Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Freedom, Inspiration, Jesus

How Many Gays Have to Die?

Today, I write this blog with a heavy heart.  Two men that I have had the pleasure of knowing died – one from suicide, the other from the complications of addiction. The common denominator in both of their deaths was a lifetime of trying to suppress the deepest longing of their soul which was to love another man.  My purpose for writing this blog today is to ask the question, “How many gays have to die before we, as a culture, change our attitudes around homosexuality and other expressions of sexual orientation?”

marriage equality

Rolling Stone Magazine in their expose of the anti-gay culture in the Anoka-Hennepin School District said the following about suicide among gay youth:

“Suicide rates among gay and lesbian kids are frighteningly high, with attempt  rates four times that of their straight counterparts; studies show that  one-third of all gay youth have attempted suicide at some point (versus 13  percent of hetero kids), and that internalized homophobia contributes to suicide risk.”

(Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/one-towns-war-on-gay-teens-20120202#ixzz2jg5NYqi7 )

Of course, not every homosexual turns to alcohol, drugs or suicide as a means of repressing their truth.  Many have the loving support of family and friend, adults in their lives who have modeled an open and empowered homosexual lifestyle, religious institutions that honor all spectrums of sexual orientation as divine gifts, and some have the inner strength to embrace their orientation and live it freely.  But even for these men and women, the journey is not easy.  “Homosexuality is not a choice,” I have heard many of my gay friends say, on the one hand acknowledging the genetic and biological nature of sexual orientation and on the other hand, suggesting that the road might have been easier if God/dess had decided to make them straight.  I propose that the only reason the latter might be true is because our culture continues to uphold heterosexuality as the norm and as the “right” choice.  Anything that differs from this “norm,” is then questioned, and most often condemned.

But the fact remains, homosexual people are dying because we live in a culture where homosexuality is judged as negative and condemned, most often, as a sin.   Gays are dying because they do not have the affirmation, validation and support they need to be the person God/dess made them to be and because it is a battle to find the support one needs to identify, embrace and live ones truth.  Then to make matters worse, there are the so-called Christians hurling judgment and condemnation at homosexuality as being depraved, evil and the work of the devil, crafting their beliefs in a way that  justifies their condemning and hateful attitudes and actions against homosexuality.

This needs to change.  First of all, people need to stop using Jesus as the excuse for their fear.  In none of the gospels does Jesus address homosexuality.  In fact, on this topic, he is quite silent.  Secondly, we as human beings, need to stop fearing what appears to be different or what seems to stands apart from our own personal experiences.  Third, we need to be willing to listen to our own truth and move through the fears of living that truth – when we are denying our own truth, it is easy to project that shame outward on to others.  It is not a surprise that often the loudest anti-homosexual and anti-gay voices are from those who are suppressing their own latent homosexuality or who at the very least are attempting to compensate for their own fear in an unsure world by creating tightly-held definitions of right and wrong, good and bad, saved and condemned.

The bottom line in all of this is that instead of being fearful of our own truth or the truth of another, we need to learn how to LOVE – to set aside the perceived separations within ourselves, between each other and between ourselves and love.  When we set aside perceived separations and realize the truth of oneness, we REMEMBER that love is our very nature, and that there is, in truth, nothing that can separate us from this love.  When we know the love that we are, we have no choice but to be loving and compassionate toward those we might initially perceive as different from ourselves. Furthermore, when we remember the love that we are and remember our oneness in love, we discover that each and every person is a unique expression of  love in the world, and we learn to honor each other as holy and sacred in our own right as individual manifestations of this love.  Beyond simply knowing this, we then reach out a hand in friendship with the goal of understanding and coming to know the unique magnificence of each human being. This, above all, is my prayer for the world – that we remember this love not only for the sake of homosexuality, but for the sake of all we might be tempted to judge as different based on the color of our skin, our gender, nationality, religious beliefs, etc. etc. etc.  In the end, it is all love, and love is all there is.

In closing, I offer a prayer of healing and comfort for the family and friends of these men who have died and a prayer of hope and support for all the men, women and children out there who are coming to know their sexual orientation and my wish that they find the love and support they need to embrace their truth and find ways to live it freely in the world.

Posted in church, Raised Catholic

Why The Catholic Church (as we currently know it) Must Fall

Danger:  If you are clinging to the current form of Roman Catholicism….you might not want to read today’s post.  Change is a comin…..and the invitation is to step aside, let the carnage fall where it may, then watch as the phoenix of new life arises from the ashes.  In order to do this, we need to let go of our attachment to what we know and have known the Catholic Church to be and to be open to something new and unexpected.

 

The Sex Abuse Scandal is NOT Over

Last night I was at a friend’s house reading the latest issue of Rolling Stone Magazine which features an exhaustive investigation into the Catholic Church and the sex abuse scandal, specifically, the secret sex crimes files.  (here’s a link to the article:   http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-catholic-churchs-secret-sex-crime-files-20110906 ) In the article, New York Archbishop, Timothy Dolan (formerly of our own Archdiocese of Milwaukee), was quoted as waving off the priest sex abuse scandal and saying, “That’s over with.” Are you flippin’ kidding me?   OVER With ?????  I realize that the Catholic hierarchy burying their heads in the sand is not new information….but really?  The priest sex abuse scandal is over?  NOT HARDLY!!!!!   In fact, is has only just begun.  What Dolan’s response illuminates to me, however, is the very reason that the Catholic Church (as we currently know it) will and MUST fall.  As long as the hierarchy clings to denial, self-protection and defense, the issues that created a culture in which priests have been allowed to sexually abuse children will never be dealt with.  Change and reform will NOT be coming anytime soon from the old-boys club and for those of us in the pew, we’d better just get used to this idea.  Instead of authentic reform, we will be pummeled with distractions – liturgical reform, investigations of women religious, new translations of the Roman missal, new guidelines on music, the restoration of vestments, vessels, etc. that set the priest apart as “more special” than the rest of us, hard-line insistence on upholding “the one true faith,” coming down on issues of morality, setting the Catholic Church apart as “better than the rest.”  Vatican II has been set aside in favor of a Church that wants us to pray, pay and obey (which is ironic considering the current state of the hierarchy) and keep our mouths shut!

You Don’t Have to Be a Prophet

You don’t have to be a prophet to figure out where this is all leading.  The Institution cannot keep up the facade of giving a damn about the sex abuse scandal forever.  We are not that stupid.  As secret files emerge and more charges against priests are made, it becomes painfully obvious that nothing is being done and nothing will be done to heal the wounds or work toward authentic reform.  The Institution has nothing to gain and everything to lose by owning their own sins, holding themselves accountable and working toward change.  In the meantime, all the work of creating distractions does nothing but create disillusionment and frustration in the hearts of those who want to see a happy and healthy Catholic Church (I count myself among those people).  In the end, what the Church will be left with is a flock of blindly obedient members content to look the other way as priests continue to abuse while those who want a healthy church will simply walk away….either retreating to private devotion or finding refuge in another denomination, while secretly pining for what they had to leave behind in the sacraments and rituals with which they had previously found comfort.

There is Good News

I know that I can tend to be uber-cynical and perhaps a little jaded when it comes to issues on Roman Catholicism, and I own that.  I found that working in the Institution does one of three things: creates bureaucratic puppets, frustrated reformers or jaded cynics.  I guess I fall somewhere between the latter two.  That being said, I boldy and passionately LOVE many things about my Catholic faith.  And….I am a 100% Vatican II baby and believe in the authenticity and vision of that council.  I want to see the reforms of Vatican II fully manifested in the Church and I look forward to seeing what the Holy Spirit has in mind for Vatican III.  I believe in the redemptive action of the Holy Spirit and I believe that even in the midst of what seems like the imminent death of the Institution (as we have known it) that something new and magnificent will rise from the ashes.  And while there is grief in witnessing the death of what I have known, it is in the on-going redemptive and life-generating action of the Divine that I place my trust, knowing that something new and wonderful is coming to pass.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com