Sunday, January 25, 2009

Racial Workshop...and a baby?

This weekend, I've been helping shoot video for a weekend workshop Rev. Deborah L. Johnson is running on the Power of Privilege. She's taking on the hardest and deepest wounds around racism...and connecting them to all the other "isms" in our society...classism, sexism, heterosexism and so on. It's been profound seeing all they all operate under the same fear and how she puts things into perspective and lowers the threats, teaching us to see the big picture, it's been an amazing weekend. She hopefully will release it on DVD soon.

Before the workshop started, Luane and I got a call for a newborn still in the hospital. Luane and I have been licensed fost/adopt parents at the County for just over a year and this is the first time it looks like we'll actually get a kid. We're learning all about he's in the NICU because he doesn't have the natural capacity to know how to suck. He was exposed to meth while in utero.

We've been trained and are prepared to take on this challenge and help him recover sooner than later. We're so excited, we can barely sleep...when that's what we need most of before the critter comes home and owns our nights.

Wish us luck....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Day

I had three favorite parts to the Inauguration today:
  1. Rick Warren's prayer was milktoast, superficial and muted
  2. Obama is now our president
  3. Rev. Joseph Lowry was sincere, humorous (I was waiting for his rhyme to include "And the gay will have his day") and grounded
I watched the ceremony from my office, online. God bless the internet and the addition of streaming video. I had several friends in the million+ crowd and could feel their excitement as I cried while watching Obama swear in. I've never in my life known when the inauguration ceremony was, nevertheless watched it. This one, I couldn't wait for, it was like a concert I've had tickets to for eight years.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inauguration Prayer - Bishop Gene Robinson

The man whom conservatives call the reason for the current Episcopalian church split just because he's honest in who he is, speaks a prayer of unification and oneness for Obama, and all of us...

A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Would You Still Hand Me the Ketchup if You Knew I Was Gay?

Luane and I live, funny enough, in the most religiously conservative part of our county. Everyone's white, Christian, 2.5 kids, suburbans and soccer games. Churches thrive here. There's Christian camps in the woods. The local Peet's coffee even let one of its employees who's a congregant gather donations for her church with a purchase of a coffee. The No on 8 and Yes on 8 battle was quite fierce right in our own backyard.

There's a breakfast place Luane and I go to pretty often where the staff walk up, know what we want to eat and are always happy to see us, no matter how grungy we may look. They don't know our names or what we do for a living, although a month ago our photo was on the front page of the local paper. We look different in baseball caps.

One time we were there, the guy next to us heard me talk about how we were just interviewed for 90 minutes on KGO radio, the #1 radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area. He decided to let us know his opinion on how gay marriage is ridiculous, blah, blah, blah...Mind you, were sitting having buckwheat pancakes, catching up with Luane's mom for a leisure Saturday breakfast out. One would think that's a safe thing to do.

Alas, with our experiences on the road with the movie in some of the most conservative parts of the country, we have become alert at all times for conversation hijackers. Fortunately, we're grounded in who we are, and understand this is a guy wanting to be heard and helped. He's in essence asking someone to help free him from his own thought bondage. Our work is to be part of this experience for folks, so we handled it with compassion....and still it was unsettling for both him and us. But we both grew from it, I'm sure.

The last time we were in the cafe, I wanted to ask the table next to me if I could borrow their ketchup. They were a straight couple, older. I had hesitated in asking them. I just wanted to eat my eggs, not get into it again with someone, as I realized I had become more hyper-sensitive when I'm out about town in who I engage with in conversation since prop 8. Prop 8 had introduced this "neener-neener" mentality where the yes voters felt they had the right to say what they wanted about gay people and marriage. I'm sure many gay people had either gone back in the closet or something similar. Luane and I won't do that, but we're also careful of choosing our battles...we never start them mind you....we never start them.

So, I have eggs, I like a dash of ketchup, the straight couple next to us has the bottle. I have lots of choices, I choose the brave one and ask the couple for the ketchup. They smiled, were very pleasant and we had a nice and polite exchange. I even returned the bottle with my third thank you. Then, I started to wonder in my head...if they knew I was sitting here with my female partner, my spouse...if they knew I was gay, would they have treated me the same way?

I recognize straight people may be blown away that me, or any gay person would actually have questions like this, but I know I'm not alone. We're all a bit gun shy, just in different ways. I pray for the day that I won't have to be looking around our favorite breakfast place to make sure we're in a safe space. I want that for everywhere around the US, and the world. I hope you want that too.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Join the Impact

Yes, we've been away for a while and a lot of life has happened...what an amazing end to 2008. The election, Our Family Matters conference in Nashville, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and a New Year.

Plus, we're still celebrating the exciting news that the DVD is finally in wide release, available everywhere DVDs are sold and rented. This one includes a never-before-released audio commentary with Luane and I...which is funny and packed with behind-the-scenes info on how we made the movie. I had a cold and in the spirit of "keeping it real" we didn't re-record once I was well; we like the raw, in the moment feel like you see throughout the documentary.

Some people have wondered how life was like for us during and since prop 8 and thank you for your kind notes and prayers...for they are for all of us as discrimination rears its ugly head just as it has done once religion gets involved in issuing rights to minorities. All good is coming from this though...if you've not heard of the online grass roots group, check them out and get involved. Often people are left feeling helpless as the Goliaths seem too big to do anything about...alas, the bigger they are, the harder they fall...just look at a history book that hopefully is accurately written.

Prop 8 is asking for us to have conversations, to deal with social equality once and for all. This is our chance to stop the abusive pattern of demonizing a segment of society and continuing the craziness of "us vs. them". It's never worked, it won't, we need to accept we are all one and get over the spiritual immaturity to believe anyone is better than anyone else. So this is my wish for 2009. We're all one, so let's start acting like it. Enjoy the freedom that it invites, the peace, the diplomacy. Have fun today.