 'Being Bulletproof' Category

Dec 31 2009

One More Circle – Reflections on 2009

Published by under Being Bulletproof

Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems like 2009 really just got underway, then Christmas hit me upside the head. Anyone else experiencing that? This year really seems to have flown right by.

I remember when I was kid, it was like Christmas would never come – the months just dragged on. As a child, time just does that – it drags. Kids are eager to celebrate their next birthday. They’re never five or six, they’re five and a half or six and three quarters. They’re always marking time in  ways adults never do. I happen to celebrate anniversaries of my 39th birthday. Next year will be my five year anniversary.

When I reflect on this past year, however, I realize that I have done something I hate more times than I have ever done it before – fly in an airplane. I loathe flying, but because you can’t promote a book without making live, rock-star like, appearances, I have flown on more planes this year than I have ever flown in over the previous 40 some odd years – and believe me, there have been some odd years.

I’ve been everywhere it seems, Canada, California, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio – the list goes on. Over the weeks and months that I flew, however, takeoffs and landings got easier. There really was only one flight that was incredibly bumpy and uncomfortable, and another trip that took nearly 12 hours when it should have taken five, but all in all, I give a thumbs up to our air transportation system.

It hit me this week, though, that right now, each and every one of us is in flight. We’re all aboard a blue and green spaceship, hurtling through the galaxy. Every 365 days we complete our annual circle around the sun – a day we mark with celebration, with a renewed sense of ourselves, with a determination to make the next 365 days the very best that we can.

Sometimes, on this constant flight around the sun, though, I feel like I missed the safety demonstration. Though, before this year’s successful dieting plan, my seat could have certainly served as a floatation device. But, years can be rough on us – the turbulence can knock us around as we experience despair, anger, frustration, loss, or grief in our lives.

The year can also be good to us, like we’re sitting in first class, being served champagne and caviar. The joys, the triumphs, the good fortune, the dreams that come true – they come to us in equal measure throughout each year.

As we fly together on our blue green spaceship we see it all – the hunger and the plenty, the joy and the despair, the triumph and the defeat, the greed and the generosity, the new lives beginning and other lives passing away. Life aboard our spaceship is one of both bitter and sweet, of blessing and curse, of sacred and profane.

What stays consistent is God’s presence through it all – even in those times when we feel like God has abandoned us – God remains present in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the friends and family we love, and even within the very bodies that God has blessed us with.

Breathe deeply.

As we approach this New Year, I invite you to find new ways to connect with the holy and with each other. I invite you to remember that we need one another – because none of us is flying solo on this blue green spaceship called Earth.

Happy New Year!

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May 19 2009

O’Reilly perpetuates gays v. God

Published by under Being Bulletproof

FOX “journalist” Bill O’Reilly, in a recent segment, again played the old media canard of “gays vs. God” – positing that the “Christian vote” would play in favor of Kris Allen winning American Idol over Adam Lambert who “might be gay.” To prove the charge of OMG! being gay – O’Reilly uses pictures of Lambert kissing other guys, but they are cropped so you don’t actually get the image of one guy’s lips touching another guy’s lips. O’Reilly’s show is during some people’s dinnertime after all, and we wouldn’t want mass vomiting around the nation, would we? Really.

Here’s a clip, if you can take it:

In Bulletproof Faith, I consistently argue that this “gays vs. God” is a false dichotomy, because religious arguments against gays and lesbians are not the other side of the issue – even though they may appear to be simply because they protest so loudly.

There is no “other side” to the gay issue anymore than there is another side the issue of whether the earth is round or flat. We know which one is right and those who think the earth is flat are looked upon with derision and pity.

Gay and lesbian people can be just as Christian as any straight person, and I would make a bet that there are plenty of gay Christians out there who are voting for Lambert in this competition. (Full disclosure: I don’t watch Idol, so I don’t really have a dog in the hunt on this one.)

In the end, though, I would hope that anyone who does watch Idol and is voting would vote for someone because they’re talented and is the best person in the competition. I don’t care if they pray at night or climb into bed with a person of the same or opposite gender.

O’Reilly and the rest of the right wing media will simply take any chance available to bash gays and lesbians. But, we know his words are a lie. There are plenty of gay and lesbian Christians out there – and their faith is both bullet – and O’Reilly – proof.

Update: The Advocate has comments from both Allen and Lambert:

Kris Allen: I hope that having the Christian vote does not help with anything. I hope it has to do with the talent and the performance that you give. It’s not about religion and all that kind of stuff.

Adam Lambert: This is a singing competition, not a church thing.

At the risk of interjecting “church” into the mix: Amen!

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Nov 03 2008

Rev. Geoffrey Farrow: Bulletproof Faith

Published by under Being Bulletproof

From time to time, I’ll honor people who are displaying a bulletproof faith in this world. Today’s honoree is Rev. Geoffrey Farrow. He used his pulpit in Fresno, California to come out against Proposition 8 which would ban same-gender marriage in the state.

With California Proposition 8 on the state’s November ballot, and his own bishop urging priests to support the church definition of traditional marriage, Farrow told congregants he felt obligated to break “a numbing silence” about church prejudice against homosexuals.

“How is marriage protected by intimidating gay and lesbian people into loveless and lonely lives?” he asked parishioners of the St. Paul Newman Center. “I am morally compelled to vote no on Proposition 8.”

Then Farrow – who had revealed that he was gay during a television interview immediately before church services – added a coda to his sermon.

“I know these words of truth will cost me dearly,” he said. “But to withhold them . . . I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian people not only of their civil rights but of their human dignity as well.”

And it did cost him dearly: he has been removed as the priest at St. Paul Newman Center and could be defrocked.

What makes his faith completely bulletproof, however, is what he did before the sermon – he came out, telling a reporter that he was gay.

Farrow became a priest 23 years ago and has worked in several California parishes. A graduate of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, he served as an Air Force chaplain, stationed during the early 1990s at Edwards Air Force Base.

Farrow, who said he realized he was gay in boyhood, never revealed his sexual orientation to anyone. He told his parents only four years ago.

“This was the secret I was going to take to my grave,” he said.

That changed when he received a June 30 “pastoral letter” from Steinbock’s office in which the bishop condemned the California Supreme Court’s ruling in May legalizing same-sex marriage, and supported the passage of Proposition 8. The bishop compared the court’s action to efforts by Nazi Germany and the Communist regimes in Russia and China to alter family arrangements.

Farrow said he knew his comments would cause an uproar. He started to pack up his office the night before he was scheduled to give his address.

Steinbock said in his disciplinary letter that he had no choice but to suspend Farrow, and he hinted that other penalties could follow, including defrocking him.

Farrow has stood strong in the face of institutional church bigotry. He is an example of what it means to have a bulletproof faith. Please pray for Rev. Farrow – that God uses him powerfully from this point forward so his sacrifice is not in vain.

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