Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

‘Hall of Shame’ Exposes Dangers of High-Level Homophobia

Wednesday, 30 May 2007 Leave a comment

‘Hall of Shame’ Exposes Dangers of High-Level Homophobia International Day Against Homophobia Highlights Persistence of Prejudice

(New York, May 16, 2007) ? Pope Benedict XVI, US President George W. Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have undermined human rights by actively promoting prejudice against lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people, Human Rights Watch said today in its annual “hall of shame” to mark the International Day Against Homophobia.

On May 17, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups in more than 50 countries will commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, an initiative launched in 2005 that commemorates the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its roster of disorders. Read more…


On the Bike::Riding for a Cure!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007 Leave a comment



27 May 2007

Dear Family & Friends both near and far,


I’m excited to write to you since I’m teaming up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society again to ride for a cure!  Last year I wrote to you and entered into an invigorating summer of fundraising and training.  And, following the success of the ride and your contributions for the Illinois Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I have decided to join the cycle team again for another event and am doing so as a mentor for the Cycle team!  

You may recall that I rode in the Apple Cider Century last year in Three Oaks, Michigan, and I’m happy to be training for that ride which is scheduled for 30 September 2007.  I have some additional involvement this year.  Not only am I a participant, but I was also invited to be a mentor for this season!  I still fundraise and train, but I also have the opportunity to partner with a group of folks who are fundraising and training for this event.  The mentor’s job is to serve as an encourager during the efforts of fundraising and a partner with participants on training days.  So, either way, I pedal with those participants both on and off the bike!

When I wrote to you last year, I wrote a letter that mentioned why I joined the Society.  To refresh your memory [and remind myself why I’m committed to community], I rode in the memory of a patient of mine who suddenly died following her diagnosis; she had an acute onset of Lymphoma.  And, I rode for Ben who was doing his best to recover from aids-related Lymphoma.  This year I ride for both Sandra and Ben.  Sandra, the patient I mentioned above and my young friend, Ben, who died last June from aids-related Lymphoma.  And yet, I ride for some new folks, too!  I continue to be amazed at how cancer, any cancer, affects all of us!  This year it’s Brian, a colleague-friend of my spouse, who is 31 and recently diagnosed with Metastatic Testicular Cancer.  Lance Armstrong’s LiveStong is not riding in or near Chicago, so this year I ride for Brian.

Drumroll please…Let the fundraising begin!

 I hope you’ll consider giving a financial gift to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  The bleak reality of the Chicago winter has passed and outdoor training rides have begun, but the bleak realities of cancer abides and will abide until there’s a cure.  Chicago winters and the journey of blood-related cancers still present struggle and suffering, albeit not exactly parallel. And so, while I’m out struggling to pedal 35, 50, 75 and eventually 100 miles, cancer patients are struggling on their journey down a path of fatigue and suffering with an added bonus of varying emotional responses to the reality of living with cancer alongside the poisonous chemotherapy and tiresome radiation that some patients receive! 

While we can hope and trust for this summer to be beautiful and a nice reprieve from the blustering winter, most of the cancer patients I saw as a hospital chaplain hoped for a brighter and better day; they strained and hoped for a cure—hoped for a life!  The new life of spring and the subsequent enjoyment of summer-filled activities come only after some very dark days of winter which always come at different times for all of us; and for some of us who struggle with cancer, the new life of being cancer-free is far beyond our reach. 

I speak about blood-related cancers [and cancer in general] from the perspective of a Chaplain who provided services to persons and their loved ones facing what I heard articulated as an uninviting future and a shocking and lonely present.  I also speak about blood-related cancers from the perspective of one whose family has been threatened with diagnoses of blood-related cancers and the subsequent challenging times.  I have witnessed the great need of emotional and financial support when I worked with patients in the hospital.  I only wish I was aware of the emotional and financial support that is always available through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Now that I am aware, I have a responsibility to my community.  This is my attempt to contribute to the society and partner with those suffering from blood-related cancers. 

Barriers to a cancer-free life are often the disease processrs, financial accessibility and emotional support.  I want my efforts and time with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help diminish and finally eradicate the barriers of blood-related cancers!  I hope you will help me too!  How, you ask?  Well, while I am no longer serving as a chaplain in a hospital, my path crosses many who do and I continue to meet folks suffering from cancer, including blood-related cancers.  And so, I’m teaming up with the cycle team for an early summer century.  Will you join me in helping me meet my goal of $1,760?

Now, do you ever wonder how your financial gift helps?  I always wonder where my money goes when I send a financial gift to a charitable organization, and so I have some data for you!  Though this data is specific to the Illinois chapter, this information is nonetheless helpful.

$100:                Provides free health education for 10 patients

$500:               Provides a blood cancer patient with financial aid to support medical treatment and travel for one year

$1000:              Assists in the organization of 47 Illinois support groups and education programs for patients, and contributes to Society sponsored blood cancer research.  Donors contributing at this level are welcomed into our DeViller’s Society, named for the family who started the Society in memory of their son, Robert

$10,000:           100% of your gift will help support a cutting-edge blood cancer research project of your choice

Below is a chart to help you see where your money goes when you donate through me to the Illinois Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

As you can see from this chart, the money that is raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society goes to aid three sectors within the Society, the largest percentage supporting patient and community service.  This is what impresses me with the Society, and why I want to team up again with the Leukemia & Lymphoma’s Team in Training cycle team.  I invite you to consider with me how you can participate in the patient care of those living with blood-related cancers.  Ready to give?  You can donate online securely at my Team in Training website. 

The address is  Or, if you’re the check-writing type, you can mail your check to my house…which I’m not publishing on the internet!  Please include my full name in the memo line ensuring that your funds are listed under the appropriate participant.

Last April when I sat down to write my very first support letter to many of you for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I recall both the excitement and challenge of raising money and training for a century.  I now find myself in that place again!  Those who supported me became beacons of hope!  It is my hope that this list of beacons will grow exponentially!  Thanks in advance for your support—financially and especially emotionally during this time of fundraising and outdoor training each Saturday!

Just Do It for a Cure!


P.S. Thanks in advance for your help, financial and otherwise!  I’m grateful for your partnership in the endeavors I pursue!  I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

conversations: thoughts, actions, new monasticism, church plants

Thursday, 24 May 2007 Leave a comment

So, as I think about the idea and tradition and history of church/Church, I am reminded of this article that came out in 2005. This article is not so much NEW, but it does question our assumptions concerning church/Church.

I don’t know if the conversations I’ve had recently will yield in a church plan[t]–a sort of both/and fellowship, but one never knows. After all, these conversations have mostly been about finding ways to understand our own experiences in church and what that means now. As my friend was explaining to me last night over a beer at Big Chicks, these conversations are a little like the cat that kept following Anne around, detailed in the narrative in one of Anne Lammot’s books [Traveling Mercies, is it?]. And so, moving beyond the institution in an attempt to retain the goodness and relationality seems important. Perhaps these communities have been able to deconstruct the bureaucracy that limits the freedoms and liberations of the stories of Jesus?

article printed from:
The Christian Century Magazine
October 18, 2005
The new monastics
Alternative Christian communities
by Jason Byassee
At a time when the church had grown too cozy with the ruling authorities, when faith had become a means to power and influence, some Christians who sought to live out an authentically biblical faith headed for desolate places. They pooled their resources and dedicated themselves to a life of asceticism and prayer. Most outsiders thought they were crazy. They saw themselves as being on the narrow and difficult path of salvation, with a call to prick the conscience of the wider church about its compromises with the “world.”

I’m describing not fourth-century monks, but present-day communities of Christians who think the church in the United States has too easily accommodated itself to the consumerist and imperialist values of the culture. Living in the corners of the American empire, they hope to be a harbinger of a new and radically different form of Christian practice.

These “new monastics” pursue the ancient triumvirate of poverty, chastity and obedience, but with a twist. Their communities include married people whose pledge to chastity is understood as a commitment to marital fidelity. Poverty means eschewing typical middle-class economic climbing but not total indigence—some economic resources are necessary for building this desert kingdom. Obedience means accountability not to an abbot but to Jesus and to the community. Read more…

Waiting for the Call

Thursday, 24 May 2007 Leave a comment

I’ve recently become interested in this group. In a recent email, the following was shared. I hope that you find the information informative and meaningful. Read on!

Church Within A Church Movement

Sharing a Must Read

Waiting for the CallFrom Preacher’s Daughter to Lesbian Mom

Jacqueline Taylor’s memoir takes readers

from the foothills of the Appalachians – and her childhood in a strict evangelical household where dancing, movies on Sunday, and even saying “gosh” or “gee” were forbidden – to contemporary Chicago, where she and her lesbian partner are raising a family. In a voice that is comic, clear-eyed, and loving, Taylor recounts the challenging and hilarious journey that carries her in profoundly different directions from those she or her parents could have ever envisioned.

Taylor’s father was a Southern Baptist preacher, and she struggled to deal with his strictures as well as her mother’s manic depressive episodes. After leaving college, Taylor finds herself questioning her faith and identity, questions that continue to mount when – after two divorces, a doctoral degree, and her first kiss with a woman – she discovers her own lesbianism and begins a most untraditional family that grows to include two adopted children from Peru.

Even as she celebrates and cherishes this new family, Taylor insists on the possibility of maintaining a loving connection to her religious roots. While she and her partner search for the best way to explain adoption to their children and help them answer the inevitable question “Which one is your mom?”, they also search for a church that will unite their love of family and their faith.

Told in the great storytelling tradition of the American South, full of deep feeling and wry humor, Waiting for the Call engagingly demonstrates how one woman bridged the gulf between faith and sexual identity without abandoning her principles.

Reverend Mel White says of Waiting for the Call;

“This deeply moving story of a lesbian Christian’s journey to

self acceptance is a rare celebration of life. I found myself alternately weeping and then laughing out loud at Jacqueline Taylor’s memoir of her staunch Souther Baptist father and clever but sometimes manic mother, of her missteps on the road to a long-lasting, committed relaitonsip, and of the wit and wisdom of her adoptive daughters.”

– Reverend Mel White

author of Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right

and cofounder of Soulforce


Book Review: Waiting for the Call: From Preacher’s Daughter to Lesbian Mom

Originally published in Bay Windows, April 19, 2007.

When I first read the title of Waiting for the Call: From Preacher’s Daughter to Lesbian Mom, I expected the tale of a woman rejecting her religious upbringing and denouncing her parents as she came out. Jacqueline Taylor’s memoir is thankfully not as simple as that. It is an insightful, compassionate story about coming out, motherhood, and faith, woven into a narrative that reveals the many layers of what we mean by “family.” It is less about rejection than transformation.

The daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, Taylor grew up often resenting the strictures placed upon her. At the same time, she admired her father’s role in the community and her mother’s quick wit, and enjoyed helping in the church. We see her inching away from her parents’ worldview, disagreeing with them at times, but never ceasing to love them.

When she insists upon going to a forbidden movie in high school, her father’s response shows that this is a story in shades of gray, not black and white. He says he won’t give her permission, but understands and respects her arguments for going. “If you do decide to go to this movie against my will,” he explains, “I will accept, even if I do not condone, your decision.”

These words echo later, when Taylor comes out after two opposite-sex marriages. After a struggle, her parents are willing to meet her halfway. “You are our daughter and our love will always be supportive of you . . . even when we disagree with what you do,” her father writes. Taylor, for her part, tells them she knows their acceptance of her doesn’t mean their views on homosexuality have changed. She knows they have come far already, and respects this.

This is more than a coming out story, however. Taylor also tells of her mother’s struggle with manic depression, and her own questioning of a God who could allow such things to happen to good people. She finds, though, that she can’t give up on the notion of a higher power. Jesus, she says “kept showing up on the side of the folks at the margin, the ones the church and society deemed unworthy.” It is this core belief that keeps her from abandoning God entirely, even when coming out puts her at odds with the tenets of her family’s religion. When she has her own children, then, she finds herself not abandoning religion but rather turning to a welcoming United Methodist church.

It is in Taylor’s description of her journey to and through motherhood that she is at her most touching, wise, and eloquent. She and her partner Carol adopt two girls from Peru in 1989 and 1990. Taylor shows us their evolution as parents, as they come to realize each child’s unique needs and learn to be “ambassadors for different kinds of families” in their community.

She conveys the many challenges of being an international adoptive family, both in dealing with others and in helping her daughters find a sense of belonging and identity. She and her partner address these issues by telling stories, real and imagined, of their daughters’ biological mothers, playing games of finding lost kittens, and finally, by making a pilgrimage back to Peru. Taylor not only reflects on the meaning of the trip for her girls, but acknowledges the losses of the biological mothers and their relatives. “We can never love one another enough to make these losses disappear,” she writes. “But I have to hope that by making room for all those loving bonds to survive and even be cherished, we make the losses more bearable.”

Her own parents never leave the narrative. We watch them become supporting, loving grandparents, despite the ongoing difference of opinion about sexuality. Bonds of love and family can trump, even if they do not resolve, all disagreements.

Taylor doesn’t paint a straight, finite line to acceptance, however. After her mother’s death, for example, her father starts dating another woman. Taylor is proud that he told his new love about his lesbian daughter, but clashes with him over his continuing insistence that he doesn’t “condone or understand” her lesbianism. He then admits his language “doesn’t accurately reflect where I am at this point in my journey.” Taylor here takes us beyond politics and platitudes and shows us all the nuances of real life.

The book’s only weakness is that it sometimes feels rushed, leaving the reader wanting more detail. When her partner goes to Peru to adopt their second daughter, her trip “was fraught with all the ups and downs and challenges that typified these adoptions,” but Taylor doesn’t elaborate further. When they look for a welcoming church for their family, “It took us awhile to find the right fit,” but she tells us none of the ins and outs of their search.

This is a fine and needed work, however. It shows that the LGBT community and the religious community do not have to be distinct or antagonistic. In fact, the subtitle is deceptive, for even as Taylor becomes a lesbian mom, she never ceases to be a preacher’s daughter. She believes in God’s call, giving herself to “a life of celebration and service” in her family and community. LGBT parents, adoptive parents of all sexualities, and anyone who has ever pondered the meaning of family or faith will find resonance and inspiration in her journey.


Waiting for the Call is published by The University of Michigan Press. Jacqueline Taylor is available for book readings or by phone for book discussions. Please contact UM Press for scheduling.The book can be ordered by phone: 800.343.4499 or on line at is $18.95 with discounts available for quantity purchases.Perfect for Sunday School or small group book discussions.
A note from a reader to Ms. Taylor:What a gift your book is to anyone who has loved and been hurt by the church, and who has had to forge a pathway to faith on their own. I have recommended it to many people in my church. I live in Massachusetts and have been a faithful Unitarian for many years.

Good music, feminist humor

Thursday, 24 May 2007 Leave a comment

Good music, good humor, & good times!
Thanks CFW [particularly LJ] for your hard work on behalf of those who are unable to advocate for themselves!  And, hopefully you will be able to support these efforts on some level?  What will it take to end violence against women?

Music Matters Concert featuring Jill Scott, with Funkadesi and Jessica Halem - June 7

Buy your VIP tickets here 

for the “Music Matters Concert” featuring Jill Scott

with Funkadesi and Jessica Halem

8 p.m. on Thursday, June 7

And if you’re critical about a big-time pop star coming for this show [and the price of the tickets being super duper expensive], think about how the dominant structures can be a voice of change–meeting the margins by leaving the center!  The “powerful” need to be educated, too!

I found myself being critical, but then I stopped and thought about this very thing…how did women come to be ordained, how did women come to have the vote [not necessarily in that order], how did women come to transcend the imposed domesticity?  By talking about it, by raising awareness, and by seeking to make…

little moves against destructiveness!


Wednesday, 23 May 2007 Leave a comment

I found this article helpful as I think about my current involvement, pending involvement, lack of involvement [?] with a fellowship.  How do we really make sense of life in this world?  What does it mean to find meaning and beauty and goodness and truth today? 


By Jurgen Moltmann
trans. Marc Batko & printed here with permission

[These excerpts from Jurgen Moltmann’s writings are translated from the German on the World Wide Web. Jurgen Moltmann, emeritus professor systematic theology at the University of Tubingen, is the author of “Theology of Hope,” “The Crucified God,” “The Church in the Power of the Spirit” and “God in Creation.”]

Mysticism has been reproached again and again for contempt of the world and hostility to the body. Ideas of neo-Platonic idealism and Gnostic dualism can be easily found in the writings of mystical theologians. Surprisingly a pantheistic vision of the world in God
and God in the world is emphasized in many of these theologians. “All is one and one is all,” says the “Theologia Deutsch.” For thepoet-monk Ernesto Cardenal, all nature is nothing but “God’s tangible materialized love,” a “reflection of God’s beauty” that is full of
“love letters to us.”

Mystical theologians certainly acknowledge the Old Testament doctrine of creation as in Barth’s “Church Dogmatics.” But they prefer the terms “pouring” and “flowing”, “fountain” and “well,” “sun” and “shining” for their vision of the world from
God. For their vision of the world in God, they use the terms “homecoming,” “meditation,” “immersion,” and “dissolution.”

In the history of thought, this is the neo-Platonic language of the emanation of all things from the all-one and their re-emanation in the all-one. Understood theologically, this is the language of pneumatology. Unlike creation and God’s historical works,” the Holy
Spirit is “poured out” on all flesh (Joel 2,28ff; Acts 2,16ff) and in our hearts (Rom 5,5). One is “born” again from the spirit (Joh 3,3).  The gifts of the spirit are not created ex nihilo but originate from the Holy Spirit. They are divine powers. The spirit making alive
“fills” creation with eternal life in that the spirit “comes” to all things and “indwells” all things. In the history of the Holy Spirit, another presence of God is revealed than in the creation at the beginning. People in their corporeality (1 Cor 6,13-20) and then the
new heaven and the new earth (Rev 21) become the “temple” indwelt by God. That is the eternal Sabbath, the rest of God and the rest in God. Therefore the history of the spirit aims at that perfection described by Paul with the pantheistic-sounding formula “God will be all in all” (1 Cor 15,28). With their neo-Platonic sounding doctrine of creation and redemption, the mystical theologians emphasized this history of the spirit poured out on all flesh and this new world glorified in God. Read more…

Huckabee cancels Covenant speech over Jimmy Carter’s criticism of Bush

Tuesday, 22 May 2007 Leave a comment

Huckabee cancels Covenant speech over Jimmy Carter’s criticism of Bush

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ABP) — Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has cancelled plans to speak at the New Baptist Covenant Celebration next January because of organizer Jimmy Carter’s recent criticism of President Bush.

Carter criticized Bush’s foreign policy in a May 19 interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history,” Carter said.

A Huckabee spokesperson confirmed to Associated Baptist Press May 21 that the candidate and former Baptist pastor is withdrawing from the unprecedented Jan. 30-Feb. 1 pan-Baptist gathering, organized by Carter and Mercer University President Bill Underwood to promote unity among the continent’s Baptists.

“While I continue to have great respect for President Carter as a fellow Christian believer and Baptist, I’m deeply disappointed by the unusually harsh comments made in my state this past weekend regarding President Bush and feel that it represents an unprecedented personal attack on a sitting president by a former president, which is unbecoming the office as well as unbecoming to one whose conference is supposed to be about civility and bringing people together,” Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, told the Florida Baptist Witness, a conservative newspaper affiliated with the Florida Baptist Convention. Read more…