Blogging is a Moving Meditation.

BLOGGING as a MOVING MEDITATION: Liminality's thin passage untangles as it weaves, fits in the ineffable nooks and crannies of my heart's prayer wall, like the cracks in pavement, mile markers on the road, windblown whimsical napkin poems written in eyeliner.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Songs of Water - a MUST listen......................

i'm honored and privileged to know this crew.....    Stephen you never cease to amaze me ... and when the heck did Michael start playing the dulcimer!!!!      Marta... when i saw your face whilst playing i had so MANY flashes to 16 years ago my dear friend.    So glad ya all are still do'in it and bring'in it....  this was my lullaby tonight...... and it was sorely and soar-ly... kneaded/needed.  Love to you all. xo

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

O Come, Emmanuel-

I love this song........ it's my favorite of all Christmas songs.............   it's longing lament and calling forth the fullness of God with US.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

John Gorka - Let Them In, Peter Veteran's Day prayer.

THANK YOU to all the Vets ... you are remembered and loved.   Abba, love on them today in a new way.  amen.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Nahko Bear (Medicine for the People) Aloha Ke Akua

Thank you... Whitney for FOREVER keeping it raw and real.  I love your musical taste....and your taste in friends.   This rocked it... you always touch my heart deeply.
xocat

Friday, November 02, 2012

"Whom have I but You?"

Thinking back over  another "season changer" in my life....  this song haunted my spirit in a good way... 

Awoke at 5 again this morning with some not so good flashbacks.  In those moments i've learned just to hang out with the Presence of my ABBA.  This song came floating in by way of remembrance. .   It's seems a bit of a mourning song, but honestly, i think that's part of honouring our past and letting God inhabit our broken & wounded spaces; to the fullest place in HIM where they can be healed.
Pondering about releasing deeper and deeper into a trust space with God.  To even be able to let go of that trust itself.  Is my trust in God tied to my faith in God to such a degree and extent that they are inseparable.  
Time to let a lotta things go... to give room for the more................  
think i'm gonna need a refill on that Grace Cup.... (might be the Golden Arches Super Size version)  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fleshing out fear....


‎"As soon as our own safety is threatened, we tend to grab the first stick or gun available, telling ourselves that our survival is what really counts even if thousands of others are not going to make it. Aren't we so insecure that we will snatch at any form of power that gives us a little bit of control over who we are, what we do, and where we go?
I know my sticks and guns. Sometimes my stick is a friend with more influence than I; sometimes my gun is money or a degree; sometimes it is a little talent that others don't have; and sometimes it is special knowledge, or a hidden memory, or even a cold stare. I will grab it quickly and without much hesitation when I need it to stay in control. And before I realize it, I have pushed my friends away."- Henri Nouwen-
Power, Powerlessness and Power.

I so have the ability to knee jerk it on matters when i'm feeling out of control.  Screw it sorta way- (yes, that was my milder version, for those of you who already know i toned that down)- I'm More so now asking God to help me steward my reactions to a loving response.  Tall order for this quick trigger Jersey Girl.- oh and practice is Abounding; seemingly everywhere i turn.

Came across the above Nouwen quote the other day and it's been up in my grill so to speak; sorta like a big buck with antlers crashing through my window.   I don't like that part of my wounded heart.
I'm quicker on measures these days, when i see it or feel it rising up in my heart to lay it down at His feet.
It's in those times i put "worship" up in my house at stadium volumes just to shake off that fear.

What Nouwen was talking about is when fear rises up.

I'm learning to humbly say "i'm scared"; without fleshing out in a harsh and destructive manner.

  What i mean by that is to acknowledge that YES, i'm afraid right now, i'm not sure what ground i'm standing on,  not sure on if i trust God providing, not sure if i'll ever experience love again, not sure i want to, not sure i want to be close to people, not sure i even want to be touched.  (ps that's say'in a lot, i know)

But i don't see a way around it, the only way it through it.  I'm not talking begrudgingly shrugging my shoulders, in a "whatever, He's gonna do what He wants to do anyway" sort of way.  But more so a joining hands with My Abba and ask Him to guide me  through the seemingly scary and dark spaces of my heart. It's where i humbly say "I choose to trust you, even in my fearful parts, because Your Love is covering me; even if my fickle feelings betray my spirit."

Oh, some of this should be simple in a childlike way, but this childlike heart of mine, that loves to jump into Abba's arms; also tends to squirm in His Hand.

Well, that's where i'm at and what i'm pondering today.   Though there is more simmering on the brains back burner.    
Jesus Help... Amen.


Saturday, October 20, 2012


Some things are just too good not to post... though they do make me ponder deeper, they are also an invitation to live deeper.....    Thank you Henri Nouwen for being a voice in the wilderness of my heart.

"If God is found in our hard times, then all of life, no matter how apparently insignificant or difficult, can open us to God’s work among us. To be grateful does not mean repressing our remembered hurts. But as we come to God with our hurts—honestly, not superficially—something life changing can begin slowly to happen. We discover how God is the One who invites us to healing. We realize that any dance of celebration must weave both the sorrows and the blessings into a joyful step.  I once saw a stonecutter remove great pieces from a huge rock on which he was working. In my imagination I thought, That rock must be hurting terribly. Why does this man wound the rock so much? But as I look longer, I saw the figure of a graceful dancer emerge gradually from the stone, looking at me in my mind’s eye and saying, “You foolish man, didn’t you know I had to suffer and thus enter into my glory?” The mystery of the dance is that its movements are discovered in the mourning. To heal is to let the Holy Spirit call me to dance, to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life."

— Henri Nouwen from “Turn My Mourning into Dancing”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Standing in the tremors of shifting.............


I've pretty much committed to maintain a level of vulnerABILITY on this blog, with the stress point on the "ability" in the vulnerable.   Seems like the resounding part of shaking what can be shaken....and that place of  "Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Standing on what feels like shaky ground presently. Talking to Abba about it all this morning and felt like HE said this to my heart:


"Even the world says "hold your peace" ("keep calm and carry on") sort of way. The church even speaks of "holding your peace." But peace is not merely a calming feeling. I AM your PEACE. Your Shalom. I AM the LIVING SHALOM. 


I have already declared it over you.


("Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27)
It is MY peace, not something you can conjure up or strive for..... It is the Living Word of MY Shalom that is Jesus. Let MY PEACE-JESUS inhabit you. Hold on to MY PEACE Cathryn and Let MY PEACE HOLD YOU, for My Son is the Prince of Peace."

So Lord, Hold me in Your Peace as a child on the El Shaddai (double breasted one) as well as the place that you created me a warrior, to Stand ON YOUR peace and see the battles from Your perspective Abba. Thank you for Your Living Peace. amen.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

God with Skin On Thin Space


The poet Sharlande Sledge shares
“Thin places,” the Celts call this space,
Both seen and unseen,
Where the door between the world
And the next is cracked open for a moment
And the light is not all on the other side.
God shaped space. Holy.”

I awoke with the thought/sense, “make my heart a thin space in the Spirit for others”.  
Not the most desiring of thoughts for me at the moment, as over the last several years, i’ve felt pretty frail in some process of heart.

But mostly when i feel Holy Spirit drop those nudges into my being, it’s usually and invitation to something deeper in God, than some divine test.

The thought that Mary had hidden in the deep well of her heart; many things of personal and prophetic revelation, smacks up against my forehead knowledge of what are boundaries in the Spirit.

God created the boundaries of the Earth according to Genesis, so i’m figuring that God can undo those boundaries anytime God wants to.  The incarnation is taking place again and again; through Him IN us and IN Him through us.

My most graphic visual of what i would consider a  “God with skin on thin space” in the Heart of Spirit, was when the spear pierced Jesus’s side and blood and water flowed.

I could just stay in that space and ponder the symbology for at least a year....   The Wounded Side of Christ being a Thin Place on Earth for the veil to part and life giving saline and blood pouring into the foundations of the world.


But how to pull down that Mystery of the Gospel that Christ Lives within  us.. so our dwelling place in our hearts, in some ways, ought to be at least a kind invitation for others to know Him better.
I guess for me, and that’s really all i can speak from and perhaps to... 

There are so many shadows and closed doors that i’m discovering that i’ve not given Him permission to enter.    

This Rosh HaShana / New Year  (i don’t consider mine in Jan)-  Ha Shem really pressed on my heart about ways to surrender more of what i’ve clung to as past comforts, such as where my apathy has shadowed His love for another.- and if i ponder that thought too long without His persistent Love covering me, i’d get pulled under by a long list of people that i’ve not loved well.

I think He’s working on maturing spaces in my heart, that are now able to look at things without them completely taking me over in condemnation.  Which with any good prophetic word Ha Shem drops in my spirit, comes the invitation to adversity that is often a solidifying factor in securing His Truth. 

Don’t ask me why that seems to work that way, i’m not quite sure on my hermeneutics, something about adversity that causes us to look a little closer at what makes us draw from the deeper wells. Perhaps it’s in digging of those deeper well, the more pure, life giving, refreshingly colder water flows freely.

I’m thinking that the true blessing of incarnation, based on the Cross of Christ, is where our hearts are transformed and the old altar call adage to “invite Jesus into our hearts”; is to invite the heart beating frequency of heaven to permeate the atmosphere of our very lives.

Transformation seems to always come with permission for the fuller incarnation. 

The permission giving prayer of Psalms 139: 23,24-
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
         Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
         And lead me in the everlasting way.


Only then will hearts be a safe enough “God with skin on thin space”  for others enter.

Lord have Mercy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

some things need to be played LOUD.... thanks Melissa Helser! xo


some things are truly enjoyed LOUD...   hand on heart HONEST here....   tune UP and tune IN.... yup.. ....................................................................... amen.

Monday, September 17, 2012

If I didn't know him

Love Harry's stuff....  thought i'd share a bit.  Too good not to.
Mr. Harry Baker....  thanks for bringing it... and keeping it raw and real.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Selah Value


i really do miss my dog Selah...   

Perhaps it’s because Maria Magdalena and Baby Patterson left the building.
(they were the resident dog theologians for the past 10 months and i would highly recommend their class on “Loving the Master.”    - that would be an instructional course taught by Mary)

Kinda sad not having wagging tales (or John’s regaling tails) and demanded “pets” about... 

Though i won’t miss the extra hoOvering!

My crazy arsed friends are my best teachers.  I’ve been told recently that my friends are “bigger than life”.... oh my, now all of them are rolling their eyes and a few are smirking.

Yes, you guys... YOU ARE.  (including the person that made that saliently observant note!)


I guess the parts that warm m’cockles ... is that those that “know who you are”... actually understand the part of my heart that misses that furried and occasionally winged creature!  

Might have to dedicate a blog post to “spiritual mutts” ...  

ahhhh aren’t we all for that matter

I guess i was pondering “faithfulness” and how the first thing that popped into my mind was my dog Selah.   Which of course lead to the next question... why did i think of her first.  ??? 

She was alert, attentive, deliberate, insistent, unconditionally loving, playful, nurturing, long suffering, forgiving, responsive, attending and radically obstinate in her character.

Yeah, those are the qualities in my friends that i intentionally count on.

I think it was just God’s way of reminding me of the things i actually value.

Selah to Selah.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Septembers whispers.............


i faintly caught a wisp of Northern Septembers breath tonight.

transitions.. transitions........... transitions...................

John and Caroline left today, to spend their official first night at their new and well worked over abode!  (John you astound me!... Truly)

Highest and utmost to you both my friends.  I can’t thank you enough for the love, acceptance, understanding, compassion and all those good gifts of the Spirit that “ya all” have demonstrated to me and towards me.

Really wish we had the “God cam” running to do the replay here on earth!  (yes, it’s running and He takes good notes). But there were some incredibly and exasperatingly funny moments; completed by proper tea times & the never ending kitchen cleaning.

You guys taught me a thing or two about living in community.   New measures of Grace for all of US!  

if i could say spiritually, if you want your shit to come up..... LIVE IN COMMUNITY!
if you want your shit to be nailed to a firmly placed cross.... Live IN Community!
it’s a House of Mirrors, so you can’t move without seeing all your blatant issues fly in your face.
One of my dearest has a fondness to remind... “keep your friends offenses on the short list.”  -  (thank you D for your ceaseless reminder!)


 Caroline and John................thank you .... Thank You... THANK YOU for keeping Mine on the short list of offenses my friends.  That Grace......... can NOT be measured on Earth!

For once my timing coincides with what is in the present.  I all too often take too much time in the recounting on matters. 

It takes some to “commit” to one another.  All too often that recounts horrific thoughts of fallible trust.  I’d say “we all”, but i’ll stick the with me part of it. I have placed my trust in things that have proved un-fruitful.;  Oh the tyranny of the the familiar!

I’ve learned a lot over this past year.  New ways of coping, new ways of seeing, new ways of living.  

I guess commitment to seeing things through is one of the things i’ve struggle with the most.  

Granted, my marriage blew to hell and high water this past year... so retrospect withstanding.... 


I’m in no way speaking from an arrived space.  More so... that space of “should’a, could’a, would’a mixed with some salient points on why to do None of the above.

I tend to learn more from the experience rather than second hand knowledge.  

( if you read that last line with the thought... “oh, shit.”, suffice to say, there are things that are experientially learned that are best understood from afar!)

Perhaps i’m kinetic enough to wrestle it through...  dunno.  

I just know that with the wrestling comes a peace... sometimes by route of exhaustion.

Either a battle well fought where i’ve felt my strength rises up or the limp that comes from picking my battles unwisely, or further more, not letting Him fight them for me.

Dawns light is prevailingly bright, so as much so, that it gives me no shade to obscure my heart.

That’s always a measure of His faithfulness to me.  When He sees my heart and continues to forever to be faithful...  Truly the “Semper Fi”.  

Not so sure on this next leg of the Journey...  just sure enough of His faithfulness to me; that’s it’s worth trusting in.

Friday, September 07, 2012

more September streaming...........


Thinking on the drawbridge from Nouwen in the previous Sept. update....

What i was sensing, was that for my heart, i’m relearning some areas that need drawbridges rather than walls.  

Oh in the practical, YES, re-establishing boundaries is a good thing... (generally)....
what i’m pondering is the places that aren’t so black and white; where i’ve placed walls instead of a drawbridge.

Part of my heart feels like the reluctant optimist .... oh, i know what would be amazing, but the part of my heart that i reserve for the “seeing is believing” needs some serious work.

I’ve said before, i’ll say again, THIS time to myself....  walls do keep things out, but they also can keep you a prisoner, if you’ve walled yourself IN!

Yep, been guilty of that .... of late!

I’m thankful God doesn’t wall off some of His heart for us........

Really thankful. 

So how to put healthy and sturdy drawbridges up in some areas AND deconstruct some walls in others.

There’s an old PT (prophetic teaching) on the Donkey.

Jesus had only ONE donkey, it was specific in time and place. It was also “called for”... Jesus sent one of the dudes to go get it....   It was His to ride.

So for me, the biggest Drawbridge is what am i called to and what am i not.   Sounds simple, but if your dna is wired differently than others, it’s a bit of a task.

God sorta likes speaking through Ass’s .... Asse’s .... what the proper there?

So if i may speak, i’m wondering about putting these Texas boots into some practice and ride the one that He chooses. (yeah, did you catch that?- i’m sure some of those winged creatures around the throne got a bit of a chuckle.)

Where have i placed walls up as barricades over my wounds, that have become so entrenched, that i don’t even know when it’s HIM touching them??!!

so there is my selah for the evening.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Brad Sargent: My Story about Gender, Sexuality and Perspectives on "Successful" Transformation.


Reposting with permission .........

My Story About Gender, Sexuality, and Perspectives on “Successful” Transformation

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.  Mother Teresa
wikicommons
St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke, VA  Wikicommons

TWW is not a blog of two women. It is a blog started by two women and it is made up of its readers and commenters. It is a community, which was well-demonstrated by the incredible outpouring of support for Eagle. When I wrote that I was planning on doing a series on the gay issue and the church, Brad contacted me and said he would like to tell his story.
Anyone who has read this blog know, love and respect Brad and his thoughtful and intelligent comments. (As I once commented to him, "You are smart.") So, this is his story and it is well written. I am grateful to him for being willing to share one aspect of his life with all of us. Brad, not only are you smart, but you are strong. Thank you for gracing us with your presence.

If you’ve read my “brad/futuristguy” comments on various stories here at The Wartburg Watch over the past, you may recall that my professional work is mostly in cultural interpretation, strategic foresight (futurist skills), and organizational systems design and development.
Much of my “personal work” over the past 40 years has dealt with gender and sexuality, and that may be even more complicated than my interdisciplinary work in research and writing. I’ve come to see gender identity and sexuality as two of the most complex aspects of being human. I served as the first Resource and Publication Specialist forExodus International from 1991-1996. I also taught in 2000 at the International Bioethics Conference at Trinity Seminary, on the topic of transgenderism as an emerging bio-medical ethics issue. Because of this background, I got in touch with Dee and offered to share some of my own story and perspectives on what I’ve learned through the years.
SAME-SEX ATTRACTIONS AND MY THEOLOGICAL VIEW
In high school in the early 1970s, I became aware of having mostly same-sex attractions. But, having a traditional moral upbringing in a mainline Christian denomination, I didn’t act on those attractions. Since becoming a born-again Christian my first year in college, I’ve done far more biblical studies and considered gender and sexuality as part of that. In my overall understanding of God’s moral revelation in Scripture, same-sex attraction is a form of brokenness that results in temptation, and acting out on homosexual attraction is a form of sin. That view means the activity of homosexuality and the adopting of gay, lesbian, bisexual identities are not honoring to what God wants. Thus, I still haven't acted out on homosexual attractions, and don't intend to – I’ve done what I can to train my conscience to choose the other direction. [I saw this expressed a whole lot more succinctly in an acquaintance’s Blogger profile. He wrote: “Interested in men, but interested in following Jesus more.”]
Over the last 40 years, I’ve considered alternative views on Scripture in general, and different interpretations of passages specifically on same-gender sexual behaviors. It seems to me that many of these views start with the assumption that our feelings and attractions are the ultimate value, and then find ways to interpret in favor of our attractions the questions we wrestle with about moral revelation, and why would God “make us this way” and then condemn us for it, and such like. I started with a different working assumption – that God is Lord and He reveals things we would not otherwise know, and He sets the standards for personal morality and social ethics.
And that means it’s actually irrelevant to my obedience as a follower of Jesus whether these attractions are from nature, nurture, both, or neither. If the Almighty says a specific behavior is sin, my response should be to trust the Spirit’s empowerment to avoid it. So, I haven’t found these other interpretations intellectually or spiritually viable, even if at times they might make life seem emotionally or relationally easier. To me, they lead in another of the many broken, sinful ways that God never intended for people to go.
I am, however, also a proponent of each person – Christian or not – being responsible to determine his/her own paradigm of values, beliefs, and behaviors, and being accountable for them. As a follower of Christ, I interpret this as a part of everyday discipleship and the “priesthood of every believer.” So, I’m not here to dictate my presuppositions and paradigm to anyone else, but as a sojourner in a host country, to share my viewpoint when the opportunity or necessity arises.
That said, I define my identity as a Christian male, I choose to remain sexually abstinent, and I actively avoid pornography of all kinds as much as possible in our sex-saturated culture. This is the specific path I’ve chosen for four decades to deal with temptations toward same-sex activities. Some might say I’m suffering for nothing, but again, I’m not working from their paradigm. I see suffering as inevitable, perhaps even anguish as inevitable. But despair and futility are not. The pathway I have chosen is one I consider the way of the cross. It is a way that acknowledges/embraces and redeems suffering to generate beauty in the midst of ashes. In postmodern terms, this is how I've constructed a life/lifestyle that embodies radical discipleship, as best I've come to understand that as having great freedom within biblical boundaries.
As to marriage, I never saw that as “the great fix-all” for SSA. (Actually, I’d go so far as to say that anyone who suggests marriage as “the cure” for homosexual orientation is not only naïve, but inflicting spiritual abuse.) However, the idea and even the possibility of marriage has been on my radar occasionally. Unfortunately, the women I was interested in at various times were not interested in me, and vice versa – the relational weirdness of the latter being more difficult to deal with than the unrequited love of the former. Is there still a “bachelor's til the rapture” club? (Then again, I'm not sure I'm a pre-millennialist or yadda-yadda anymore anyway, so whatever …)
GENDER AND IDENTITY
My basic conclusion about gender identity is this: “Gender has more to do with what’s stored in the attic than how the plumbing works.” You can be male, but not feel masculine. You can be female, but not feel feminine. How we deal with the integration (or disconnection) between physical and emotional can send us in very different directions – I believe with both our gender identity and our sexuality.
And I have dealt with some significant gender identity issues, basically having viewed myself as “non-gendered” or in “gender limbo.” Proverbs talks about how foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, and in retrospect, I realized that at a very young age, I withdrew from masculinity. I never felt I fit in with the world of boys and men. I didn’t know what to do about those feelings, so in my understandable foolishness, I tried to extinguish what I thought was the source. (But I also did not attach to femininity, or I would likely have dealt with something within the transgendered spectrum.) So, as a young adult, I ultimately identified more with being a “person” than with being a man.
That has changed, thankfully, and I see my main identity as being a Christian man. Over the years, though, I’ve run into a fair number of men and women with a similar problem. While emphasizing “personhood” may seem like a relatively productive choice, it is still based in wounds and emotional pain that need to be healed.
On that line, one of the more dramatic learning situations I’ve heard was shared by my friend, Jeanette Howard, author of Out of Egypt: Leaving Lesbianism Behind. (I was her project manager, editor, and writing coach for that book, for which she dubbed me “an honorary ex-lesbian.” I’m sure I have the official wall certificate somewhere still …) When she was a very young Christian, Jeanette constantly referred to herself as a “Christian person.” Those who were discipling her gave her a rather radical assignment: To stand in front of a mirror, look herself in the eyes, and thank God aloud that He’d made her a woman. It took her days before she could stand before a mirror without just dissolving into tears. More weeks before she could even look herself in the eyes. Months, finally, before she could do as she was asked. The learning process there was important, but her actions were, too.
My own gender dissociation manifested in some peculiar behaviors that afterwards made sense in light of my level of uncomfortability with masculinity. For instance, when I got to college, I stopped shaving – not because growing a beard was a “manly” action, but, actually, the opposite. If I didn’t shave, I didn’t have to look in a mirror every day as one more reminder of being male. For me, the turning point came in 1989 in a Christian men’s support group where all the guys were dealing with gender and/or sexuality issues. During one prayer time, I simply told the Lord that I really didn’t understand what it meant to be a man but was willing to find out and asked Him to lead me in that. That began a different fork in the road on the journey I’m still pursuing.
ASPECTS OF OBEDIENCE AND TRANSFORMATION
Early on in my college experience, I became a born-again Christian. I’d been raised in a traditional mainline denomination, but it was more about religion than a relationship then for me. When I chose to follow Christ, part of my paradigm shift was to see the Bible as God’s revelation to us of things we wouldn’t necessary conclude on our own. And sexuality was one of those moral issues with social and ethical ramifications. I began studying those aspects of what the Scripture had to say, along with everything else. (As it turned out, I spent more time in Bible and theological studies during my college years than I spent in all my classes combined.)
Eventually I began working through the sexuality side of my identity. I’ve never called myself “gay,” or had a “gay identity,” or identified with LGBT movements or cultures.  Since I wasn’t “gay,” I’ve never really identified with the “ex-gay” label either, though I got in touch with Exodus International in the mid-1980s, a few years after I learned of the network’s existence. There weren't all that many recovery/transformation print resources on overcoming unwanted homosexuality back then, and the closest ministry was about 250 miles away. So my “process” was mostly just general, everyday Christian discipleship, carried out in the usual context of local church and peer groups.
As far as dealing with specifics of my homosexual attractions, that was mostly on my own, at least until the late 1980s. That was when a Christian counselor friend of mine and I started a support group for Christian men dealing with the entire range of gender identity and sexuality issues. (This is the group I mentioned where I prayed about accepting the reality of being a man and asking God to help me understand masculinity.)
The 15 to 20 guys in the group were working on overcoming personal issues and/or fall-out related to: heterosexual addictions, homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestism, transgenderism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, pedophilia, hiring prostitutes, addiction to pornography, adultery. These weren’t really issues that local church staff seemed willing or equipped to address in those days. (Are they even now?) And, for many of these specific problems, there were nearly no resources from a Christian perspective anyway.
So, we went a different route instead of trying to create a specialized program for each different category of issue and go in rotation – what we chuckled at as “the perversion of the week.” We focused together on our common need: “What is Christlike masculinity, and how is Jesus a role model for us?” Our slogan for this was, “Same root, different fruit.” And indeed, it was intriguing to see that as we focused together on our common ground of Christlike masculinity, every man seemed to experience an increased ability to reject whatever specific kind of sexual temptations they were prone to. That was all happening at least two full years before Promise Keepers burst onto the scene and suddenly, discipleship resources for men – some good, some awful – started flooding the market.
“GENDERIZED MINISTRY” AND TRUE COMPLEMENTARITY
My friend's counseling agency affiliated with Exodus, because some of us were dealing with same-sex attractions and Exodus had resources available. I went to my first Exodus conference in 1989, and taught on writing to get published at their 1990 conference. During my workshop, I met Jeanette Howard, who was writing what turned out to be the first counseling/recovery-oriented book for women coming out of lesbianism (the other books were mainly personal testimonies). As I mentioned earlier, I helped her with Out of Egypt as project manager, editor, and writing coach.
The entire project was a deep lesson in collaboration in the Body of Christ, and not just between myself and Jeanette. I’d like to share about that, since I think it has something crucial to teach us all about true complementarity – the kind where women and men work together as peers, using their different perspectives and gifts to create something far more relevant and enduring than could be done by either gender or background type working alone. How often do we see that happen in the Body of Christ? It was my first mega-experience of crowd-sourcing. Here’s what happened.
The first and second drafts for the whole book (almost 300 pages) were completed in just four months, which is amazing all on its own. But it wasn’t just because Jeanette spent a kazillion hours writing (though she did). It’s because she and I brought together a very unusual structure of four teams to help.
(1) I’d mail out the first drafts of chapters to a group of a dozen or so “outside readers.” They would send back corrections, questions, and comments. I’d compile them and present editing options to Jeanette for her to decide how she wanted to handle it. (2) Then we met weekly with a critique group of experienced writers who gave their input on next drafts. (3) At the end of the revision process, we held a pizza party where another group took on the next-to-last draft.
That may not seem so revolutionary, but here’s why it was. The target audience of Jeanette’s book was women who had decided to come out of a lesbian lifestyle and wanted an introductory book to get them started on that journey. However, the overall group of 20 people involved in these four teams included:
  • Women and men, ranging in age from their 30s to 60s.
  • Singles, individual married people, and married couples.
  • Those with homosexuality attractions and those with heterosexual attractions.
  • Everyday disciples, counselors, and local church ministry leaders.
Everyone said they learned something important for their own spiritual growth from reading Jeanette’s manuscript. It didn’t matter their gender, orientation issues, age, marital status, or occupation. It was a personal growth experience for each participant. It also shows how people with a particular “besetting sin” problem as the Puritans would call it, can work side-by-side with those who don’t have the same problem, in a symbiosis that brings healing and strength to everyone involved. We are all so much more than just our sexuality, our gender, our “issues.” What could be done in and for the Kingdom if we worked together in this kind of REAL complementarity all the time?
(4) The fourth team was actually the foundation to the whole process, and that was our prayer team. A letter went out every 10 days to two weeks with a combination of progress report and specific prayer requests. That helped Jeanette and me make sure we were taking time to stop, reflect, and evaluate how things were really going – but also to remember how deeply we were being supported. And perhaps most important of all, these newsletters were reminders that this was at its core a spiritual enterprise to bring resources for transformation to those who wanted it, not just a writing project or a ministry program for the heck of it.
EXODUS AND AN IDENTITY BEYOND
Anyway, the Exodus staff saw how I worked with Jeanette. (We all worked in the same office suite, and some of them were on her review and critique teams.) Bob Davies, who was the Executive Director then, asked if I wanted to join their staff to work on newsletters, other resources, and conference organizing. It made spiritual sense to me. So, I said yes and moved there about six months later.
And that's how my Exodus connections came about. I’d already been studying gender issues and producing resources on HIV/AIDS ministry since the mid-1980s. (I sensed God calling me to AIDS ministry in 1987, before I knew a single person infected or affected by HIV.) I intuitively felt that gender identity, transgenderism, androgyny, misogyny, and misandry would become increasingly important personal and cultural issues, so I sought to incorporate those in my resourcing work at Exodus and as suggestions for expanding the teaching components of its annual conferences.
Exodus moved its headquarters to Seattle in 1996. I had the opportunity to move there, but chose to stay. I felt I’d done what I could to get Exodus’ resources catalyzed, and felt it would be better to turn it over to someone else to maintain that momentum. And, basically, I had done nothing but talk, write, and edit material about sexuality, homosexuality, gender identity, and personal transformation for six years full time – seemingly more than enough for a lifetime, since I didn't see that as my long-term calling. As I noted before, I am more than my gender and sexuality issues and my ministry after all – as are we all.
So, I started work at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. And for ministry, I shifted back to social transformation, which is what I started out with as my focus in college almost 25 years earlier. I got involved with church planting, strategic foresight (futurist skills), and cultural analysis. I’ve occasionally taught guest lectures to seminary students on all those subjects, as well as on gender and sexuality. I work with an international team that’s producing The Transformational Index, a missional ministry system of planning tools and measurable indicators of social impact.
I last taught at Exodus conferences in 2000, and have occasionally blogged comments (mostly on Dr. David Fitch's blog in the category on women/GLBTQ ministry) and specifically about a “welcoming and mutually/redemptively transforming“ stance, as opposed to the “welcoming and affirming” gay-affirming approach and the “rejecting and condemning” ultra-conservative isolationist approach. But other than that, I have been writing mostly about spiritually abusive leaders, malignant ministries, and dystopian societies – and how we MUST understand the destructive human impact of these sick systems if we want to shape organizational design/development for churches and ministries to be safe, healthy, holistic, and sustainable … that is, “welcoming and transformational” for all.
This is probably the most I’ve *written* on gender and sexuality in over 10 years. That doesn’t mean I’ve ignored processing those personal issues. It’s just that there are now smaller parts that fit into a far more comprehensive and coherent paradigm. They are not the life-dominating questions that they were in decades past. And in all things, I am still seeking to live out what I have long understood to be the definition of “success” in terms of personal transformation from homosexual attractions: Following Jesus Christ with all my life and for all of my life, in radical obedience to what I understand the Scriptures say about who I am in Him, and what it means to be a godly Christian man.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

September's internal landscape


Another September...

That thought to me has always come with a deep breath held for too long. 

This is my exhale.

Being a North Easterner,  September’s evening chill have been a demarcation of season changing; NOT so much here in Austin, so i’m held to the dear Gregorian reminders.

Life has taken some hairpin turns and a few death defying leaps, though i was informed of the risks later apparently; at least my cortisol levels would indicate such hypervigilance.

It’s been a season of hard transitions to say the least and today signifies a year that i’m looking at life through different lenses.  The Texas glare has given me a headache and i need some scripted shades.

So so SOOOOOOO much inventory to sort and purge through physically,  internally and relationally.   

I think that sorting inventory is necessary though.  Taking a gander and perhaps a deeper ponder on things that were just “accepted” seems to be the view He’s showing me in it.

Including ways i’ve simply accepted my own landscape of internal mindset on matters.  

Reminds me of a Henri Nouwen quote on Drawbridges.  


   

 Controlling your own Drawbridge by Henri Nouwen

“You must decide for yourself to whom and when you give access to your interior life. For years, you have permitted others to walk in and out of your life according to their needs and desires. Thus you were no longer master in your own house, and you felt increasingly used. So, too, you quickly became tired, irritated, angry, and resentful. 

Think of a medieval castle surrounded by a moat. The drawbridge is the only access to the interior of the castle. The lord of the castle must have the power to decide when to draw the bridge and when to let it down. Without such power, he can become the victim of enemies, strangers, and wanderers. He will never feel at peace in his own castle. 

It is important for you to control your own drawbridge. There must be times when you keep your bridge drawn and have the opportunity to be alone or only with those to whom you feel close. Never allow yourself to become public property, where anyone can walk in and out at will. You might think that you are being generous in giving access to anyone who wants to enter or leave, but you will soon find yourself losing your soul. 

When you claim for yourself the power over your drawbridge, you will discover new joy and peace in your heart and find yourself able to share that joy and peace with others.”
   


OK, OK, i had to copy and paste... but dam we all need that reminder!

I’m feeling more frail on matters than i care to admit, whilst having a peace that seems deeper despite the fears.  Go figure.  

I’ve felt pretty bruised on this leg of the journey, complete with a bone chip in my left knee to physically remind me.  

Spiritually, i guess i’ve wrestled a few angles and a few not so angelic beings. 

It's a good reminder to pull up those drawbridges of my heart.   

My goal these days is to simplify my life to what is needed and what is necessary.

However, just to clear the terrain from the seemingly insurmountable rubbish pile, has felt daunting at best and overwhelming to say the least.

To live “simply” in a world that demands “complexity” to sheerly navigate through a morning commute, begs for some skillful finessing. 

My goal for today is to get ONE task accomplished.  The size does not have to matter.  It’s just the moving forward that is the meditation.   

Perhaps that meditation is pulling up my Drawbridge.
Perhaps knowing the difference between Drawbridges and Walls.


Help Lord.



Sunday, August 19, 2012

John Gorka - Temporary Road

this sorta cuts to the chase on matters.........  perhaps i'll learn to stop running.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Seems life is re-inventing it’s Self again.  I’ve stumbled upon a book whilst cleaning ...(thank you Caroline!) called,  “Composing a Life”.  -  Mary Catherine Bateson.  

Love the thoughts on life as a improvisation.  It’s challenging the preconceived perceptions that seems to prevail; that you are a screw up if you are faced with having to re-define and re- focus due life’s curve balls.

I’ve been known to say that all constants can become variables with one small emotional hurricane. 

OK, ok... perhaps small, emotional and hurricane is minimizing a wee bit.  It has been a sea of emotions with some potential rocks to be dashed against.

I love the SEA... and i’m way overdue for sand in my toes, but part of the reason i love it is because it’s constant but changing.  It has its rhythms with the tides, but external forces effect & affect it almost hourly.  The vast waterscape with it’s recessions and expanses on shores forever calls me to dance.  

So the sea of my heart has to give up it’s dead daily as well as embrace the currents that bring forth life on new shores.  

Jesus calmed the sea and walked on water. He never rejects, never betrays and never abandons... His love Never Fails.

I think this next season of my life, i want to walk on water. amen.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Re-Creating.

seems i've been in a bit of a whirlwind of sorts.    Guess i'll be blogging again soon... at least on a more intentional level.  This might be the shortest post; yet longer than a 140 character mini chirp on the matter.   The one thing i feel Abba speak during these days;  that are often plagued by the mundane, is His spoken question to my heart; "do you trust me in this".    Guess that's the question always... 
The voice that counters that, is the same garden snake version, of ... "did God really say" in that  hissing questioning,  that seems to fill the shadows of that light.  
I know enough about His heart FOR me, that though some of this Isn't comfortable, i know He's got sum skill in that surgical tool He's wielding.  
I'm watching Him in the process of Re-Creating ..... which i think is a by-product of Reconciliation.  I'm thinking that before any Recon-ciliation can take place, that we reconcile to His heart first.  Setting things in order has to come from the Head down... from the authorizing standpoint as well with understanding of heart &&&&&&& mind.
That's where the Heart & Head are dwelling these days.  certainly, not boring.......  

Stoney Jailbird Video

Somethings are worth the re-post.  yup.  Thanks Mark for teaching me a few things. x00

Sunday, April 22, 2012

NJ Shore in the 1970's wow.. been there!

I grew up going "down the shore" every year.... Ran across this Tourism thing from the 1970's for Seaside Heights!  I sure as hell remember that place all too well.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Same road new faces..

Yup....
Kinda know that feeling, where God just dredges up my most basic of fears..... and then asks me ...."Do You Trust Me?"
........................... Just where would i go, since it's more than apparent that YOU hold the words of life.....???
Holding onto Hope in the Process. Congregational response............. "Lord, have mercy"




Friday, January 20, 2012

Sh*t Austinites Say

"yeah after 911 i had to get outta Brooklyn". -
A friend sent this to me and i couldn't stop laughing for at least 15 min.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sinead O'Connor - This is a Rebel Song


This song and its English-Irish metaphor just haunted me this morning. That call of the Irish to be seen and welcomed, rather than cast off; the call for reconciling of hearts.  (Thanks Padraig O Tuama for posting on face book .... ) Rebel Love............ it's also a Fierce Love.
***
I've been asked recently, about why i post random stuff on this blog..... I was a bit put off, as MOST the stuff i put up are things that just Radomly "trip my trigger" in some way; it happens to be the point of a blog. It's a diary. It's a journal. It's a place to flesh out things. It's a stage for laughter and weeping. It's a place to let my spirit soar a bit...

I grew up with an Irish grandmother, who's brogue cut through the house like a sharp knife when she was angry. God i loved that woman! She would slip out information when she was a bit tipsy, so i had learned of her love of England, in her mind; was unrequited.

So here are the lyrics.....

I love you my hard Englishman
Your rage is like a fist in my womb
Can't you forgive what you think I've done
And love me - I'm your woman
And I desire you my hard Englishman
And there is no more natural thing
So why should I not get loving
Don't be cold Englishman

How come you've never said you loved me
In all the time you've known me
How come you never say you're sorry
And I do

Ah, please talk to me Englishman
What good will shutting me out get done
Meanwhile crazies are killing our sons
Oh listen - Englishman
I've honored you - hard Englishman
Now I am calling your heart to my own
Oh let glorious love be done
Be truthful - Englishman

How come you've never said you loved me
In all the time you've known me
How come you never say you're sorry
And I do
I do