I thank you G_D for the Rainbow! And for every youth who has survived public or private schools, homophobic homes, heterosexist families, churches and societies. I am grateful for the code of the Still Small Voice Within Desirous of Just “A Safe Place” in which to be while growing up into a world telling you “you don’t belong.” I am thankful for the struggle of every youth who did not survive childhood, be they so-called straight, gay, lesbian, bi (sexual or polar) transgender, asexual, simply late blooming or just “different” — anywhere on Nature’s Continuum of Diversity. Most likely, if they felt a pubescent intensity over being the slightest bit different, they were led with similar intensity to believe they were quite repugnant to all others, and doubtless quite alone. To those who have felt all alone, those sacrificed on the altars of homophobic religion, and those still struggling, to those who don’t feel that they fit in, or have a sense of not belonging — to you, I especially dedicate my words. They live for you.
I thank you GOD for the Rainbow! And for this Collaboration that transcends our individual Callings, our participation in Nature’s Glory. May G_d be praised. May we through Whosoever minister to the needs of those on the fringes of societal acceptability, especially in a world tending toward telling each of us out here “you are a stranger who doesn’t belong.” I am thankful for Whosoever and all Truth which challenges the big lie and the closets of our invisibility, while celebrating our variations and gifts that we offer.
I thank you G_D for the Rainbow! And for your and All Unconditional Love – S/HE which saves me from the stigma of mental illness and immorality that some people still associate with persons of same-gendered, bisexual, and transgender human identities. (I’m thankful to the APA, since 1973, also). Even while Mother Nature demonstrates her beauty, polyphonous colors, textures, and diversity, she celebrates the rhythmic syncopations in the multifarious family tree of life. We join all Nature’s Creatures singing the Song of Our Souls with our Creator!
I thank you God for the Rainbow! And for the Episcopal Church apology to gays, their commitment to study same-sex unions, extension of insurance benefits to domestic partners, their voting down attempts to prohibit sexually active gay clergy, and their election of a sympathetic presiding bishop, and their commitment to women’s ordination (excepting a certain diocese).
I thank you G_D for the Rainbow! And for my own Lutheran youth, the Lutheran music of my childhood, the Agnus Dei and the Sanctus. I thank you for the wisdom of the current Lutheran Youth Organization of the ELCA for their celebration of Different Abledness, commitment to ecumenism, their opposition to capital punishment, their commitment to develop a conference for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. However, I pray they will expand their scope for the benefit of all youth struggling with identity issues. No doubt, many teen suicides involve identity crises which include emotional/spiritual/sexual/gender issues, by which they may be eventually consumed, without honest, open dialog and some Unconditional Love along the way. I was blessed by reading “The Church and Human Sexuality: A Lutheran Perspective” a First Draft of a Social Statement (October 1993) of the ELCA. It made me proud as an adult on the outside looking in, of my Lutheran roots. (ELCA, 1993)
I thank you God for the Rainbow! And for U.S. Catholic bishops’ advice to parents to put their children before doctrine in their autumnal document, “Always Our Children.” (Briggs,1997)
I thank you G_D for the Rainbow! And for those who realize it is witch hunts that are despicable, not witches. I am thankful for Joan of Arc (Feinberg, 1996), the personal visions through which God spoke to her, her “witch” herbs and protective clothing arming her with authority, rather than the church’s authority over her. I am thankful for her commitment to not pander to man’s presumed authority and to determine her domain of power outside the very acceptability of proper societal dress. Surely they’ve figured out by now it has nothing to do with hating men or even with wanting to be a man. The very idea of sensible, natural, protective body covering being the domain of the male species alone – how preposterous! In my defining years, it was simply — if you valued comfortable shoes over the opinion of a man, that spelled “dyke.”
I thank you GOD for the rainbow! And for those Quakers whose faith saw the Light within all God’s Children. For those committed to living their faith even into justice-making in the world. I thank God for people who realize that any Defense of Marriage Act which sets aside a class of people to which those individual rights do not apply, makes an official mockery of the institution it was intended to defend. It is important to mention also the consequent weakening of the foundation of our Declaration of Independence, the individual, individual freedoms upon which our republic is based, and the Constitution of these United States of America. (See Nava and Dawidoff, 1994)
I thank you G_D for the Rainbow! And for Shekhinah, the feminine face of G-D, and for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations who employ people without regard to sexual orientation, and for those who truly believe all are created equal. (Folberg, 1997) Perhaps only to Jesus, I am an honorary Jew, and with He My Brother, I Thank God it is Friday, rather than the more traditional “Thank God I am not a woman” which the males were known to have prayed. But for Jesus’ stated message to me, I am most thankful. For He who reminds me of my inheritance as a child of G_D is indeed a real brother for life and eternity. I feel as though I am a mixture of a Christian and a Jew, and for this I thank the Jewish family and all who enabled my Grandmother’s journey from Russia, and my Grandmother Herself for instilling within me The Great Mystery around which I would dedicate my life.
I thank you GOD for the Rainbow! And for all of Nature, especially our animal companions and teachers, laughter, for all amphibians who have been here, for those still surviving, along with transgender frogs, and Pisces, Blessed Aqua, Aquamarina, Aquarius – Water Carrier, for basketball and basketball shoes, for healers and Moon Medicine and MoonJourneys, Native American Spiritualities, for Transgender Warriors (Feinberg and others), Starry Starry Nights, ToCoBe, Twilight Blue, Ts Van Gogh, and WATER. (Psalms II Timothy, WATER)
I thank you G_D for the Rainbow! I am thankful for a handful of good teachers, and for the voices of Jesus, Elie Wiesel, Paul Tillich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rollo May, Viktor Frankl, Aaron Beck, David Burns, Rachel Carson, Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Letha Dawson Scanzoni, Anne McGrew Bennett, Mary E. Hunt, Karen Johnson, Suzanne Pharr, Adrienne Rich, Ann and Cecile Richards, Paula Gunn Allen, Will Roscoe, Virginia Woolf, and “Thank you, Rosa Parks.” (See Nava and Dawidoff). I thank you for Barbara Streisand’s exquisitely unique voice and vision in and beyond Yentl, for MAG,MBHG, the voices of my childhood, most especially too I am thankful for the mysterious messenger who invited the writing of Mozart’s Requiem, as well as Mozart.
I thank You God for the Rainbow! I am thankful for small schools of extraordinary value like Texas Lutheran University, the Chapel of the Abiding Presence, both there and the Temple Within. I am thankful for the calibre of professors educated at Union Theological Seminary, Boston School of Theology, for the Dead Sea Scrolls, and historical critical methods and theories which save us from our ignorance and clinging to the vine of hysterical hype and the way it used to be.
I thank you God for the Rainbow! And for all children of the Great Spirit. I thank you for that rainbow of spiritualities from the diverse array of world religions and cultures. I thank you for recognition of the Other as a buried part of myself. I am truly grateful for Holodynamics, Holovita, A Sound Mind, , Coming Alive, Coming Out, Harmony and Dissonance, the Innerwelt, Being a Spirit, in the Creator’s Temple and Image, A soul answerable to God Alone, Life, God’s Breath in Every Living Thing, Metamorphosis, Prayer from Both Sides of the Brain, One Brain, a Room of One’s Own, Serendipitous Syncopation, Trustworthy Cyclicity, Von Anderen Uffer, the Water’s Edge, the Waters Within, and a Womb of One’s Own; for magic meows summoning occasional human intervention, and for those Mennonites who offered a place at their table during my first journey to the religion section of the World Wide Web. I thank God for all voices of religious, familial, personal and political dialog, for those who struggle, for those mentioned and those not, to all struggling Baptists, Methodists, and those of any faith or no faith at all.
Allen, Paula Gunn. (1992) The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed the term homosexuality from the official manual listing mental and emotional disorders. In 1975, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution supporting this action. American Psychological Association, “Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality”
Bach, J.S.(1957) Adapted by Regina H. Fryxell, XI cent. Plainsong. Liturgical Music. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.
Bethge, Eberhard. (1995) Friendship and Resistance. Essays on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Grand Rapids, Michigan: WCC Publications, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. (1971) Letters and Papers from Prison. New York: Collier, Macmillan Publishing Company.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. (1960) Christ the Center. New York: Harper San Francisco.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. (1995) Ethics. New York: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster.
Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian and Gay Concerns
Briggs, David. (1997) “Bishops: Put gay children before doctrine.” Dallas Voice, Vol. XIV, No. 23, p.1, 17.
Burns, David (1980) Feeling Good, New York: Avon Books.
Burns, David. (1993) The Ten Steps to Self-Esteem. New York: William & Morrow.
Carson, Rachel. (1962) Silent Spring. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett Crest. Carson exposed widespread use and dangers of environmental pesticides.
ELCA (1993) The Church and Human Sexuality: A Lutheran Perspective” First Draft of a Social Statement. Chicago, IL: ELCA, Division for Church in Society, October 1993. The study discusses marriage, the deliberation of the church on homosexuality, as well as specific biblical passages misapplied to persons of homosexual orientation. It interprets sexuality in the context of superb theology, of hospitality to strangers, in its Hebraic context, and Jesus’ command to Love Our Neighbor as Ourselves.
Feinberg, Leslie. (1996) Transgendered Warriors. Boston: Beacon Press.
Folberg, Steven. (1997) “The Meaning of a Jewish Blessing.” Open Hands, Vol. 12, No.4, p. 18, 19.
Friends Home Service Committee. (1964) Towards a Quaker View of Sex, revised edition. London: Friends Home Service Committee. This British group of Quakers wrote in 1964, “The word “homosexuality” does not denote a course of conduct, but a state of loving one’s own…not the opposite sex; it is a state of affairs in nature. One should no more deplore “homosexuality than left-handedness.”
Fox, George. “Answerable to God alone…” Fiske, J. In Jones, R.M. An Autobiography of George Fox.
Fryxell, Regina. (1957) Agnus Dei, Liturgical Music. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.
Hunt, Mary E. Hunt, ed. (1989) From Woman-Pain to Woman-Vision. Anne McGrew Bennett. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress Press.
Johnson, Karen. (1991) Trusting Ourselves. The Complete Guide to Emotional Well-Being for Women. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press.
King, Martin Luther. http://web66.coled.edu/new?MLLKKK.html http://www.electriciti.com/~prider/jail.html Also for Coretta Scott King “sees diversity as key to civil rights” in Dallas Voice,
Mollenkott, Virginia Ramey and Letha Dawson Scanzoni. (1994) Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? San Francisco, CA: Harper.
Nava, M. and Dawidoff, Robert. (1994) Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America. New York, St. Martin’s Press.
Pharr, Suzanne. (1988) Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism. Little Rock, AR: The Women’s Project 2224 Main, Chardin Press.
Psalm 104:24 “In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”
Rich, Adrienne. (1986) Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Richards, Ann. (1990) Introduction in This Dog’ll Hunt by Wallace O. Chariton. Plano, TX: Wordware Publishing.
Richards, Cecile. (1996) Texas Freedom Network works to counter the religious right’s political influence. In Kruh, Nancy. “The Daughter Also Rises” Dallas Morning News, July 5, 1996. 1C, 2C. Also Texas Freedom Network PO Box 1624 Austin, TX 78767 ph. 512 322 0545 fax. 512 322 0550. Dallas Morning News, May 3, 1997, p.2G.”Cecile Richards, executive director of the Texas Freedom Network…speak on “The Religious Right: A Threat to Democracy?” during the awards…at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas…”
Roscoe, Will. (1991) The Zuni Man-Woman. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.
II Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” That verse, in the handwriting of my mother, with me on the dash of my car, on my journey to the Pacific Coast in 1991.
WATER – Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual 8035 13th Street, Stes. 1 & 3, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20910-4803, USA.
Woolf, V. Vernon. (1990) Holodynamics. Tucson, Harbinger.
Woolf, Virginia. (1929) A Room of One’s Own. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Wiesel, Elie. (1990) From the Kingdom of Memory. New York: Schocken Books.
Carol Jean Stabel is a native of Texas who graduated from Booker (Texas) High School and currently lives in Corpus Christi.