Thursday, June 5, 2008

Losing a Friend, Remembering Tristan

We found out yesterday morning that one of the boys in the youth choir, my son's joke partner during their talent show, was killed night before last while crossing a very busy street.

"He was my best friend!" my son told me while he was crying in response to the news.

Tristan was a student at White Bluff Elementary School. His principal treasures the last picture of taken of Tristan, it was last week at a school assembly. He was singing his heart out, something his youth pastor says he loved to do. "He may be off key a couple of times, but he wanted you to know he was singing, he loved to sing," said Joe Driggers of the Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church.

My son told me he'd had a bad feeling that something was going to happen to him and that made it even more horrifying. And truth be told, I'd had a sense of foreboding myself, but it was formless. I didn't know what it meant. Jonathan said he knew he was going to die!

Last night, we went to church and along with a few of the other kids, met with the pastor, the youth minister and a school counselor who is a church member and she helped the kids talk about it. They also made cards for the family.

We don't know yet when the funeral will be but I plan for us to go so that, along with the other kids, Jonathan can say goodbye.

Liberal/Progressive Christianity

From an article I found on progressive Christianity...

While liberal Christians share a similar faith language with conservative / evangelical / orthodox Christians, many times we have different meanings attached to those words and offer a different vision of the faith than some people might realize. Unfortunately there is no cut and dried test per se that will land a believer firmly in the liberal camp. Many of them are evangelical and /or still draw strongly from the Orthodox traditions. However for the sake of identification the following will give some illumination as to the general beliefs of many (but not all) liberal, progressive and postmodern Christians:

1) We are willing to be open to all the possibilities of who Jesus was said to be, and focus more on His life than His death. We may question His divinity, believe in the Trinity, or be Unitarian.

2) We believe that the Bible contains truth but is not always literal. We believe that it is a map and not the final destination of our journey.

3) We believe other faiths contain truths as well.

4) We believe that asking questions is okay, and that there is rarely such a thing as a single black and white answer to those questions.

5) We are seeking closeness to God, not points for following certain rules which will buy our way into heaven. We take Jesus' admonitions to the Pharisees to heart and focus on the grace and compassion of God.

6) We welcome other seekers regardless of who they are as God wants us to include people rather than exclude them.

7) Many of us believe in universal salvation.

Link to the article

This article has the best collection of the things I have come to believe in the past few years that I have come across, so far. I was so happy with it, I had to share!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Celebrating My Gay-Friendly Church

As the date rolled around for this year's Blogging for LGBT Families, I sort of went blank at first about what to write! Since I am part of a lesbian family, and I frequently write about it, I wasn't sure how to make this particular blogging day special.

But then I decided to write about my church.

I found this church about 2 1/2 years ago, a few months after I had come out to myself (yes, I am quite the late bloomer!). At the time, I had been attending a charismatic church. For two reasons. I loved the worship, and was quite smitten with my friend, who attended regularly. She was unaware of this second motivation for my attendance.

Anyway, I soon realized that I would not be able to continue going to this church and decided to look for one that would be gay-friendly.

When I did, I found a list of churches and decided that the church I am now a member of would be the first I'd visit.

I have been attending ever since!

My church is about 50% gay and we are everywhere there. Directing the choir, singing in the choir, making the announcements, greeting at the door, offering communion, etc. And these may not seem like such a big deal, unless you are used to churches where that would not be the case.

My church has many married or partnered LGBT couples and several LGBT families, mine among them.

When my partner and I got married in Toronto, I did not change my name legally. But I have been using her name and my church made me a new nametag, changed my name on the address for the monthly church newsletter and congratulated me on my marriage!

Several times a year, the church holds new membership classes and after each class, the new members are introduced to the church. I amuse and delight myself each time by picking out the LGBT people and usually, they make up about half the class.

I remember the first time I saw an infant baptism where both the parents were daddies! In fact, I think it was right after that that I decided to complete the next new member class myself.

Is my church perfect? Oh no!

You might be surprised when I tell you that it is a United Methodist church. At the recent general conference, they just voted again not to ordain "practicing homosexuals" and even voted to allow pastors the freedom to decide whether or not to grant membership to LGBT people in their individual churches. Though my pastor has baptised children of LGBT parents, he could never marry them, even in a state where marriage was legal.

So are there still changes I'd like to see, even in my beloved church? Absolutely!

But I'll be there until they happen. It's the best church I've ever belonged to and some of my very best friends are there!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sex and the City

Tonight, I went to see the movie with my favorite friends from church and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

I don't want to give anything away to those who haven't seen it, but I do want to say that at one point in the movie, I burst into tears! And I mean hard crying, the kind where you sniffle and both lips are quivering and even if you bite them, it's hard to stop.

Though there also was a lot to laugh about, the movie had a powerful underlying message!

Without explaining what I mean by this, I will say that this song came to mind...

I've been tryin' to get down to the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

Don Henley

This movie made me feel good about having my wonderful friends and grateful to have found the love of my life and to be happily married!

If you are or have ever been a fan of the TV show, GO SEE IT!