Saturday, December 25, 2010

Peanut Butter Balls Dipped in Chocolate

Around Christmas I always crave chocolate covered goodies.  I love dipping strawberries, bananas, and cherries.  This year I wanted to add something more to a gift that I was creating for a family white elephant present.  Fruit doesn't do well traveling for over a week, the person who I was giving the gift to is allergic to wheat and we didn't have peanuts so I tried something new.  Here they are.

Ingredients:


2 scoops Peanut Butter
1/2 scoop butter
and Powdered sugar

Mix butter and peanut butter
Add powdered sugar until the mixture is thick.
Prepare Almond Bark or another form of meltable chocolate
Place in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes
Roll mixture into balls and dip in chocolate mixture using a fork, your fingers, a spoon or you can use a toothpick.
Allow to cool on wax paper. You can add sprinkles or chocolate chips to decorate.






You can also dip pretzels, fruit or peanuts into the chocolate dip.  If you get pretzel sticks you can mix them and peanuts to create clusters.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Second Round of Christian Rock Bands


Alright guys, people are requesting music so here is your second round of 13 Christian Rock Bands.  There is no order.  I know that this list could be altered and made better.  I replaced bands and thought of more throughout the process but I had to stop.  I am curious to know what you favorites are.  I do apologize for the lack of older bands.  I didn't really get into the scene until 2005 so I missed a lot of the greats.

My first list - My favorites

1. August Burns Red

2. As I Lay Dying

5. Relient K - arguably pop punk but they are on this list anyway. : )

6. FireFlight

7.Number One Gun

8.Zao




















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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simple Christmas Gift Idea

Bath Salt is a last minute gift idea that you still have time to make before Christmas.  This gift looks great, smells great and from what I have read seems to be the cure all gift.

You will need…
Epsom Salt
Fragrance (essential oils)
Food coloring
And
Some empty jars that can be sealed (I used both a jelly canning jar and some containers from the dollar store with rubber bands plastic bags and ribbon to cover the band)

1. You can either poor the whole bag of salt into a bowl or poor just the amount you need in. I placed salt in the final containers then poured it into a bowl so that I would make just the amount I needed.


2. Mix the salt and food coloring together keep adding coloring until it is the color you want. I used neon food coloring because I knew that I wanted purple and didn’t already have the standard colors. If you have the standard colors, the box will have the number of drops to create the desired color listed.


I made frosting using this green and it was awesome!

3. Add fragrance – If you use oils the mixture will be fairly dry but if you use a liquid fragrance it will be a bit sloppy.  The sloppy slushiness it not a problem but will cause the next  step to take longer.
4. Lay out in a baking pan to dry. I let oils set for about an hour. You just want it to be a similar consistency to what it was before you added the color and fragrance
5. Measure into containers.
6. Tie a ribbon around the top and place in a gift basket or wrap.


To create the layered affect just poor salt into two bowls, adding fragrance to both but color to one.  Then poor into container alternating colors. 


Merry Christmas!

God I pray that we could all have a wonderful holiday 
and time sharing gifts with family and friends 
but I also ask that you would 
help us to remember Jesus and his birth in this busy time.

AMEN!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Prayer

God, I would like to pray for those that don’t know you and don’t know about Jesus. 
I pray that they could find you in this holiday season.
I especially pray for those who don’t have a family, friends or a home. 
I pray that they would feel safe and warm.
Please help people leave their selfishness behind, if even for a day.
I pray for Chino and Daniella as well as Crazy Horse (maybe I will share these stories).
Please keep those on the streets safe. 
I pray for the Rapid City Mission and similar organizations.
Please help the Soup Kitchen find volunteers for this holiday season.
Help those of us who have much to share with others who have less.
I pray for people living with and dying from disease.
I pray for my pastors (Todd, JeriAnn, Brad, Diane, Layne, Jennifer and their families).
I also lift up the prayers of others in this holiday season.
(Please add a comment for a prayer that you have…)
AMEN!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Apartment Building


You guys said that you wanted more art, so here is some of my photography.
Here are thirteen photographs of the apartment building I live in and the surrounding area.  I called this series The Laramie Project.  My husband and I are really enjoying being downtown.  The Connor Apartments used to be The Connor Hotel, a fancy hotel and brothel.  When it was converted to apartments the architects decided to have fun with the residents.  Our apartment has circular archways and our friends have 3 bathrooms and one bedroom.  It is great fun...

1.
 2.
 3.
 4.
 5.
 6.
 7.
 8.
 9.
 10.
 11.
 12.
 13.
1.









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Christmas Star or Snowflake Ornament

A lot of you are asking for art, being an artist this is an enjoyable task...so here you go...  This ornament is simple to create, requires only a few supplies and is low cost. I created each star differently as I made up the design. This process is simple and there is a lot of room for creativity (even error).  




Supplies

Wire about 25 – 30 inches long, 24 gage if possible, 22 will work but is more difficult (you can purchase this at a hardware store).
5 long skinny beads of a similar length. I used paper beads that I spray-painted gold (I have a tutorial for making those as well).
10 seed or glass beads of your choice.
Round-tip pliers are optional.  Round-tip do work better than needle nose priers because they manipulate the wire much smoother.




Tuesday, December 14, 2010

GRACE


This poster is hard for me because I chose to use topics that I am against and raise fairly strong emotional responses.  For example my biological father was murdered by a member of the KKK and in high school my dad's (adoptive/ real) car was bombed in our driveway.  The poster is telling the viewer that "we are called to forgive everyone," even the people that have done this things to me. 

I know that the call to action for this poster is not nearly as as easy to do as it is to say.  I know that forgiveness is a difficult everyday decision that we can actively make.

God, please help us to forgive 
those who sin against us.  
Lead us not into temptation 
but deliver us from evil...
Amen!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't Blame the Dark for Being Dark

I am not saying that people shouldn't or wont be held responsible for their actions.  There are consequences; however, we should not be blaming the victim.  

This is a call to Christians to reach out to others and show the gospel of love instead of preaching and expecting people to understand.

Check out more posters at Grace is a Bit Queer.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Top 13 Christian Rock Bands




”thursday-13″




I have actually seen all of these bands except the last two live.  This list is based on my favorites.  There are many other lists and I was forced to leave many of my favorites off of this list.  I will create at least one more rock one and probably miscellaneous genre list (ska, Celtic punk, and hip-hop)

1. Showbread

2. Demon Hunter

3. The Showdown

4. mewithoutYou

5. Haste the Day

6. Disciple

7. Project 86

8. Underoath

9. The Devil Wears Prada

10. Chevelle

11. Thousand Foot Krutch

12. Norma Jean

13. Oh Sleeper

Who is on your top 13 list?  How would you change mine?  Let me know below.






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Thursday, December 9, 2010

What if?


I have a couple classes where people bash Christians on a daily basis.  It gets annoying because most of these people don't know much about Christianity.  It is also frustrating because our society no longer sees the many great projects that Christians do.  They associate Christian with bigot and ignorant, not graceful and loving.  

What if things were different? 

Check out my website to see some ways that we can make things differenet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hey Fred, God Loves Gays

Read more about this poster and others at my site titles "Grace is a Bit Queer."

If Jesus loved the murderer on the cross next to him, I would be willing to bet that he loves gays as well.  God loves the glutton and the lustful (both of which are addressed in the Bible more than homosexuality.  There is not a person on this earth that has fallen short of the glory of God and there is not a person that God doesn't or can't love. 

It is hard to grasp but God even loves Fred Phelps.
Even though I do believe his hate makes God soooooo Sad.

It is easy to think "God doesn't like that person, or this person because...."  I would argue that God may not like someone's actions, but there is no way that I would argue or could be convinced that there is a person whom God doesn't love.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Separation of Chuch and State

I do believe that the church and its members should be helping people and fighting against social injustices towards others. But there should still be a separation of church and state.

Take a look at my website for more of my thoughts…
Blog post on marriage
Blog post on health care (link coming soon)

Where do you think that this line should be? What should the role of the church and government be in relationship to social justice?








Monday, November 29, 2010

Is Global Heath Care the Real Solution?

Many people are looked down upon when they are opposed to government aid. A girl in one of my classes said that “people who are against health care are stupid and ignorant.” I disagree. This girl in my class could be seen as ignorant because it was clear, as she continued talking, that she had no idea what many people who opposed health care actually think or believe.

There are several reasons for being opposed to global health care (I am not necessarily opposed but I do see it going terribly wrong as it has in other countries). The main reason is that the church should be addressing grace issues. It is not the government’s job to involve itself in people’s everyday life. It is our job as individuals and Christians to be helping the people that don’t have health care.

There is a church in Spearfish, South Dakota, which had several doctors and nurses in their congregation. This church chose one night a week and opened the basement up for free heath care from these professionals for the entire community (not just the church). This is what we should be seeing everywhere. If a church has doctors, financial advisers, artists, tradesmen, mathematicians the church should be using these skills to be help people who can not help themselves.

Making health care a government issue could make situations like this illegal or greatly reduce them. The government could also start regulating more of our medical procedures. I have a friend who was a missionary in Mexico for a couple years. When she had her second child in Mexico the hospital forced her to take drugs that she had previously had the option to in the United States. This is just one example of how government control in our health care is dangerous.

I agree that it is not alright for people to be dying because they cant afford to go to the doctor and that something needs to be done. I do not believe that the government providing global health care is the best option. It may seem to be the most realistic at the moment, but if every one who supports global health care stepped up and helped someone, the need for the government may dissipate and be taken care of.

This is a challenge to the churches in America to start using their resources for people who need it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Body Piercing

I went back into some of my writings from high school and found this quote on a scratch piece of paper from my creative writing class. It depicts the most amazing act of grace that anyone can imagine. Jesus' death was the ultimate example of grace.  Even though we were still sinners Jesus died for us.  We didn't need to change for Jesus (and God) to love us.  If we can understand this, we can better understand grace and how to share grace with others.

Another part of understanding grace is that we it can be easy for people to take grace too far. Grace is not salvation. Grace is also not Christianity, but rather an aspect of Christianity. We still need to remember the truth that Jesus is the "truth the way and the life." Grace does not mean that we are on the way to the father. It does explain how a perfect man would be willing to look past all of the garbage in our lives to see the beauty in all people.

See my website featuring this poster and more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grace is A Bit Queer

The idea for this poster came from my life drawing class.  During a critique the class discussed how the model looks like Jesus.  It was interesting because the model was a friend who happened to be gay.

The text in this poster is jumbled and confusing to represent the contrast between grace and our culture.  Our culture tells us that we should get what we deserve.  If we do good in school we should get good grades, good grades will get us a good job and a good job will get us lots of money.  We earn what we get and nothing is free.

Grace, however, offers a different message.  It is free and we can not earn it.  It is different from most every aspect of our culture.

Grace is queer.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One Reason Grace is Amazing

Grace is not restricted to one culture or language...

Amazing Grace in Cheroke



Flatfoot 56 - Celtic Punk Band - he talks for a bit (about Grace). The song starts at 1:30.
More importantly I was in that mosh pit in 05 (same place).



This video better illustrates my point (that grace transcends to non Christian audiences) but the sound is not as good.  Flatfoot plays at a lot of pubs...




Lin Yu Chun Sings Amazing Grace - WOW this kid is good



Soweto Gospel Chior


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Believe that Grace can Save Lives

How can this one Biblical principal of grace save lives?

A person often chooses suicide because they believe that there is no other choice, there is no hope, they are worthless, no one would miss them, they have nothing to live for or a combination of these beliefs.

Suicide is often a brash decision.  In most cases all it takes to prevent a suicide is one conversation and a tiny ounce of hope.  This is one reason why suicide hot lines are so beneficial.

One example of grace is taking the weird kid in your class out for coffee or sitting by him at lunch.  This would show them that someone cares.

If you decided to talk to this "weird" kid during lunch and get to know him, you could show him that that you do care.  By asking questions about him you can show that you think he is valuable (not worthless).

At the end of this conversation asking your new friend if you can sit by him tomorrow at lunch will give him something to hope for the next day.  They now have a reason to live one more day. 

By showing someone the alternatives side to suicide (and suicidal ideation) you can help save their life.

Let's learn more about GRACE and how to use it everyday to save lives or at the very least, make new friends...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Grace = seeing my own flaws

Sample Poster from my site.
I have recently been working on a project for a class (the next few posts will address my project). The project is in response to looking at the problems within and among GLBTQ communities’ and the Christians communities. I think that many of the problems that strain these relationships result from a lack of two features: grace and dialog. I am choosing to focus on the issue of grace for this project. The project is composed of a website that displays some posters that I have created about the topic of grace.
Grace is such an important topic in our society and Christian community. We should all be working to better understand what Jesus did for us as well as striving to show the grace of God to others.

I was having a conversation with a friend/mentor (Anthony Johnson or AJ) about grace. He explained that when he is having a hard time showing someone grace, he asks God to show him his own flaws. After seeing his imperfections he will often remember a verse such as “we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God.”

(Romans 3:23 or Isaiah 53:6)

If you don’t read anything else from this page, I would like you to take the idea that a gracious attitude toward someone can be as simple as looking at your own flaws first.
 
hey God, please show me my flaws and 
help me to see that we all fall short of your glory and therefore 
we ALL need your grace.
AMEN

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Athestic Satanism and Satan


My previous question prompt:
Even though Satanism claims to not believe in the spirit world or Satan, from a Christian perspective I would argue that they are playing into Satan’s plan for the United States...


Our beliefs do not affect TRUTH.  There are various types of truth (scientific, personal etc.) but I also believe in an ultimate TRUTH (like Platonic TRUTH).  This ultimate truth is not affected by my beliefs or the beliefs of anyone else.  I believe that the fact that Satanists do not believe in Satan, does not mean that he doesn’t exist.  Not believing in him or his demons causes people to not be on guard (Ephesians 6)…
Satanism Documentary
Post Options


One of the ways that I believe Satan works in the United States includes the attempt to convince Americans that there is no such thing as morality and no such thing as a God. We are not as spiritual as other countries (Africa for example). Instead of using demons and possession to attack America, Satan is using an approach that we do not notice as easily. This approach still takes people away from God and I believe that Satan is more interested in keeping people from God than he is interested in being worshiped (although this happens too, and I would guess that he likes that as well). As a society we are beginning to support the John Hick idea of “many paths lead to God,” thus being drawn from the one Judeo Christian God.

I think that Satanism (one specific type of Satanism) in the United States plays into this belief. They do not believe in God, nor do they believe sin. Satan represents the philosophical ideas that they believe.  

Philosophical, Hedonistic, Atheistic, or Neo Satanism Defined  (for these posts I am simplifying the idea of Satanism; this girl complicates it.  She does define the terms well)



4:10 – Defines Philosophy
4:40 – Defines Atheistic and Modern Satism
(5:10 – 8:00 This is the type of Satanism I am talking about and seems to be the most common in the US.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is Satanism

Satanism Defined



Anton Lavey’s Satanic Bible is the origin of LaVey Philosophy. This philosophy is based on the idea that you are your own God. This philosophy adheres to the belief that there is no spiritual world, no heaven or hell, no Satan, no God and therefore no reason to avoid sin (because it doesn’t exist). This group of individuals could also be considered atheists because of their beliefs.

However, there are reasons that they do not consider themselves atheists or humanists. Their name originates from the ancient word Satan which means opposer. Satan can be seen as the ultimate analogy of rebellion. Watch this video for a one minute explanation of why Satanists call themselves Satanists if they don't believe in him.



Some of the ideas that Satan represent include: kindness and love to those who deserve it; vengeance for those who deserve it; indulgence and the animal in man.
This video discusses the 9 Satanic Commandments and the representations of Satan.



Even though Satanism claims to not believe in the spirit world or Satan, from a Christian perspective I would argue that they are playing into Satan’s plan for the United States.

What do you think?
I will respond soon.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I'll Fly Away (Flatfoot56) & Bad Brains

Watch video on YouTube.




Ok so for those of you who don't know much about my music tastes, I think that this song fits me just about perfectly.  I love Celtic punk and old spirituals.

I guess this works because I go back and fourth between a punkish style and more traditional natural (hair) black style.  I am black and white. 

I guess, I should post a black metal band too...

The Video on YouTube


Ok, So which was your favorite?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Violence Against the GLBTQ Community



The Crazy People In Kansas - They are NOT an accurate representation of Jesus.

The Child Should Come First!

This article discusses a 4-year-old girl being turned down from a private school (I think it is Catholic). The school’s reason for turning the child down is that the child will be learning values that are significantly different from those that her lesbian parents will be teaching and these contradictions will be confusing for the child.

I understand that this issue can be seem from purely a social justice perspective; however, what is best for the child needs to come first. 

The statement regarding possible confusion is true.  The conflict could be damaging. The parents would be faced with an extremely difficult task. They would have to help the child understand the contradictions taught to her by her peers, teachers and parents. If the child were older, I think that it would be easier to explain and dialog with the child about these contradictions in a way that wouldn't cause the child to become angry and bitter towards her peers and teachers. The parents would need to find a way to help the child balance the ideas of the family disagrees, the school and the child’s peers. At the same time helping the child gain a respect for her teachers and make friends with the other students. I am not sure that a 4-year-old is old enough to be in this situation.

I also understand the frustrations of the parents and assume that they are aware of the fact that they can not change the schools teachings. I can’t see the parents being happy with the teaching that the child will be learning. This could also lead to future problems between the parents and the school. It would then be the parents’ responsibility not to let these potentially negative interactions affect the child. 

I don’t think that the examples, in the article, for possible rejection are the same as this situation. I am not sure why agnostic or Muslim parents would want their children at a private Catholic school. I also think that the mentioned specific moral beliefs are smaller issues. The parents of a 4-year-old would probably not teach her about abortion, but a 4-year-old will realize that she has two same sex parents and that will surround her every day at school. People will ask her why she has two mommies and she will not understand (the same way I didn’t understand when kids asked why I had two white parents).  I would not have wanted to be in a school that taught interracial marriage was wrong nor would I want my parents to put me in this situation.  It would have confused me more than the contrasts I was surrounded by already did.  (Listen to my "I Believe in Stories" essay to hear about some of the very basics.)

From the given information, I do have to side with the school because the confusion could be damaging to the child; however, if the other school options in the are dangerous or are likely to cause more significant problems for the child, I would change my opinion. I could also be pursuaded if the other schools are significantly worse. But I do believe that the politics and the parents should not be the focus; the child needs to come first. As the child gets into high school a catholic school could be a much better fit. High school is a good time for kids to learn about social justice, finding who they are and to begin fighting for their beliefs.

I would love some responses as to why a 4-year-old would be better off in the situation (not why it is unfair toward the LGBT community, which I agree is is. The same a school rejecting me based on the grounds that I was the product of an interracial marriage).  There are a couple possible ideas that I can think of that definitely apply to older kids, but I want to hear them from you.

Religion Blog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Black Liberation Theology and the Gay Community

This NPR interview helps the listener to understand more about Black Liberation Theology by interviewing James Cone, the main theologian. Cone was writing largely in the 60s. He striked a respectable balance between all that was going on. There is a little Malcolm, MLK Jr. and a little panther (but not too much).

The interview begins by defining Black Liberation Theology. This theology sees God as concerned with the poor and the weak in society. The thology comes from the black community so it is called Black Theology, however, it is not just for blacks. It represents concern for every one who is poor, weak and oppressed. It sees justice for the poor and weak and believes that we were not meant to be slaves or to be exploited. Cone believes that God takes the side with the poor and the weak

The interview discusses the origins of the theology. This denomination of Christianity was inspired by MLK Jr. and Malcolm X. Malcolm contributed the black identity aspect of the religion and King represented the Christian aspect. Cone simplifies this by explaining that king taught us to love our enemies, but Malcolm taught us to love ourselves first.

Leaving the argument of whether being gay is a sin or not behind, it seems that Black Liberation Theology would relate to the gay community the same way it does to the back or any other oppressed people group. There are many similarities between the black struggle and the gay struggle and I realize that , the GBLTQ community hasn’t experienced the same struggles that the black community has, I still believe that God is their God and he wants them to be a part of the same body of Christ (Rom 12).


Versus or stories that Cone references
Exodus out of Egypt – deliverance from bondage is a central theme
The prophets (Jeremiah, Amos, Isaiah, Hosea Malachi) – all spoke for the poor/weak
ex. Let Justice roll down like water and righteous like an ever-flowing stream (Amos)

Verses Against Segregation
In Christ there is not male or female, no slave or free we are all one in Christ Jesus (Paul in 1 Corinthians). 
Out of one blood God has created all people (Acts 17)

Cone Quotes
“The Gospel is not about what happens when you die.” James Cone
“We are God’s children and not someone else’s maid…or janitor.”

My Suggested Readings
Strength to Love – MLK Jr Sermons, I am currently reading this - Maybe I will post on some of the sermons some day.  If you have never read theology or black theology this is a good start for both.  Simple, true, intelligent and bold.
Black Theology and Black Power – Cone, I read this one about 4 years ago. This book influenced many of my social justice beliefs.  That is a whole different topic.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A different Approach

**This reading is the story of a pastor, Jim Pace, at Virginia Tech. Pace decided that it was time to start taking a different approach when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. Pace was sick of the misconceptions, judgments, and ignorance that others often direct at Christians. Pace worked with a group of the leaders to come up with an idea that could help bridge the gap between the GBLTQ community and the Christian church.

The story shows the pastor beginning to understand more of the problems that the GBLTQ community faces. He learns from individuals as well as God. He gains wisdom on the topic and how to address the topic without giving up on his own beliefs.

The story begins with a lot of hate toward the Christian community and misunderstanding from both sides; the story ends with a pledge where both sides agree to stand up for one another when people are being ignorant. This makes it seem like there is hope for Christians and the gay community to get along and defend each other, even if they don’t agree.

One frustration the Christian community faces is the choice of “either denying civil rights or condoning clear sin.” This is a frustrating position to face. It is even worse when the groups are accusing you of being bigoted, ignorant, unintelligent, irrational and hateful. In my opinion, this story is a good example of how the two groups can get past their own prejudices and see people for who they really are.

I didn’t expect the stories on the Exodus website to be as positive as they are.  Most of what I have heard is from the GBLTQ community and extremely negative.  I have not looked at the whole site but many of the stories that I have read are from loving people who are just trying to do what they believe is right.  This specific story was honest and uplifting. Both groups involved ended up better than they were before. They are now better and more informed individuals and they have gained support from unexpected individuals.

**If the direct link doesn't work go to ExodusInternational.org and find "Read some real-life stories"
under "Youth."  Select "Pastors and Counselors," then select "A Differnet Approach."

Pace, Jim. “A Different Approach.” 2005. Exodus International. Nov. 1, 2010. [www.exodusinternational.org]

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Obama on Gay Marriage

Another Obama Video


Obama on Gay Marriage (under 2 min) This is the video that I will mostly be commenting on.
Sorry, embedding this video has been disabled.

I understand the concern with separate but equal, but a large part of choosing a church is chooseing a church that you are comfortable with. I don’t want to be in a church that doesn’t support interracial marriage and I would not want to be married in a church that doesn’t believe in interracial marriage. I would want to get married in a church that I am a member of and have relationships with the other members.

Civil Unions and the rights that go along with a government based commitment or union should be upheld in a same sex marriage a sin a traditional marriage. However, churches should not be forced by the government to marry a couple. Some churches have rules that only members can get married in the church and others have rules about only a certain pastor can marry a couple in a church.

It seems strange to me that someone would want to get married in a church that doesn’t support you marriage or by a pastor who doesn’t believe in your marrage. That is not anyone’s dream wedding.

I like Obama understand that in Wyoming my husband and I could not have gotten married in Wyoming thirty years ago because we are different races. It makes me sad to know that if he were in the hospital I would not be allowed in, it also makes me sad that we would have experienced issues with insurance.

I am not sad about the people who don’t think that we should be married as an interracial couple. We still could have had a ceremony that represented our relationship. I would have wanted my wedding to be in a church surrounded by people that supported us as a couple and individuals.  There are several churches within the LGBT community. These churches would allow a gay wedding. The wedding is the celebration. It does not need to validated by anyone. The paperwork aspect is the part that is recognized by the government and that is the side that the government should focus on

It could also cause many problems if the government started controlling the churches and telling the churches what to believe. There is a reason for the separation of church and state. It is dangerous when a government tries to control most aspects of everyday life.

I guess, I think we need to pick our battles and not expect the government to fight them all for us.

Another Obama Speech

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Can You Really “Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner”

My friend was wondering if it really is possible to love the sinner and hate the sin, if a persons actions are such a huge part of who a person is. My simple answer is “yes, you can love someone that you disagree with.”

I have experienced this many times in my life. I worked at a residential treatment facility. Some of the kids that I worked with had beat up siblings, raped siblings and other people. They attacked me and other staff on a regular basis. I don’t believe that these behaviors are healthy or beneficial. I can honestly say that I hated the behaviors and loved the kids. Not only was it the children’s behaviors but often times mental conditions such as Anti-Social Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, or Schizophrenia. The disorders were a part of them and their lives. I hate Anti-Social Personality Disorder* but not the girls. I still go back and visit them. I go back because I miss them. Some of them still have these same problems but I can still say they are all great kids.

Another examples is my best friend. I love her more than everyone but 4 people (my husband, parents, and grandma). My freshman year of college and her senior year of high school she did a lot of not so smart things. Many of the decisions she made were not positive and they hurt her in various ways. I didn’t like her choices, they made me sad and sometimes angry. Through it all she was still my best friend. She is still my best and was a bridesmaid at my wedding.  Just as a side note she is currently producing some rockin-awesome graphic design work.

In my life, there have been many more examples of not liking a person’s actions or their choices but still loving the person.  I do think that the phrase is a bit trite, but I do think that the concept is possible.

**I would not consider any of these disorders a sin. The actions that these disorders lead to would be i.e. Anti-Social Personality Disorder is common in many serial killers.

Video
We are not arguing the same point and at times, I think we would disagree, but I thought he had some good things to say.

This guy makes a lot of good points.
His Blog

1:44 Love is patient…You are patient with the crap in other peoples lives. You don’t have to love the actions that people make. You should be patient with an alcoholic family member while still guiding them.



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gay Culture and Stereotypes


This image is interesting and humorous because of gay stereotypes, but where did these stereotypes come from? I understand some of the basic interactions and categories (based on stereotypes) that members of the GBLTQI community fit into. There are butch and femme and metro and queer and more.

This is one aspect of the GBLTQ community that I don’t understand much about is how the culture evolved. Where did the stereotypes come from? Why do butch lesbians cut their hair short and why do gay men do the hand flick and have a lisp? Why do queers dye their hair purple, green and pink at the same time?

Did these characteristics come first and then the terms to describe these people come later? Where do new sexualities come from? Are they just invented or better defined over time?

I know that not all people fit into these categories but I do want to know the origins and history of these stereotypes and when these cultures came to be (or words to describe them came to be).

Does anyone know or have comments or ideas?

Link to the Poster

Saturday, October 23, 2010

President Obama: It Gets Better

President Obama: It Gets Better video



After the recent suicides of young people, there have been a ton of “It Gets Better Videos.” These videos have been created by hundreds of YouTube bloggers as well as famous individuals. They address depression and ultimately tell people that things get better. They offer today’s youth the hope that they might not have.

The most recent video can be found at the GLSEN Blog, The White House Blog, my blog and YouTube. In this video, President Obama addresses these suicides.

Obama uses a personal approach that most everyone can agree with. He relates to various groups. He talks to all parents by explaining that he has two daughters. He also explains that he understands what it is like to be different and not fit in.

He then addresses the kids in a bullying situation and tells them that they are not alone and that the bullying or the negative feelings are not their fault. He reassures people that there are many people you can reach out to and they are not in this by themselves. He takes this reassurance one step further and encourages today’s youth to reach out and get help.

He concludes by talking about a world where our differences are seen as strengths that we can all be proud of. This America is a place where we are equal and have the right to respectfully speak our own opinions.

In this short video Obama is able to captivate most every American’s emotions. He addresses all of America, by showing them the problems of today and what the future can look like if we all take action.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2009 National School Climate Survey

There has been some controversy regarding GLSEN’s Safe School Act. The Safe Schools Act requires that schools specify LGBT youth in their anti-bullying policies and curriculum. Many school acts do not include a lot of detail. This is because not all school have the same strengths and weaknesses. (Although the act doesn’t explain this part well, it would encourage some school to add extensive LGBT topics to the curriculum.)

Some parents are worried that their children will be forced to learn that a homosexual lifestyle is acceptable. Parents who do not agree with this may not want their children to be forced to learn the material. The other side of this act is that the bullying of LGBT youth needs to stop. The act itself isn’t that threatening, but some of the programs can be. Regardless of which side I agree with, I do see valid points for both issues.


2009 National School Climate Survey: Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT Students Experience Harassment in School is in support of GLSEN’s Safe Schools Act. This article gives statistics and a brief explanation of why various aspects of this act do help schools. The percent of LGBT students who are bullied is over 80%. When the school has a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) as a student organization many of the homophobic remarks and victimization of these students is decreased.

In response to the article, it seems clear that there should be at very least some sort of GSA or other organization that is specific to the needs of the LGBT population. I do understand the parents concern; I also believe that it should be the parents’ responsibility to guide their children and explain their beliefs and origins for them. Kids learn many ideas that many parents don’t want their children learning. It is also the responsibility of the parents to teach their kids to be respectful of all children at school. If the act were implemented, parents should be able to explain to their children that bullying is wrong and that aspect of their school lesson was good but also explain their views on homosexuality if it differs wit that of the school.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Print and personalize

These posts are items that you can print and fill in your own information or your friends names and give out or keep.  Just some fun resources.  They are great for a camp counselor or youth group leader.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Truth is Truth is Truth

My husband and I recently discussed the idea of judging others before we get to know them. More than just judging them but judging their beliefs.

The end of the conversation was interesting because my husband was able to put the conversation, and the point that I was trying to make, into perfect wording. “so, what you’re trying to say is that we should recognize the truth in all belief systems before we judge them.” Even though I believe that truth and wisdom come from God, I also believe that the same truth can be expressed through various terms, and wisdom can be possessed by non-Christians and Christians alike.

We can better ourselves through understanding others’ wisdom as well as learn more about our own. Another religion may not include Jesus being the one and only savior, but that does not give Christians the right to devalue the wisdom from the belief system. The same would be expected of a non-Christian in regards to the Christian faith.

We all should be able to respect and understand someone else’s belief without believing it. Unfortunately humans seem to have a hard time with that. The ignorance goes both ways. You hear Christians disrespect other beliefs all the time and I can promise that I have heard non-Christians mock and bash Christian beliefs on a regular basis.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Processing Posts

When trying to make sense of an issue or topic, I need to process.  My processing process often comes in the form of verbal diarrhea.  It may not always make sense, or be a completed thought.

When I am given a problem to solve I tend to look at it from several angles. I argue various viewpoints. Some of this ideas may be used as stepping stones for larger ideas. Some I may agree with or disagree with. I really just like to process and argue various points and issues. It's how I work through things.

My first group of processing posts will be on the subject of homosexuality (and other GBLTQ issues).
I would also like to address Black Liberation Theology and some other social justice oriented themes.

Edits in red...Since I have addressed specific religions and denominations....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Response to How Can You Be Sure That God Loves You?

How Can I Be Sure That God Loves Me?  Soulforce.com video and video.google video
By: Reverend Mel White

In this sermon, Mel White begins by explaining how Universities (campus ministries) and Christians are the two groups that show the most hostility toward him and his partner. At one of these Universities a young gay boy went up and asked how Mel White was “sure that God loved him.” White begins to explore various ways to explain God’s love. He addresses science and history and decides that neither are going to help this boy believe that God loves him. White then addresses the possible ways that the Bible has been misinterpreted and concludes that this will not help. Maybe the person of Jesus will help people understand God’s love.

White then decides that the life and actions of Jesus will help prove that God loves gay people too. Jesus loves all outcasts. Jesus was an outcast. He was born an “illegitimate child to a teenage mother.” He was poor, homeless, an illegal alien (in Egypt). Jesus was a person of color. He was headstrong and disobedient and “made the radical right church leaders of the day every time he spoke.”

Jesus not only was an outcast but loved the outcasts. White discusses several well known New Testament stories in which Jesus interacts with outcasts and sinners. These stories, all based on loving the outcasts, included Jesus turning the tables, the bleeding woman who touched his robe, the centurion, and the Samaritan woman.*

The sermon did a wonderful job of showing that Jesus loved and died for everyone especially the outcast. God made everyone, even those who are seen as flawed by society, and God loves every single person on this earth.

More Soulforce.com videos 

*Maybe I will discuss some of these stories in more detail.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Believe in the Power of Learning New Stories

This I Believe was a project that was started several years ago to encourage a variety of people to write.  Some of the essays have been played on NPR and CBC.



I Believe in the Power of Learning New Stories.

I will post more links to other peoples audio essays and maybe discuss them a bit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Letter From God

My child (use your own or a friends name),

I love you more than anyone else ever could (John 15:1; Romans 5:8). I created you and formed your physical features myself. I didn’t miss one detail nor did I make any mistakes and I continue to fashion you today (Psalm 138:8), for My work is perfect (psalm 139:13-16; Deuteronomy 32:4). Even before you were born I adopted you for My very own (Ephesians 1:5). I’ve given you My most prized possession – My Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:32). Indeed you are very special to Me and I enjoy being around you all the time (Psalm 16:3; Hebrews 13:15).

I accept you exactly as you are (Romans 15:7). Don’t believe what Satan the father of lies tells you (John 8:44) – in My eyes you are as beautiful as My Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Remember this – He had no stately form or majesty that caused people to look at Him. Nor did He possess physical beauty or an appearance that would attract people to Him (Isaiah 53:2). In fact, his appearance became disfigured beyond human recognition and yet He embodied all the qualities which reflect My character (Isaiah 53:14), which I am pleased to develop in you (Colossians 1:19; Hebrews 13:1).

In this way I have sought to make you happy as you derive satisfaction from My likeness that is growing within you (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galations 4:19). Do not compare yourself to others because I have made you unique (2 Corinthians 10:12). All the physical features, abilities, and background that I have given you play a special part in shaping you for My plans (Exodus 4:11, 12). The world chooses on the basis of beauty and talent, but I choose on the basis of the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). I have given you “thorns in the flesh” to teach you to depend on Me (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) and to remind you to Whom you belong (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Remember, don’t look to others to determine your beauty for you are desirable in My eyes (Psalm 45:10, 11). Come then, let us, you and I together shame the wise and the strong (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Love you,

Your King (Psalm 45)

Homosexuality and Christian Faith: A Theological Reflection

Homosexuality and Christian Faith: A Theological Reflection is an article written by a Christian theologian, Theodore W Jennings. His main purpose to provoke analytical thought about the issue at hand rather than to determine the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality. Jennings is good at not addressing morality but instead focusing on the meat of the various arguments and ways that people can view homosexuality. Throughout the majority of the article he neither condemns or condones homosexuality, but rather is seeking to help the reader understand.

The article analyzes basic arguments involving the relationship of the homosexual to the church. Some of these topics include the Levitical laws, temptation, morality, procreation, sexuality, marriage, celibacy, procreation, family-centeredness, obedience, freedom, obedient freedom, identification with the outcast and poor and the concept of the other.

The article concludes by stating that this writing is “only the outline of a position – and it is also very much a position ‘on the way.” He understand that these arguments need correction from both the “Judeo-Christian heritage and from a better understanding of homosexuality.’ More importantly these corrections can only come from discourse between the two groups.

I have always had a passion for philosophy and theology. Most Christian philosophy that I have read is extremely biased, without the author stating his obvious biases. Instead of addressing biases as truth, Jennings addresses them at the beginning. Several times throughout the reflection consciously throws out his biases.

The article was extremely interesting and thought provoking. Jennings accomplished his goal with this writing.

P.S. I think this will be the first of several responses to this article. I would like to comment on several of the sections and ask you opinions on several others.