Volume 7: Issue 3
Living in Gratitude
Table Of Contents
Cover Story: Living in Gratitude:
So often, we forget to give thanks for the things in our lives because we are too busy pushing and pulling. We are pushing away things we don't want -- despair, debt, loneliness, unemployment, death -- and working hard at pulling things to us that we do want -- happiness, love, contentment, employment, money, homes, life. We cannot fathom a life where we do not either push or pull -- often simultaneously.
Despite my overwrought rhetorical flourishes, the Scripture is still the Scripture and it has something instructive for us all days, and especially the days like the three weeks we D.C. suburbanites experienced in October. Rejoice, pray, and give thanks - not a bad way to live one's life, frankly.
I once, when asked what my favorite Christian holiday was, actually said "Thanksgiving," as I am very grateful to God for so many things. Beginning with the basic things-life itself, my life and all life. Life of those who are close to me and whom I love. The evidence I see of God when I look all around me, the evidence I see of the sincerity of Jesus' teachings that results from putting them into practice in real life, the evidence I see of Spirit in the sacredness of life. The ability to share this with others.
I will continue to live life as fully as this confused spirit of mine, in this strange jumble of molecules of my body, can. But I will do this living in the knowledge and gratitude that the Creator, and not the events in the created, is in control.
One of the seeds was planted by Dr. Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California with his phrase urging us to maintain an "attitude of gratitude." Sound familiar? Any of you who are familiar with 12-step programs, know that it's a key to recovery, as well!
My gratitude is overflowing, even when circumstances don't go my way. But circumstances can be put there for my sake. It's all part of the plan to build my faith, exercise my spiritual muscle, maturity, and maybe even a promotion. It can show me just exactly where I need to improve on my life, my vocation, evangelizing the people God has put in front of me. It expands my horizons, enlarges my coasts, and makes me useful for our Almighty God.
There are faith
alternatives like MCC and Unity Fellowship Church (at
which I worshipped in Atlanta and Brooklyn), but
mainstream Black churches that have policies of openly
welcoming gays and lesbians are rare. My concern has
always been how, as an out, open, up-front Black gay
man, do I participate and worship fully in a Black
I was a different man in 1996. I was very different. I was also
very confused about a lot of things---religion, Christianity, career choices, and of course my own sexual orientation. Looking back on my experiences
there, I can confidently say that I was "in transition." God taught me a lot of things that semester (the only semester I was there) and he had a lot
to teach me that October.
I never once read anywhere in The Bible that countless Christians like myself utilize to discern the heart of God, that the "greatest of these is ..." a righteous or judgmental stance. If being right was measured as being of greater importance to God than loving like He loves - than the life, death, and resurrection of Christ would have never taken place.
It is easy to reject when rejected, since so many of us are rejected by our faith communities. So easy to run too far the other way in our thinking, as if the error of authority figures invalidates our own spiritual existence. Running the other way, many of us fell, not really into pleasure, but joy.
I had and still have some decisions to make concerning my immediate family and the choices they have asked me to make. Yes, I love my family VERY much -- more than anyone would ever know -- but, at the same time for more than 40 years I hid who I was. Now, I have the opportunity of finally living my life the way I believe God intended me to live it all along. What shall I do?
No one ever claimed that all homosexuals were saints; but don't
try to portray all of them as demons. When you continue to parade
these "so-called" Christian-based writers with their anti-gay
slander, you are directly insulting the integrity of my son. You also
are guilty of spreading the hatred that gays and lesbians must
face on a daily basis.
Hundreds of people converged on Riverside Park in Lynchburg, Va., Oct. 26 for "OUT and ABOUT in Lynchburg," the first-ever pride festival in Jerry Falwell's hometown. The following morning 150 people stood in prayerful vigil for four hours outside Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church.
now in trying times. When, or if, the economy fails we could see a return to days when
politicians gained their stature by making examples of
select individuals in the gay-lesbian community. We
need to take on a differing approach and quickly.
As they gazed skyward there appeared a flickering light, almost as if it were a candle. But a candle aloft and burning despite the breeze that had sprung up at sunset? Surely this was a sign, but who had ever heard of such a sign? They hurried inside, debating fiercely with one another as to the meaning of this light.
From the Pulpit:
Being a life long Disciples of Christ member I have always thought that any passage of scripture had to be taken in context to be properly understood. That day I realized how much more "context" is than the surrounding verses in the Bible. I must consider how the first people who heard the message would have understood it. I saw what a dramatic difference it makes in understanding the message.
Bible Study and Inspiration:
Only in God, only in the gospel of Jesus, is found authentic freedom, firm peace and boundless joy. There are aspects of "gay culture" that do not breathe forth life and love and truth, only slavery masquerading as liberation. To have life, to be truly free, we must follow the one who entered Jerusalem in humility on the back of a donkey.
One thing a lot of people don't realize is that baking a cake, planting a tree or even changing a baby's diaper can be considered an act of worship. If the attitude of your heart is to bring glory to God then you are performing an act of worship.
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