Hope

New Ideas

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“Ideas come when we are seeking freedom. We cannot live in a closed reality. We must find new ways of meeting one another so as to become free of the restrictive identities and barriers that keep us apart.”

– Jean Vanier, Life’s Great Questions

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Un-American Dream

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You know some mornings you just don’t even know what to say. You try to get up and be in a good mood. Have a positive attitude. You get on the computer and it takes about 1 minute to lose faith in the world again. Then you remember you are part of that world.

Watched that clip from Trump’s speech yesterday riffing off a crowd goer who “joked” about shooting migrants. Low. Watched his followers have a good ol’ laugh about it behind him. What fun. Knowing so many people who still will walk around unfazed and supportive of him. Depressing.

I was going to write about letting go and letting God support you today. Would love to do that.

You know there are very few people in my life I can actually talk to about what a shitstorm this nation has shown itself to be. Trump supporters either want to laugh it off or shake their heads as if it’s such a shame we can’t all just get along while quietly helping the bad guys win. And while I believe there are no real bad guys I also believe that there is bad behavior. Maybe we should hold a national forum and discuss what we all think “American” actually means because whatever that definition is seems to have been lost in my way of thinking.

Maybe I am just misguided but to me I always thought that America meant more than this country. America to me meant the world. The people who would help the world. The people who would embrace all people. Lift people up. Save people in trouble and defend those who were weaker. I know that’s naive I guess. I know there are always two sides to every story and I know the American story isn’t always clean, cut and dry. What country could claim such a thing?

So this part of the country’s history will be just that. A story. A part that will pass away and we’ll hopefully learn and grow from this. I like to think America will be greater in the long run. I like to think that America will actually remember who we are as a nation or rather who we always wanted to be as a nation.

It’s easy for me to say this is a story that will pass. I’m not a minority. I’m not an immigrant. I’m not LGBT. I’m not poor. I have a family. I have so many things that so many others don’t. Saying this story will pass sounds like a brush off. Should I walk around angry and resentful all the time or just let go and let God? That “let go and let God” attitude is the same one employed by the Trump folks who believe they are on the side of what is right.

So tired of sides. Let’s build more walls though. We need more of those for sure. If we could just label everything good and bad and then divide things up surely at some point we could separate everything and everyone one until finally we could have some peace and safety all alone while all those bad, dark things scratch at the door looking for love.

This is getting too dark. It’s where this is all headed though isn’t it? If you don’t look further down the path each of these “necessary” steps the country is taking eventually puts us in a box. No where to go. At least people will stand for that national anthem though. I understand why some people get so upset about that. It’s their whole life. The reason they did the things they did. I don’t fault them for it. What makes me angry is to see the manipulation of these people using that flag.

Maybe tomorrow will be a brighter day. I still have hope.

Thanks Obama. I mean that. ❤

The Love of Jean Vanier

Since his last birthday I had the feeling that the sad news of Jean Vanier’s passing wasn’t far behind. Didn’t think it would be today. As coincidence would have it I was listening to that infamous sermon “You are beloved” by Henri Nouwen this morning on the drive to work. As I am sure you know Henri was deeply influenced and impacted by the work that Jean Vanier began at L’arche and lived and worked there for many years.

What can I say that you don’t already know? Jean Vanier was an important voice. He spoke endlessly about becoming more human. He not only spoke it but he lived it his entire life. I am so very grateful for the many words he left behind as a reminder and a path to follow.

His view of humanity is just so important. He always spoke of patience, kindness, compassion, gentleness and forgiveness. I don’t often read this but I feel like Jean Vanier was particularly important as a voice for men. I say this as a man constantly trying to evolve in a direction that is more human. A majority of the men in the world aren’t taught to see the world as Jean Vanier saw the world. A majority of the men in the world would never dare speak or live the way Jean Vanier did for fear of appearing weak or foolish. That’s part of why this world is in the mess it’s in right now. If more of us men could learn to be brave without guns and without force and without a need to control the world would transform.

Just to express an idea like that causes me some fear. I recall conversations with old friends or family or co-workers where an exact opposite world of what it means to be a man is taught and celebrated. We are taught to laugh at weakness or softness. Growing up in Texas that male group think was always to ridicule the weak ones or feel sorry for them. Strength and power and dominance and even cruelty was celebrated and patterned.  From how we spoke about sports to hunting to kids in your class at school. I understand now that that way of life stems from fear and weakness itself and I hold no grudges.

You spend a lifetime undoing and trying to rewire that thinking because you just aren’t even aware of what you are doing. When you begin that transformational journey it’s funny how hard it is to find a male role model to lead the way. Jean Vanier was an exceptional exception in my experience.  I hope his light continues to shine for new generations. I hope to grow and follow in his path as best as I can even if I’m just out of the gate and he’s already crossing the finish line.

Whatever Your Tomb Is, You Are Risen

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“Here’s a message you probably won’t hear at church this morning–YOU ARE RISEN, now get the hell out! That’s right, you are risen–not just Jesus, but everyone, all of us, risen indeed. That’s the Gospel, period.

So I say unto you, whatever your tomb is, you are risen, now get the hell out!

Maybe for you it’s fear. Maybe it’s insecurity. Maybe it’s procrastination.

Whatever your tomb is, you are risen. For Christ’s sake, it’s time to leave.

Push away the stone. See beyond your window. Awaken to the universe.

The fire of a thousand suns blazes within you. The bravery of an ever expanding cosmos quakes within you. The beauty of God Herself radiates from you. Just the smile on your face sends the demons trembling in hell.

No more time for weak knees or timid reservation. No more time for rehearsed excuses or bowing to your naysayers.

Whatever your tomb is, you are risen, now get the hell out!

Be your badass gay self. Be your unstoppable transgender truth.

Love the empath within you. Adore the misfit that is you. Embrace the brokenness that haunts you. No more shrinking back, no more conforming to a bigoted world.

No, you didn’t get the childhood you deserved. No, you didn’t get the apology owed to you. No, you didn’t get the life that you wish you would.

Yes, people have misunderstood you. Yes, people haven’t accepted you. Yes, people have hurt you.

Will those be the verses that embalm you?

I say unto you, whatever your tomb is, you are risen, now get your ass out!

The world can’t change without you. The world will never be the same if you’d just be you. Tombs are made for dead people, stop carrying yours around with you.

You are risen, now get the hell out!

Will the song inside of you never get sung?

Will the divinity that is you never be owned?

Will the salvation of another never come in your refusal to fully be you?

This is Jesus speaking, is this microphone on? Whatever Easter is to you, this is what Easter is to Me…

YOU ARE RISEN, now get the hell out!

Grace is brave. Be brave.”

– Chris Kratzer, author of Leatherbound Terrorism

All Kinds Of Addiction

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“As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their “right” place.”

― Henri Nouwen

Every Step Is Grace

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“Grace is like a thread running through our lives that is more than adequate for every circumstance, every detour, and every step we take, and nothing can separate us from this grace. It is never about me. It is never about you. It is always about tapping into the amazing grace of Love.”

– Jeff Blake, Homestretch: This Journey on Grace Street