From the Archives
(March 2005) People are funny today and I suspect it’s because this vacillation between gorgeous spring weather and cold-ass winter days is getting to us all.
First, an editor whispered to me in the local java joint “Ever seen the same student here twice? Me either. I think they’re all really aliens.”
Then, as I was waiting to pay for my coffee, someone behind me said “Excuse me” and someone else replied, “Excuse you? I can’t even explain you.”
And all this before noon!
I’ve also been making carpooling arrangements for an upcoming statewide LGBTQ leadership planning session.
One thing I learned at the last session is that local progressive religious leaders have formed a religious coalition for marriage equality. The MCC pastor who was describing their work said that the coalition came about because local leaders understand that effective movements in the south require religious, political, and legal components.
This group currently includes 250+ pastors and other church leaders, many of whom are straight and all of whom believe that “the most fundamental human right, after the necessities of food, clothing and shelter, is the right to affection and the supportive love of other human beings.”
They oppose “the use of sacred texts and religious traditions to deny legal equity to same-gender couples.” They also strategically place straight white preachers in their media spots.
I grew up way down south in the land of cotton and still have trouble fathoming the fact that many southern metropolitan areas now feature at least a few LGBTQ-friendly Baptist churches. I mean, just ponder that reality for a minute.
The Southern Baptist church I was raised in was so rabid that conservative Christianists can still give me eye tics when they begin talking about their god. In fact, I’ve told more than one such person that I am allergic to their god but the fact of the matter is that I’m allergic to their narrow monochromatic version of god and I get really annoyed when they presume to have the right to tell me what I am supposed to believe.
My father is an enigma to me in many, many ways, but one blessing is that he was a free-thinker in a community that was nearly devoid of philosophical variation and I was the child born with my father’s philosophical bent.
He spent much of his free time reading philosophy and talking about it with me so, even as a child, I believed that the Christians got it all wrong.
God is a verb, not a noun, in my book and she always has been.
Discovering personification only cemented this view in my mind. Jesus is an idea, an ideal, a whispered message reminding us of the importance of recognizing and maintaining a common vibe, a world community, connection. No more high or low, babycakes; we’re all in this stew together—including us LGBTQ folks who frighten the straight-and-narrow Christianists so.
Jesus’s message, to me, is about nurturing these connections and respecting each other and tearing down those artificial walls that divide our common family. This makes much more sense to me than some white-bearded old patriarch sitting up on a cloud somewhere just waiting to punish people for masturbating.
LISTENING TO: Lucernarium: Paravi lucernam Christo meo, performed by Chants De L’Eglises Milanaise
READING: Rodale’s Successful Organic Gardening (springs a’coming!) and re-reading Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Muriel Rukeyser’s Meaning of Poetry