Monthly Archives: February 2009

Stay in love with God.

The last of the three simple rules?  Stay in love with God.  Sound dramatic?  Sure it does, because having that kind of connection with God, with a higher power, is that intense.  It is pure love, pure joy and trust and belief.  There is nothing quite like that.

My love of God comes from many sources.  Being aware of my surroundings, every moment, in the wind, the sun, the trees speaking to me.  It comes in the miracle of children, watching them grow, learn, enjoying their lives.  It comes through the power of prayer, when I do it silently, or out loud with my church community, and how intimately close I feel to God when I pray. 

It comes in the silence, when I am deep in my thoughts and processing this journey of life that I am on.  It comes when I help or reach out to others. 

God and His presence in my life is beauty and light and hope and redemption and pure acceptance.  Even when I feel doubtful, even when I am struggling a bit with my faith, even when times seem dark or I feel alone, I know that God is with me.  I trust more and more every day in His purpose for me. 

I will always stay in love with God. 

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Do good.

What is it that you offer to the world, to care for it, to nurture it?  What is it that the world needs from you?  In what way does the Universe call for you, and you answer?

What good do you do for others?  I mean, intentional good.  Think about it.  Make a list.

For one of the main reasons that we are here on this earth, and one of the three simple rules is to do good.  Give the good that you carry with you to the world.  There are so many souls out there in the world, lost and wandering, that need the gifts that you carry with you.  Why not share them?

To do no harm, and to do good, are two totally different concepts to me.  For to do good is an active choice; of thought, of heart, of action.  We donate to a charity.  We plant a tree.  We read to a group of children.  We volunteer our time.  We rescue abandoned animals. 

To do good is part of our responsibility in this world.  Because that is truly Ubuntu.  I am because you are.  That means that living my life alone is not enough.  I need to be willing to consider what others may need to get by, and what good I can do to help them along.

I am because you are.  Do good.  Always.

Do no harm

The first of the three simple rules:  Do no harm.

What does that exactly mean?

For me, it means to treat others with respect.  Honesty.  Integrity.  Compassion.  To offer love, not hate.  To seek understanding, not to shut out or reject due to misunderstanding. 

For me, harm can be done as easily by omission of the right actions, as if we are puporting negative, harmful actions.  Either one can create serious damage to others.

I believe that Christian churches that do not embrace those with a LBGT orientation, harm is done.  People that attend these churches, seeking guidance and compassion and understanding, who are then led to believe that they are flawed, diseased, or sinful, are being harmed.  Their souls are being damaged.  To me, that is one of the most ultimate forms of spiritual violence.  And violence to the spirit, to the soul, takes years to erase. Sometimes, a lifetime. 

Harm is done when we are told that we are “loved”, but that our “sin” is what will not be tolerated.

Okay, let me get this straight then (no pun intended…..).  As long as I stop being who I am, that will free me of the “sin” that I am guilty of?

Because, the truth of the matter is, I am not DOING something sinful; sexual orientation is not a set of actions, it is part of my identity.  It is who I am.  Just like a person who has a heterosexual orientation is not a sinner based on who they are, but by their actions. 

What is the difference, pray tell? 

It is the reluctance of some Christian churches and communities to accept us as who we are:  citizens, mothers, fathers, neighbors, workers, and people who pray, live and die in this world. 

By holding onto false beliefs about who we are, harm is being done by these God loving persons. 

So, I strive to continue to educate people about who I am, what I stand for, what the contents of my heart are, and share my love of Christ with them.  And, pray that they open their eyes and hearts to fully see, truly see, who we are.

Reconciliation

I have high hopes.  High hopes for my church and my congregation. 

It is all about reconciliation. 

The United Methodist Church, along with many other churches and religions, have had their own struggles with embracing those of us that are members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.  There are LGBT persons who have either been outright denied membership, and pastors that were openly gay or lesbian that were denied the ability to continue as members of the clergy.  The belief of some in the church, is that homosexuality is inconsistent with church teachings.  For many of us, that is nowhere near good enough for what we are seeking in a church community.

Love, compassion, understanding, embracing us for who we are, and the gifts that we bring and can offer to others. 

So, there is a movement of reconciliation, within the United Methodist church that has been around for quite a number of years.  The Reconciling Ministries Network.  It promises all of us as LGBT members a place at the table, fully embraced and celebrated for the people that we are.

What a blessing, truly!  To think that a group of persons affiliated with a church believes that God welcomes all of us.  And that we can participate fully in a church.  The spiritual part of myself is essential and present no matter if I attend church or not, but the sense of community in a church is something inspires and encourages me.

We have had some terrific fellowship in our small, local Methodist congregation.  But, there are challenges that we need to face there.  The congregation being willing to educate themselves on who we are as people, the oppression and negativity that we have had to face in our lives, our need to feel safety, security, and a sense of connection within our church community.  Seems that it shouldn’t be that big of a challenge, but we are going head on with people’s long held beliefs here. 

Even so, I feel compelled to teach, to help, to challenge them in their own growth.  Just being tolerated has never been, and continues to not be good enough for me.  Gratefully so.  I need more than tolerance.  I need compassion, and embracing, and understanding.  I need to not be loved for who I am, yet hated for my “sin”.  That language separates me from you, not bring me closer.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, had three, simple rules that he ascribed to.  Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.

Could it be any simpler than that?

My sister wolf

 

I am so sad for my sister the wolf today.  On my way to work this morning, in the middle of the highway, I saw a wolf, dead, having been hit by a car.  She looked perfect, lying there, no damage, just still.

I was immediately filled with sadness.

You see, beyond everything else that is important to me:  peace, justice, love, forgiveness, compassion, hope, understanding……. at the root of who I am is my Native American heritage and roots.  It lives within my heart and soul.  It is my identity.  It is more than just a header on a blog page.  My roots are Native, I feel it, I sense it, I am called back to it time and again.  And, the wolf is my totem animal, that which I am in kindred spirit with more than any other living creature.  It fills me up and keeps me connected to Mother Earth and Great Spirit and all that is pure and real.

To see that wolf, lying on the road this morning, filled me with such sadness. 

The wolves, the deer, the foxes, the bear……. all have been here long before us.  Long before we encroached on their lands, invaded their territory, and pushed them into different areas of the country, they were the residents here.  They lived in cooperation with the original humans.  We respected their role in the cycle and circle of life.  We were in harmony with nature, but we also respected the role that nature and living creatures played.  We were influenced by their loyalty to one another…….

Now, we live in fear of these beautiful creatures.  For they also live in fear, so they are more aggressive and violent at times.  So, by protecting themselves, they get a bad rap.  They are to be exterminated for the good of the humans.  They are so misunderstood.

They are not supposed to be in Pennsylvania.  They have been forced out of their native land by humans, so now they are here, and we are afraid. 

I know I should be afraid, but I am sad.  So sad.  I grieve for the lack of understanding, I grieve for the precious lives lost, lives taken.  I grieve for my sister wolf.