Contemplative Meanderings 2: Beauty in being

Music Fields, yanadhyana | 2013

“His eyes are on their ways. They are exalted for a short time, but no longer. They are humbled then gathered in like everyone else; cut off like heads of grain.” – Job 24

One day this will be me too. The harvest come, the scythe swung, my bounty offered up. What will it look like, this life? What will I have to offer — what good toward the world which bore me and the people who bore me up?

A life of pleasure Read more “Contemplative Meanderings 2: Beauty in being”

Sermon on the other side of the mount

The Lonely Mountain, KuroCyou | 2014

We have well traveled this path to the feet of the teacher. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted — blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy. The Sermon on the Mount. The longest text, the crux, of Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament.

But come with me, dear reader, down the other slope. Maybe the following isn’t completely true, for positive statements need not imply their negative corollaries. However, walk with me and note the tracks of other New Testament voices here and there.

 And he opened his mouth and taught them, [probably implying]: Read more “Sermon on the other side of the mount”

Contemplative Meanderings 1: Knowledge like a river

“The River” Limontea | 2011

“Knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds people up. If any think they know something, they don’t yet know as much as they should know. But if someone loves God, then they are known by God.”
– 1 Corinthians 8:1-3

To “know” will always involve something of a struggle in the life of faith, because knowing is a process, not a destination. The sin is certainty Read more “Contemplative Meanderings 1: Knowledge like a river”

Abra la puerta, that fresh new wind is blowing

A teacher forced me to kiss her in high school. She had been grading everyone on their responses to Spanish commands: “abra la puerta” and someone opened a door. To another student, “cierra la ventana.” Then she looked at me and said, “Alano…besame.” I loved the language and excelled in class, but was stupefied and surely misheard. I asked for clarification. “Besame,” she repeated. This was for a class participation grade so, embarrassed, I got up and walked past all my chuckling classmates to the front of the room Read more “Abra la puerta, that fresh new wind is blowing”

The Hate Behind the Nashville Statement

A group of Evangelical leaders released the “Nashville Statement” on gender and sexuality last month, sparking a host of outrage (and the formation of response statements like Christians United). What may be less immediately obvious, however, are the groups behind Nashville’s drafting.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood drew signatories for their release from organizations such as The Gospel Coalition, the Southern Baptist Convention with its seminary and college (Boyce), Together For The Gospel, and a variety of schools, churches, and public figures. The CBMW itself appears to be cross-pollinated by mutual publicity and financial ties to many of these. Notably present within the list of signatories are the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, both deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I sincerely doubt all of the Nashville signatories would agree to the kind of work engaged by the ADF, which has included the criminalization of non-heterosexuality, and the FRC, which defames gays and lesbians. I say I doubt this, because signatory pastors like Francis Chan claim an increasingly compassionate, thoughtful, and loving approach toward those with whom they disagree (whether that’s actually true or not).

However, it could be that the CBMW and its more controversial signatories are not-so-strange bedfellows Read more “The Hate Behind the Nashville Statement”

I tried to pray my sexuality away

File this one under TMI. It’s super intimate and not something I yell at strangers, but it’s just us here so I’ll let you in on a secret:

My faith gave me issues.

As a developing adolescent I routinely heard sexual expression outside of marriage was anathema. Masturbation was an affront to my Creator; only within marriage were my sexual feelings legitimate.

So I prayed. I asked the Source of all living things to kill this part of me, to castrate me in the pursuit of holiness. I created an internal liturgy and recited it for years: remove this from me. Temptation was strong, but I believed God was stronger and could bring me to marriage spotless, untouched. Then marriage would solve all of my problems and, more importantly, validate this deeply meaningful portion of my personhood. Read more “I tried to pray my sexuality away”