Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Welcome New Zealand, The Race for the Bottom & Jury Duty

Hi. Hope you all had a good holiday weekend here in the US. And a big hello to our newest audience members in New Zealand where the movie is touring through the OutTakes film festival. The New Zealanders are really getting the message, they are snapping up copies of the DVD and especially those who are a part of the Anglican (Episcopal) Church who have a vote coming up next month to be welcoming of same-sex blessings, they are using the movie for the perfect purpose of dialog and truly wanting to bridge the gap. Yay New Zealand!

We're also thrilled to be getting requests from churches of many Christian denominations requesting public performance permission to show the movie at their church. They recognize the dire need and urgency for "the Church" to not again historically be the last to love and accept people for who they are. The only category they are in a neck and neck race with is our government, who seems to be taking a lead in non discrimination, but with UCC churches open and affirming at the national level, MCC churches, the Methodist Reconciling Ministries, Lutherans Concerned, welcoming Baptists, the Epsicopalian churches questioning, it's a close call. So, who will be the last to equality, political law or religious law? Place your bets.

Speaking of law, I spent the day in a courtroom for jury duty. I actually, for the first time not only had to go in, but I actually got selected. Unbelievable. The week before June Pride and I'm serving on a jury for a civil lawsuit. As with everything in life, there's a reason for this timing and this situation is to somehow advance, challenge and teach me. There's never a good time for jury duty, and it could've happened at better times, but it's okay. It's a lesson of faith in the big scheme of things and I look forward to what this experience will teach me. So, if emails are slow to respond, blogs coming in late, etc. you know why.

Make sure you vote for our award winner in the right column....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Our New Poll - Vote for Ellen, Emily, Cyndi, Amy or Sharon

We've launched our highly technical voting system for you, God & Gays blog readers, to choose who has earned our Bridging the Gap Award for 2007. See the poll on the right side of the blog.

These people have been nominated in 2007 for several reasons, here are just a few:

Emily Saliers: Raised in the Christian church, she's had more than her share of dealing with the gay and Christian intersection both personally and professionally. She's risen above and has lived her truth and is authentic in her private and public persona.

Cyndi Lauper: A champion GLBT ally, this singer partnered with HRC, PFLAG and the Matthew Shepard Foundation for this summer's concert tour, True Colors. The tour is dedicated to bringing people together and raising not only money, but awareness and understanding for GLBT people and issues.

Ellen DeGeneres: Well, duh. She is sure to be nominated every year. Most recently she's brought on newly outed celebrities and reads email from viewers who thank her for bringing a sense of normalcy to the "gay threat". As one email she read said, "for each celebrity who comes out, is one less teen in the ground." Amen.

Amy Grant: Long been controversial and yet consistent with unconditional love, this highly accomplished singer/songwriter is a favorite and a role model to many who were raised in the Christian church growing up on her music. Her duet with Melissa Etheridge and her sense of immunity to conservative criticism is inspiring.

Sharon Gless: This actress was the ultimate PFLAG mom on Showtime's Queer As Folk. At the end of the series, her character was the first as (that we know of) a heterosexual character who connected the dots of the inequality around marriage. Her character wanted to marry her boyfriend but chose not to as she understood that her gay son couldn't marry his boyfriend and felt it'd be, basically sick and wrong to take advantage.

Most shows that have gay characters keep the characters single and hopeless (which helps avoid the gay marriage thing) while other straight characters gleefully marry, never putting it together that getting married in front of gay people who've been together and would marry if they could is a punch in the soul.

Now there's hundreds of church leaders refusing to sign marriage licenses for only some of their congregation and then there's straight allies (Angelina Jolie, etc.) who refuse to get married until it's equal for all US citizens. Imagine the damage to the wedding industry if all straight allies made the same decision? Or, look at how much the travel and wedding industry stands to GAIN by marriage being equal for us all?

I digress...

There's many many others who are very deserving of this recognition and we look forward to the years to award them all. Until then, vote and forward this blog to everyone you know to vote as well. We'll let you know when the poll will need to close. Happy voting!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bishop John Shelby Spong Polarizes Opinions, but Not People

We're finding it rather fascinating the response we're getting from our monthly e-newsletter we sent out today as well as our announcements on our website and blog about partnering with Bishop Spong (be on a call with him live Thurs June 7th 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern). We're aware of the various opinions about Spong's ideas. It's not surprising, how else would a man of his stature have the guts to call his book Christianity Must Change or Die be welcomed in our culture? We've had emails of people saying they thank him for their coming out and staying a Christian, and not killing themselves in the process. We've had others talk about how his theology or lack thereof annoys them. All in all, everyone agrees his role as a bridge for Christians and the gay community is desperately needed and well appreciated. People are grateful for him and what he stands for.

Thank goodness. I'm proud our readers see beyond the drama and disagreements and look at how we are actually all walking in the same direction, for the same purpose. We're learning to appreciate that about each other above all else. Huge sign of spiritual maturity. That's why we love hanging out with you guys and are marking the countdown to the Conference in August which will feature Bishop Spong as one of our many amazing speakers.

There was an error in our newsletter today that we need to correct and wish to apologize for the oversight. We mentioned Gene Robinson was the first openly gay minister ordained by Bishop Spong. Rev. Robert Williams was actually the first. Rev. Robinson was the first bishop. To hear more about Rev. Williams' story, see his book called, Just As I Am: A Practical Guide To Being Out, Proud and, Christian.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mel White on Jerry Falwell

As you know, Rev. Falwell passed away last week. If you've seen our movie, you know Rev. Dr. Mel White and his extensive past (and present) as Falwell's ghost writer and church attendee. GLAAD, who will be running a workshop at our Conference in Nashville August 3/4 (register at the button on the right), posted the video interview with Anderson Cooper and Rev. White about Falwell. Take a look, tell a friend. White is featured in our movie, get a copy on DVD to the right to see what else he said about Falwell and his past.

CNN Anderson Cooper 360: Coverage of Falwell death including interview with Neil Giuliano — May 15, 2007 Link to Video

Happy Monday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yolanda King, MLK's daughter is in Heaven Too

Yesterday was a really crazy day on the equal rights front. Rev. Jerry Falwell, 73, passed away in his office at Liberty University while sitting as his desk. Yolanda King, 51, Martin Luther King's eldest daughter and most visual in following in her father's equality rights vision, suddenly collapsed walking down a hallway after a speech given for the American Heart Association raising awareness to black women and strokes.

Both passed while in their place of passion, in their work and they literally worked until the moment they died. It's hard to grasp why King would go so young. It's curious why God had them go on the same day, especially considering one preached separatism and superiority and the other unity and equality. Two powerful voices silenced at the same time.

Relating to my blog about my friend who died of a rare cancer (This Cubicle Supports Gay Marriage) where I'd noticed there were people around me who recently had lost someone, it seemed in a month or two like a domino effect. In the last two weeks, I've had three friends lose a parent - 2 cancers and a car accident.

It's such a reminder how we don't know how long we have and that's okay. It's okay when we know authentically that what we're doing right now...and now....and now...are the best things we could be doing. We're doing it with passion, with meaning, all the while asking, how can I serve, how can I give, what can I share? As wise ones have said in the past, once we accept our own death, can we really live.

Falwell and King left legacies, they spread consciousness, they were powerful and charismatic. We're not all meant to be in the media spotlight like them but what we do really really matters to those around us and even the strangers we encounter in the post office line. I pray that we use our power, our lives, our words for good, for benefit, out of love. That's the kind of legacy I'd like to leave.

To help remove some of the emotional blocks you might be encountering, strongly consider coming to our conference in August in Nashville, TN. Be there and be moved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Peace and Blessings to Rev. Jerry Falwell

This morning at the age of 73, Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, passed away. It's been interesting seeing the press releases and statements from several LGBT organizations as the census is mixed emotions. People feel a sadness at the loss, a celebration as he gets to know all the answers and dance with the angels, a curiosity of what happens now with Falwell, Robertson and Dobson all of the same mindset on the LGBT conversation and of similar age range.

Hopefully, people don't get scared and emotions coming from that fear of losing their leader create more pain and harm. I'd prefer to feel confident that it opens up the conversation, allows more room to openly talk and allow people to get to know each other without concern of repercussions or having their Christian card revoked.

I really do have faith in people, like Anne Frank, that fundamentally people are good, or at least they are often trying to do what they think is best or maybe even out of love, they just have a really funny way of showing that love.

Falwell was committed, he apparently did what he thought was right in God's eyes, he had a funny way of showing God's love to LGBT people. As he is transformed now, I hope we take the similar opportunity and find ways for our thoughts and actions to transform, to become more of who we are, who God made us to be.

Peace and blessings to Falwell's church and family.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Transgender Runs for Prom King

In April, we had the honor to go to a Fresno, CA reconciling United Methodist church to show the movie and spend the weekend speaking and meeting with groups. We recently learned of some consciousness shifting going on in Fresno and we're excited the student was accepted and validated by gender expression. See the article:

http://apnews. myway.com/ article/20070421 /D8OKLKP01. html

We also recently saw a documentary called Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She, where they talk about the diversity and tapestry of sexual orientation that is absolutely real and prevalent (1 out of 100 people) even though it would SEEM in our culture and media there's only a few random, sinful, rebellious "freaks" amongst us. Ouch. We couldn't be more wrong in our understanding of God's creativity. The realization and findings of orientation variety is yet another way God is teaching us unconditional love for one another as well as gaining courage for ourselves to be who God created us to be. The movie takes us to other countries and cultures, variety is everywhere, to be appreciated and cared for.

If you've ever been curious about what transgender, intersex and bisexual persons go through or who they are, rent the movie. It's on Netflix and from our site, you can click the Netflix link and get a free trial. Plus, any button or link you punch from our site, you're helping support our services. We listed Rev. Deborah's brand new book Your Deepest Intent as well as her previous one The Sacred Yes and the audio version. There's other stuff there too, check it out.

People have asked why our movie is not on Netflix yet. It's because we're in contract negotiations with a distributor so we have to put that on hold for now. Subscribing to this blog will keep you in the know of where and when you can get the movie from Netflix and many other outlets. For now, you can simply click on the right side of the blog and get right now.

The Absurdity of the Argument

Someone forwarded us a link to a scene from Boston Legal that is a great demonstration of the logic and rational we get confused by when people take issue with homosexuality and especially when it's believed that being gay can be "fixed'. Take a listen and go from there:

We also want to share an interview on Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer with Christine Bakke from Beyondexgay.com who's hosting the Ex-Gay Survivor's Conference in Irvine, CA the end of June. Luane and I will be there as part of the film forum and our very own ex Exodus leader Darlene Bogle will be speaking at the conference as well. We encourage you to come, support and be supported.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Talk with Bishop John Shelby Spong Thurs June 7th

So, if you were on the fantastic call with Darlene Bogle and Dotti Berry last Thursday, this is old news but if you couldn't make it, check out the recorded call in our archives.

The big news is our next guest on God, Gays & You is Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong. Having such a voice in the reconciliation movement at our conference in Nashville August 3/4, we thought it was perfect timing to have him as our guest for Pride Month. Spong is an ally champion sticking his neck out to religious leaders by ordaining the first openly gay minister in the Episcopalian church, Rev. Gene Robinson. He's the voice for millions of Christians who do reconcile faith and sexuality and look for ways to be empowered in their church to stand up and speak up about what's right, living God's unconditional love, the basic foundation of faith. His exegesis debates bring thousands. He's currently on a book tour for his new book, Jesus for the Non-Religious.

From Spong's website: He is the author of 15 books including the bestselling Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Living in Sin, Liberating the Gospels, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and his latest book The Sins of Scripture. History will recognize him as one of the major change agents in modern Christianity.

Be sure you're on our e-blast list (sign up right now, look at the right column for the subscription box) to get the phone number and access code to be on the call. Think of a question you'd like to ask Bishop Spong and email it to us in advance. Questions will be asked in the order we receive them so the sooner you send in your questions the better.

It's free to join us on the call. Spread the word to your family, friends and colleagues and get on the e-blast list. We'll talk to you on Thursday, June 7th 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Who (or What) is My God?

Hi guys. There's been a great deal of shifting going on behind the scenes here at God & Gays. We launched registrations for the Conference to be held in Nashville, TN Aug 3/4, our promotional partners at PFLAG, HRC, BeyondExGay.com, UCC Coalition are all ramping up to help spread the word about the conference, we have Pride and UCC Conference showings and appearances coming up in June, we're interviewing PR reps, God & Gays will be showing all around New Zealand this and next month...and there's mass distribution on the horizon that I can't talk about just yet.

All the while, even when things seemed to be stagnant or I can't get someone's attention who would really benefit by partnering with us, or when expenses pile up and the income isn't, I could chalk it up to the life and struggle of the indy filmmaker making passion projects. Before I run to the local pizza place for a job and allow myself to get consumed by worry, stress, lack and fear of the unknown, I've finally gotten to a point where I'm more present in the present and can catch myself heading down the rabbit hole. I snap myself out of it and ask, "Kim, who's your God right now?"

I ask this because if my attention is on the worry, worry has the power of my attention and takes my perspective of reality down that insecure and fear-based route. If I'm paying the bills and focus on the lack of income, that becomes the power, the priority. As a result, I feel like the victim, I get depressed, I get scared. I say, all I want to do right now is get this movie and this conference to the people that need it, the people who will be empowered, who will reconcile themselves and ripple out this courage to overcome and reconnect. All I want to do is work on these projects, make them the best quality, to make a living at doing what I love. At a basic level, no different than what you might tell yourself too.

Then I realized that kind of talk was victim-status. It was the spiritually immature side to me that needs acknowledgment and then healing. By replacing that self-talk with 'who is my God right now', I'm able to snap out of the victim spiral, reconnect with who my real God is and step into that co-creative power.

I don't tell my small God about my big problems, I tell my big God about my small problems. I learned that saying from Rev. Deborah Johnson, she's full of impact-filled statements like these. In her first book, The Sacred Yes, she talks about God's inexhaustible supply and miracles happen where we put our intentions in touch with that supply.

My answer is critical. Who or what will I allow to triumph in my life, moment by moment? Worry? That gives me gray hairs. I don't want gray hairs just yet. Stress? That increases chances of cancer and heart conditions, not to mention digestive issues and weight loss (not in the good way). Lack? That's no fun...and we live in an abundant universe and the Source is inexhaustible. Fear of the unknown? Where's the fun in discovering miracles, divine timing and how cool "coincidences" are on a daily basis?

My answer is God. I wear a necklace that Luane gave me that is a symbol of God as Creator (Om). I touch it when I need a reminder that the Creator is running the show. If I get caught up in making worry, stress, lack, fear God in my life, I'm putting limits to the Good that can come, I'm making myself unavailable for possibility when there's more going on than what I see.

How can I be useful to God if I'm running in mental circles freaking over lack? What good am I to you if I'm stressed all the time? I can't show up for you, I can't show up for God. Isn't that the opposite of what I said I wanted to do?

So, I've finally reached a peace in myself and a self-awareness to do motivation checks and make sure when I'm paying bills, I thank God for the dollars to support the services I enjoy, when I see the bank account dwindling, I surrender and make myself available to hear inspired ideas on what the next action step is and that it'll all be for good, it'll all work out and continue to work out.

I just keep going. Now I keep going in faith and I look for the miracles in my life and my work as reminders of God saying to me, "yep, still here, what's up!" I'd forgotten that this faith is what got the documentary made in the first place. It's truly a miracle the film was made. Now I see how perfect the timing of its release is. There's been no better time in history for this kind of story.

So, you in? Who's your God right now? How's it workin' for ya? If you need different results for something, do something different. Then, you've already broken the pattern, even if it's just one step of the dance, you've created a new result. Good for you. Good for me. Now you're available too.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bill Passes House...Thank you!!

Wanted to let you all know as a follow up to today's blog that the House bill on Hate Crimes did pass and in a big way. Thank you for your prayers, efforts and all you do on a daily basis to help people feel loved, safe and appreciated. For more on the story: Human Rights Campaign.

Hate Crimes Bill in DC Today

In recent weeks, there's been a huge outpouring of attendance, intention, love and debate around the hate crimes bill going through the House today. HRC is involved and so many religious leaders, progressive pastors and congregants have come from all over the country to show their support for its passing. Take a look at it for yourself, see what you think. Encourage your state representatives to do the right thing and make their decisions love-based.

Here's another chance to take a minute and even if it has nothing to do with the deadline your facing at work, getting the laundry done or paying bills, recognize that this legislation directly affects millions of people across the country and it matters that you are involved.

There's only one of us here. Separation is an illusion.

Take a gander at the write up done by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and make your own love-based decision:

This Thursday, the full House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would add victims of hate crimes who are targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity to existing hate crimes statutes. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., has been working since the 1980s to pass similar legislation, and 2007 presents our best hope yet for passing this bill.

Yet extremists on the right are doing everything they can to prevent us from receiving the same protections provided to people who are targeted due to their race or religion. And they’re reaching new lows in their attacks. We don’t usually link to sites like the Traditional Values Coalition or the American Family Association, but this time, we felt you should see for yourself what they’re saying.

Make sure Congress understands that it needs to pass the hate crimes bill — this year. We have been waiting far too long. Contact your U.S. representatives and senators today by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121. And make sure to visit our Hate Crimes Protections 2007 Action Center.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

God, Gays & You with Darlene Bogle & Dotti Berry

With so much going on with the announcement of the Unity is Our Identity Conference, please make sure you've marked your calendars to join us for our next guests in our live teleconference series, God, Gays and You, Darlene Bogle and Dotti Berry.

Darlene Bogle who was an exodus leader for 15 years and did the ex gay thing and managed to not only survive it but become so clear on how "God don't make no junk", she's now out, in a new relationship and authored a new book, A Christian Lesbian Journey to share her amazing story with us all. Make sure you read the Forward when you get the book. :)

We also have the pleasure of talking with Dotti Berry and her partner Robynne Sapp. They were recently arrested at Focus on the Family and there was quite the wild media circus around what actually happened. So, they will tell you what really happened, why they did what they did and we'll make the connection of what Dotti and Darlene have in common.

We'll tell you about a fantastic conference coming up in Irvine, Beyond Ex Gay which Luane and I will be attending and showing the movie. Plus, being on the call, you'll learn first who is scheduled for June's guest. You won't believe it. I'm already nervous just thinking about it.

If you are currently or have been in ex gay ministries or have questions about what they are, etc. email us your questions before the call and we'll find a way to get them asked for you.

Luane and I will be on the call as well and we sincerely look forward to being with you!

Call in information:
Be sure to call in a few minutes early to get in, there's a limited number of phone lines available!
Thursday, May 3rd 5p Pacific/8p Eastern (one hour)
1-641-297-5800 (Iowa)
Participant Access Code: 29862

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Unity is Our Identity

Okay, it is with great pleasure (and pressure off of me to stop leaking information) that I announce we have opened registration for our God & Gays Conference coming up August 3rd and 4th in Nashville, TN!!! YEE HAWWW!!!!

Unity is Our Identity is the aptly titled theme and is from an affirmation written by Rev. Deborah Johnson. This is such a huge event, I get jolts of Red Bull without even drinking it just thinking of the line up. Check it out:

Friday night we'll kick it all off with showing God and Gays: Bridging the Gap, followed by the most amazing Q&A discussion yet featuring many of the people from the movie!

Then Saturday, here's who you'll spend the day with (you'll be blown away):

- Bishop John Shelby Spong
- Rev. Dr. Mel White
- Rev. Deborah Johnson
- Peggy Campolo
- Darlene Bogle
- Mary Lou Wallner
- Malcolm Himschoot (from Call Me Malcolm)

Music throughout the day from Nashville's own Bethany Gaddis and Vermont's Lindsay Carfagna.

Plus! You'll have your choice of break out group opportunities to meet others just like you from all over the country:

- "Conflict Management for the Church and Organization" Clergy and lay leadership workshop with Rev. Dr. Mel White
- "Healing the Sense of Separation" GLBTQ adult workshop with Rev. Deborah L. Johnson
- "Straight and Not Narrow" Ally training and workshop with Peggy Campolo & Rev. Phil Lawson
- "My Family Member is Gay, Now What?" Parents, friends and family members support and education with Mary Lou Wallner and PFLAG
- "Surviving Ex-Gay Ministries" Current and past ex-gays who seek support and alternatives with Darlene Bogle and BeyondExGay.com
- "Gay, Out and Burned by the Church: An Apology" Support and outlet for GLBTQ persons who carry wounds from past harm and pain from religion, lead by Laura Engleken
- "Youth in Alliance" College and high school ages, come and discuss how to be allies in your school, what language to use and GLBTQ youth support
- "Transgender in Action" support and focus on transgender persons seeking unification within themselves and with the Divine lead by Rev. Malcolm Himschoot from the documentary, Call Me Malcolm

And for the Big Finish: Comedy and Concert with Jami Lula, Jason Stuart, Valerie Joi Fiddmont and Jason & deMarco!

For hotel suggestions, visit our conference page: www.godandgaysthemovie.com/conference