Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cross Currents

Of all the things gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians need most right now, perhaps the main need we have is fellowship. Solidarity. Just as the wider GLBT community is fractured into a bewildering array of small and divided fragments, so, too, are those of us who are of the Christian faith.

This new era of progressive reform must include unity, in the midst of diversity, if it is to survive. The recent bad feelings between the gay community and the Black community over California's Proposition 8 have made that clear. In the ensuing storm, Christians who are both GLBT and African-American have suffered from this alienation more than anybody else.

Some friends and I are starting a group, in the Phoenix area, to address the need for GLBT solidarity and fellowship. We're calling it Cross Currents, and we hope it will be a means for bonding and healing between us. We will welcome those of all races and gender identities, and we hope that, if our group is successful locally, this will lead to other chapters being formed elsewhere.

There will be no litmus tests imposed upon would-be members, whether these might be denominational, political, racial or ethnic. Of course those who do not support GLBT equality in the Church need not apply -- again, we seek unity, not division -- but those still struggling to come out and live honest lives will be fully included and supported.

Belonging to Cross Currents would enable members to attend any church they chose, without the fear of isolation and loneliness. Old friends long separated could reconnect, and connections made would not need to be broken as members moved to different churches. Thanks to the Internet, we could cross-pollinate the country as we moved to new locales.

Though we cannot allow Cross Currents to become a "meat market," it would also be an excellent way for singles to find mates with whom they were "equally yoked" in faith. Instead of worrying about whether there were any eligible single women or men at a church that interested them, they could concentrate on finding a congregation that was right for them in every way.

This organization would also help us share important information about developments in the various churches and denominations, both good and bad. It is harder for injustice to be perpetuated when we are not isolated from one another. In unity, there is strength.

While this would not be a political organization, we could discuss and keep abreast of the issues of the day. Individual members would be free to connect with one another to work more actively for social change.

It is our hope that no GLBT Christian need ever be alone again.

I'll post more here as we get rolling. Watch this space -- and watch us grow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Under the Bus..." Aaaaaargh!

If I hear one more person say that President Obama is "throwing gays under the bus," I may scream. I won't throw them under the bus because I'm not a violent person. Besides, I use public transportation, and it doesn't run very well with people under the wheels.

President Obama. I so love the sound of that. I love to say it. I love to write it. Even thinking it makes my toes wiggle with joy.

I can guarantee you I wouldn't feel this way, boys and girls, if I thought President Obama was going to "throw us under the bus." (There -- I got to write it again!)

Why, oh why, is it not enough for some people that President Obama is the most gay-friendly President in history? President Obama has promised that he will be, and he gives every indication of being sincerely committed to keeping his word. President Obama has already stuck his neck out on this to a degree that he can never live down -- even in the eyes of the huge, hairy homophobes the naysayers in our midst think he is so afraid of.

There, I got to write it three more times.

Now, he isn't going to let us push him around. He isn't going to let anybody push him around. That is what so many in our community are really bitching about, but let's stop to think about that for a moment. In a President, that trait is a quality. If he did let people push him around, he would be no good to anybody but bullies -- and we've already had enough so-called leaders like that.

First of all, "throwing us under the bus" is a dumb expression, and it makes us look like idiots when we keep using it. If you want to, try saying something at least a little more original -- like "kicking us off of the bridge" or "holding us under the water." You'll still be wrong, but at least you won't be so damned tiresome.

If President Obama chose to stick us on the back burner (another stupid and very tired cliche), he would probably suffer no significant political fallout from most Democrats for doing so. Nor, however, would he gain any more support from the wingnuts, who will hate him just as much no matter what.

The lesson Bill Clinton's "triangulations" have to teach us is that the wingnuts can never be appeased. They made his administration a living hell no matter how much he tried to make them happy. President Obama is a smart man. I'm sure that lesson has not been lost on him.

The middle-grounders -- especially the younger generation President Obama most needs -- are moving increasingly in our favor. The people who hate us are gradually dying off. More gradually than we'd like, perhaps, but their demise is, nonetheless, inevitable.

So take a pill and chill. Keep the pressure up, by all means. But don't despair. "Waaaaah! He's throwing us under the bus!" is NOT an expression of power. And it only leads to more despair.

If you do succumb to despair, I'll kick you off of the bridge and hold you under the water.

Not really. I'm not a violent person. I'll just say "President Obama" three times, click my ruby-slippered heels together, and keep on hoping and working for change.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cursing the Darkness

I used to wonder how the Nazis became the way they were. Surely they were evil, in a way that normal people aren't. I wondered how it was that I could have been related to them -- however distantly. Had I sprung from a race of monsters?

The past eight years have answered that question. Actually, and with frightening rapidity, we have seen it develop over these last thirty years. As has so often happened over history, we have become what we once conquered.

Those who dispose of their fellow human beings, even professionally, for the sake of profits would -- if asked to -- as easily send them to concentration camps as they would fire them or "downsize" them out of their livelihood. They are "just following orders." And in the process, they have lost all contact with what it means to be children of God.

Listening to their ringleader, their Fuhrer, in his final presidential press conference, I hear an eerie disconnect between power and responsibility. We have surrendered the power over our lives just as laboratory rats give themselves over to the technicians who use and eventually kill them. Our corporate lords and masters feel no greater compunction about making life-and-death decisions about us than those white-coated functionaries do toward those small rodents. Their universe has no room for God. They are gods unto themselves.

We must fight this, just as the resistance movement in Europe fought the fascists of yesteryear. This is the moral task of our age. And it need not be done in hostility or anger; it can indeed be a positive, loving and life-giving endeavor.

If we, as a society, do not pull together now and stop behaving like jungle beasts, we will destroy each other -- and ourselves. Like the Nazis, our oppressors would keep us alienated from each other and from our very selves. We have to give a damn about each other, because a world that is a cold, hard, howling wilderness for others can never be anything better for us. To make a world we want to live in, we must make a world in which others want to live, too.

This is not about making "Heaven on earth," as the wingnuts would claim. It's about keeping the world from descending into Hell.

This is God's work for me -- and for all who would serve God in this world. I need to figure out how to live this mission more completely in my own life. Merely eking out a living -- a bare subsistence -- will never be enough for me again.

Times are tough -- there's little chance I might forget that. But the only way they'll ever get any better is if we all pitch in and help.

We can either light a candle or curse the darkness. But if each of us lights a candle, we can fulfill the mission Christ has given us to help Him light the world.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Left for Dead

What if we simply refused to die, when others were ready to finish us off? Let's face it -- our corporate lords and masters need for most of us to die when it's convenient for them to be rid of us. There are far too many of us to suit their purposes. In the future, corporations will be unable to use most of us as employees; in fact, we've probably already reached that point. They haven't figured out that if they ever did manage to disappear all of us as employees, we'd be gone as consumers, too.

When I was let go a few days before Christmas, my now-former company was, in a very real sense, leaving me for dead. They seem to have figured out a way for our department of four people to be staffed by three, instead. Last hired, first fired. You get the story. Far too many of you are living it, yourselves.

It's clearly time for me to do some serious reevaluating here. Do I intend to die -- conveniently for them -- or am I determined to live on? And what, exactly, does living mean?

I have learned that I cannot let what I do for a living define who I am as a human being. I am a child of God, created for eternity, but forced, temporarily, to live in a world that must make use of me, like a cog in the great, man-made machine, or else cast me aside.

I've never totally accepted that. It makes me a rebel -- a misshapen cog -- and I not only accept this, I now know that I must learn to embrace it.

As must we all. We must refuse, for the sake of our very souls, to crawl off and die when the lords of the corporate empire refuse to recognize our value. We not only need to live -- we need to matter.

The rulers of the world have forced our entire society to the brink of disaster. They are anti-human being and anti-human life. They are also anti-God, despite the pious pretensions of so many of them. It is now clear that unless they are overridden by common sense and decency, they will destroy even themselves.

If no one can afford anything, no one can buy anything. The captains of industry, in their blind greed, are well into the process of impoverishing themselves. This is insanity. In their refusal to recognize that employees are also consumers -- even-two dimensional beings (Heaven forbid they would see us as fully-dimensional human beings) -- they are cutting off their own noses to spite their faces.

Only a system that recognizes the humanity of all people can survive.

I will continue to live a fully human life, in spite of them. I will minister to others, and make my voice heard. I will be of use to humanity -- and to God. I will never define myself as merely a cog in the machine. And I will not rest until I have found an occupation in tune with my vocation.

It may take a while. But I will never forget this resolution. Either the corporate world can find a place for me to be me, or I will gladly go to a nonprofit, to a social-service agency of government, a small company that counts every person in its employ, or a labor organization. God has a place for me somewhere. God has a place for each and every one of us -- somewhere.

They cannot leave us for dead, because though they may have been the source of our living, they are not the source of our life. God made us. And we do not live for the lords of the corporate world. We live for God.

As I write this, my faithful cat, Buster Kitten, lies dying at the age of nearly nineteen. He has been with me, very literally, since his birth. His brother and litter-mate, Punkin, stands vigil over him, meowing his heart out. Animals care more about one another than most humans do. And I care vastly more about my little cat than my former employer does about me.

Together, we can remake this world. There are more of us -- many, many more - than there are of them. We can't degenerate into soulless droids if we insist on living as complete human beings. They are trying to make us -- but we can't let them.

Let's all refuse to die -- and really begin to live.