Monthly Archives: July 2016

Pep Rally for Bullies 


The Republican National Convention is disgusting. The number of lies and misinformation put forth is just pitiful. It’s merely a pep rally for bullies. Donald Trump is a bully. He has made his fortune by destroying those opposed to him. He has no conscience. If Donald Trump wins we will be less than citizens and many of the rights we have fought for will be taken away. He proved that by picking Mike Pence an unabashed enemy of LGBT rights. There are so many things wrong with the Republican Party that it will be a disaster if they win.

I’m not perfectly happy with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. She is a Clinton after all. However, she is what we have. She is our hope against the tyranny that would ensue if Trump wins the Presidency. Trump speaks like a fascist. He is a fascist. At least you can’t say the same about Hillary. I’m honestly not sure what kind of President Hillary Clinton will make, but I know that with her we aren’t heading toward the disaster on a massive scale that we are with Trump. I honestly fear for the lives of Americans if Trump were to be elected. I don’t have the same fear with Hillary Clinton. I think she is a tough woman and would be an adequate and probably an admirable leader. She has to have learned from the mistakes of her husband.


Busy


It was a busy day at work yesterday and will be another busy one today. I was even busy after I got home. I cooked dinner and then I had some phone calls and before I knew it, it was time for bed. In other words, I really didn’t have much time to write a post. I needed a day off work to recuperate from my mother’s visit, but there is just too much to do and not enough time in the day to get it all done. This is a big contrast to my usual workload in which I’m looking for something to do. I love being busy, even if it’s exhausting.


Mother o’ Mine

Mother o’ Mine
By Rudyard Kipling, 1865 – 1936

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

This poem seemed appropriate since my mother just visited me in Vermont and Rudyard Kipling lived in Vermont for a number of years. In fact, it was in Vermont that he wrote The Jungle Book and Captain Courageous.


Mother Part III 

I have to admit that I was wrong. This visit from my mother and niece hasn’t been as bad as I thought it could have been. Yes, a few times my niece did get a little melodramatic, but it was generally about food. She just doesn’t eat right, and I blame that on my sister, who she acts just like by the way. She’s eight though, so I guess it’s excusable to an extent. The weekend has been all about her, with one or two exceptions.

We went to Parc Safari in Canada on Friday. It’s a safari park, zoo, and water park all in one. We had a blast. The crossing of the Canadian border was a lot easier this time too. The Canadian border guard was actually nice and joked and laughed with us. Last time, I had a guard that was grumpy and kept yelling questions at me. The St Albans station is much busier than the one we crossed at Rouses Point, New York. While both of the Canadian border guards were quite cute, the one at Rouses Point was so sexy because he was very nice. The US border guard at St Albans was nice, but the the one at Rouses Point was not only extremely friendly, but cute as hell too.

Saturday, we went to Ben and Jerry’s and sampled some ice cream and toured the factory. Then we went to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. My niece loved it. Afterwards we went to Church Street in Burlington and did some shopping. My niece pointed to one store and said she wanted to go in there. It was called Good Stuff. I told her she wasn’t allowed in there and explained to my mom that it was an “adult store.”

Yesterday, we went to the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, VT. So many hands on science experiments! Needless to say, my niece had a lot of fun there too. After that we went to King Arthur Flour. I knew my mom would love the kitchen store there. Like me, my mother likes to cook and bake.

Today, I am taking them to the airport and then immediately, I will be working. Their flights were in Manchester, NH because it was so much cheaper than Burlington. It turned out that I had an interview subject that lived 15 minutes from the airport, so I scheduled the interview for after I drop them off at the airport. Getting back into the swing of work so quickly will hopefully not allow me to get too emotional over them leaving. It will be Christmas before I see them again.


The Rainbow

Rainbow Christ Prayer: LGBT Flag Reveals The Queer Christ

By REV. KITTREDGE CHERRY
Colors of the rainbow flag reveal the many faces of the queer Christ in the following Rainbow Christ Prayer I wrote with gay theologian Patrick S. Cheng.

Rainbow flags were flying around the world in June for LGBT Pride Month. Rainbows are also an important symbol in many religious traditions. The Rainbow Christ Prayer honors the spiritual values of the LGBT movement.

The prayer matches the colors of the rainbow flag with the seven models of the queer Christ from Patrick’s book From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ.

Let us pray…

Rainbow Christ, you embody all the colors of the world. Rainbows serve as bridges between different realms: heaven and earth, east and west, queer and non-queer. Inspire us to remember the values expressed in the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

Red is for life, the root of spirit. Living and Self-Loving Christ, you are our Root. Free us from shame and grant us the grace of healthy pride so we can follow our own inner light. With the red stripe in the rainbow, we give thanks that God created us just the way we are.

Orange is for sexuality, the fire of spirit. Erotic Christ, you are our Fire, the Word made flesh. Free us from exploitation and grant us the grace of mutual relationships. With the orange stripe in the rainbow, kindle a fire of passion in us.

Yellow is for self-esteem, the core of spirit. Out Christ, you are our Core. Free us from closets of secrecy and give us the guts and grace to come out. With the yellow stripe in the rainbow, build our confidence.

Green is for love, the heart of spirit. Transgressive Outlaw Christ, you are our Heart, breaking rules out of love. In a world obsessed with purity, you touch the sick and eat with outcasts. Free us from conformity and grant us the grace of deviance. With the green stripe in the rainbow, fill our hearts with untamed compassion for all beings.

Blue is for self-expression, the voice of spirit. Liberator Christ, you are our Voice, speaking out against all forms of oppression. Free us from apathy and grant us the grace of activism. With the blue stripe in the rainbow, motivate us to call for justice.

Violet is for vision, the wisdom of spirit. Interconnected Christ, you are our Wisdom, creating and sustaining the universe. Free us from isolation and grant us the grace of interdependence. With the violet stripe in the rainbow, connect us with others and with the whole creation.

Rainbow colors come together to make one light, the crown of universal consciousness. Hybrid and All-Encompassing Christ, you are our Crown, both human and divine. Free us from rigid categories and grant us the grace of interwoven identities. With the rainbow, lead us beyond black-and-white thinking to experience the whole spectrum of life.

Rainbow Christ, you light up the world. You make rainbows as a promise to support all life on earth. In the rainbow space, we can see all the hidden connections between sexualities, genders and races. Like the rainbow, may we embody all the colors of the world! Amen.

I got the idea for the Rainbow Christ Prayer as I reflected on Patrick Cheng’s models of the queer Christ. Patrick and I each spent years developing the ideas expressed in the Rainbow Christ Prayer. It incorporates rainbow symbolism from queer culture, from Christian tradition and from the Buddhist/Hindu concept of chakras, the seven colored energy centers of the human body. The prayer is ideal for use when lighting candles in a rainbow candle holder.

The Rainbow Christ Prayer has been welcomed and used by many progressive Christian communities, but denounced as blasphemy by conservatives at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.

I first wrote about linking the colors of the rainbow flag to queer spirituality in my 2009 reflection on Bridge of Light, a winter holiday honoring LGBT culture. Meanwhile Patrick was working on his models of the queer Christ based on LGBT experience. In 2010 he presented five models of the queer Christ in his essay Rethinking Sin and Grace for LGBT People at the Jesus in Love Blog.

In a moment of inspiration I realized Patrick’s various queer Christ models matched the colors of the rainbow flag.

Patrick and I joined forces and the Rainbow Christ Prayer was born. With wonderful synchronicity, Patrick had already added two more queer Christ models, so he now had seven models to match the seven principles from Bridge of Light. He wrote a detailed explanation of all seven models in his book From Sin to Amazing Grace published in spring 2012 by Seabury Books.

Gay spirituality author Joe Perez also helped lay the groundwork for this prayer in 2004 when he founded the interfaith and omni-denominational winter ritual known as Bridge of Light. People celebrate Bridge of Light by lighting candles, one for every color of the rainbow flag. Each color corresponds to a universal spiritual principle that is expressed in LGBT history and culture. I worked with Joe to revise the Bridge of Light guidelines based on my on own meditations on the chakras and their connections to the colors of the rainbow flag.

The symbolism of the rainbow resonates far beyond the LGBT flag.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the rainbow stands for God’s promise to support all life on earth. It plays an important role in the story of Noah’s Ark. After the flood, God places a rainbow in the sky, saying, “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Genesis 9:15-16).

Lastly, in the Book of Revelation, a rainbow encircles the throne of Christ in Heaven.

Originally published on Jesus In Love; Image via Andrew Craig Williams


Moment of Zen: Gay Couples


There were quite a number of gay dads at the zoo in Canada yesterday, especially at the water park at the zoo. Gay dads in tiny swim trunks is a sexy sight. I got to really check out one couple because they were going down the lazy river as my niece was. I got to stare without looking like a creep, but just someone watching their kid.


Mother Part II 

I got my mother and niece to their hotel room. It was a long day. The AC in my car is out and I felt like I’d been burning up all damn day. Not really much to report except that my back isn’t much better so I went to bed early last night.


Mother


My mother is coming to spend the weekend. She and my niece are flying up this morning. This means I had to mother-proof my apartment. No “toys” can be laying around. Everything must be spic and span. I’ll close off my bedroom, so that will help, but it also means that Isabella can’t be in my bedroom during the day. I have to be emotionally prepared. Etc. etc. etc. I’m sure it will all be fine. We may not even go by my apartment. Well drive by, but we might not stop, especially if I can help it.

I have a full weekend planned. We are going up to Canada to visit a zoo on Friday. Please pray for me that it will go well. Saturday will be filled with Vermont stuff: Ben and Jerry’s, Vermont Teddy Bear a Factory, Echo Aquarium, and a few other things around Burlington. Sunday, we will have to see. There are a number of things we could go and do, and I’ve checked them all out. It will just be up to what my niece wants to do. She’s 8, so,of course this trip is really all about her.

Hopefully, it will be a fun weekend and it will be nice to see family. I’ve missed them. I may complain about my mother, but I love her dearly.


Pimento Cheese 

As a native southerner, there are things that I truly miss about the South. Most of those things have to do with food, because it sure as hell isn’t the politics. One of those foods that I have been craving is a simple blend of cheese, mayonnaise and sweet peppers known across the South as pimento cheese. Some people will say there is nothing like the homemade variety, but I always enjoyed the store bought kind. However, you can’t buy it in the north, so if I want some, I’ll have to make my own.

The recipe for most pimento cheese consists of mixing just six or so ingredients. Typically, it includes sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos and some simple seasoning, such as salt and pepper. Common variations on the recipe include the addition of onions, cream cheese, garlic or Monterey jack cheese.

Pimento cheese is so ingrained in the lives of many Southerners that we don’t realize our passion for the stuff doesn’t exist outside the region. Call me a hick, but I was shocked when I realized people outside the South had never heard of the spread. It makes a great sandwich or as an appetizer when put on celery or a cracker. Combine it with pepper jelly and put it on a cracker and you’ll swear you’ve died and gone to heaven. My mother would often make finger sandwiches and she’d have pimento cheese and chicken salad, separately of course, but on the same platter.

But you don’t have to travel down South to enjoy authentic pimento cheese: Its basic ingredients are readily available everywhere, and it’s a cinch to make. It can take as little as 15 minutes to go from inspiration to completed dish. I almost asked my mother to sneak some on the plane but figured with current regulations, she wouldn’t get very far. She and my niece will be flying up on Thursday. More on that tomorrow.

Classic Pimento Cheese

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer, makes about 2 cups

10 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) jar pimiento peppers
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon horseradish sauce (optional)

To make your pimento cheese chunky-style, for spooning atop crackers, or digging into with a fork: Stir all ingredients together in a bowl, mashing with a fork. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate for at least one hour and preferably overnight.

To make your pimento cheese smooth, especially good for fancy piping and dipping: Increase mayonnaise to 3/4 of a cup. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate for at least one hour and preferably overnight.


Experience 

Experience
By Carl Sandburg

This morning I looked at the map of the day
And said to myself, “This is the way! This is the way I will go;
Thus shall I range on the roads of achievement,
The way is so clear—it shall all be a joy on the lines marked out.”
And then as I went came a place that was strange,—
’Twas a place not down on the map!
And I stumbled and fell and lay in the weeds,
And looked on the day with rue.

I am learning a little—never to be sure—
To be positive only with what is past,
And to peer sometimes at the things to come
As a wanderer treading the night
When the mazy stars neither point nor beckon,
And of all the roads, no road is sure.

I see those men with maps and talk
Who tell how to go and where and why;
I hear with my ears the words of their mouths,
As they finger with ease the marks on the maps;
And only as one looks robust, lonely, and querulous,
As if he had gone to a country far
And made for himself a map,
Do I cry to him, “I would see your map!
I would heed that map you have!”