Monday, June 27, 2011

Pastors' Conversation video available

New Direction's livestream "Pastors' Conversation" video is now available here. Thanks, Wendy Gritter!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York beats California to it

This is something I wish our California state legislature had done instead of allowing us all to get dragged through that nasty 2008 battle over Prop. 8, in which the side that spooked the most voters with shameless, bald-faced lies prevailed. I don't know why I've remained a registered Republican all this time--I suppose it's because I could never feel politically at home with the Democrats. But today I can be a proud RINO in view of this Republican-led effort to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. Interestingly, CBS News reports that a critical factor was that two fence-sitting Republican senators, one of whom opposed an almost identical marriage equality bill in 2009, turned in yes votes in the end.
Ultimately, gay couples will be able to marry because of two previously undecided Republicans from upstate regions far more conservative than the New York City base of the gay rights movement.

Sen. Stephen Saland, 67, voted against a similar bill in 2009, helping kill the measure and dealing a blow to the national gay rights movement. On Friday night, gay marriage supporters wept in the Senate gallery as Saland explained how his strong, traditionally family upbringing led him to embrace legalizing gay marriage.

"While I understand that my vote will disappoint many, I also know my vote is a vote of conscience," Saland, of Poughkeepsie, said in a statement to The Associated Press before the vote. "I am doing the right thing in voting to support marriage equality.

Also voting for the bill was freshman Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican who also had been undecided. Grisanti said he could not deny anyone what he called basic rights.

"I apologize to those I offend," said Grisanti, a Roman Catholic. "But I believe you can be wiser today than yesterday. I believe this state needs to provide equal rights and protections for all its residents," he said.
Some of these senators have put their careers on the line to cast this vote, and I don't expect it will turn out well for them. No doubt many longtime, liberal supporters of gay marriage will look at these Republicans and say, "Well, duh! It's about time!" Yet as a conservative supporter of civil same-sex marriage, I know what it's like to experience that dawning upon your conscience, when everything you once thought to be true and right is being challenged within your own mind, and you realize that this new idea which you once opposed is actually more true to your sense of morality and decency than your former position. It is an unsettling and frightening realization, particularly when you picture yourself trying to explain how you came to this "new moral conviction" that also happens to take sides with the half-naked guys parading down Castro Street with nothing on but their nipple rings and leather jock straps. Can't wait to get up in front of everyone and make a speech about this one.

Speaking of which, you are now faced with a choice. It would be so easy to hide what's going on inside your own mind and heart. If you did, you can keep your religious conservative friends, all the people who love and respect and support you; and if you're a senator these are the people to whom you owe your political career. Or you can dare to be "wiser today than yesterday," as Sen. Grisanti said, and risk losing everything. Hats off to those senators who dared. Whatever happens to them in the future, I trust that today they are at peace with themselves.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calling all gay Christians

If you're a gay Christian, here's a project you may want to consider participating in. Straight Christian writer/blogger John Shore is planning to publish a collection of personal stories by gay Christians that communicate what they wish straight evangelicals knew about them. It is similar to the idea behind Shore's earlier book, What Non-Christians Want Christians to Hear*, except it will be what gay Christians want straight Christians to hear. Shore explains all the details in his post. Here's an excerpt:
If you’re an LGBT Christian who would like evangelical Christians to hear your story, here’s your chance. Write your story in the first person. Try to keep it under 1500 words. (Eight hundred words is about ideal. But basically just use however many words you need; we can later adjust the length if necessary.) Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or any of that sort of thing; I can edit it for you. (And I’ll certainly get your okay on all edits before publishing your testimony.) I don’t care how well “written” your story is; I just want your raw, true, and heartfelt. 
The stories in the collection will presented anonymously. Identity-wise, all I need from you is two initials, and whatever city you (want to say you)  live in — same as in the bylines for What Non-Christians Want Christians to Hear.  
Submit your story to me either via my “Contact Me” page, or by email to: john [AT] johnshore [DOT] com. Sending me your story implies granting me obligation-free permission to include it in the (as-yet-unnamed) collection. You won’t be compensated for your story; just knowing evangelicals will read it has to be motivation enough for you to write it. (I could no sooner track and deal with ongoing payments to fifty different people than I could win a Flamenco dancing contest.) I don’t yet know if I’ll publish this book as an e-book, or with a traditional book publisher. 
If you believe in this project and would like to see it happen, please spread this post to wherever you know gay Christains gather online. The more stories I get in for it the better.

*6/23/11: Correction: the name of John Shore's earlier book is, I'm OK--You're Not: The Message We're Sending Non-Believers and Why We Should Stop. (I love that title.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So many topics, so little time

Just got done watching the livestream "Pastors' Conversation" hosted by Wendy Gritter. I wish my 5 year-old didn't get so suddenly needy during the broadcast or I might have been able to follow the conversation more closely. But I was very impressed with Wendy's moderation job and her incredibly well-articulated insights that she was able to throw out there as if she were discussing the weather. As someone commented in the chat room, I feel like I could listen to her talk forever.

Wendy promises to have video of the livestream conversation available soon for those who missed it. You can check the Facebook Page or the website for further news about that. There was so much to discuss I felt like the hour and a half flew by much too quickly. So many conversations got started with so little time to explore them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Check out this live stream event

I'm sure this will interest many of you. Wendy Gritter of New Direction Ministries is organizing a live stream event called "Pastors' Conversations: Navigating LGBT Issues and Questions" that will take place Tuesday, June 21 at 2:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time). The event is free and interested participants only need to RSVP via Facebook or Eventbrite by clicking on one of the links on this page.

I'll be checking it out too. I understand there will be a chat room for online participants, as well as a time of Q& R (I'm guessing that means "question and response") with the Pastors' Panel. (I love that . . . Q&R instead of Q&A . . . acknowledging there may not be answers to some of these questions!) Personally, I find chat rooms intimidating so I don't expect to be making comments left and right. But I am looking forward to listening in on what people have to say and tuning in to their concerns.