Author Archives: Joe

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces.

Phone Calls


My mother finally called back. As usual, she acted as if nothing was wrong. She didn’t even acknowledge that she’d basically hung up on me a few days before. She called about something she saw on TV. I did get a chance to tell her how disappointed I was that they weren’t coming. She let me know that it was my father that didn’t want to come up here. He said she could fly up here but he wasn’t coming. Mama won’t fly up here by herself. I guess I can understand that.


What Were They Thinking?


I stayed up last night watching results from the Alabama US Senate race primary. Y’all know I’m from Alabama. I have family and friends there and so I have a vested interest in this race, even if I’m no longer a voter in Alabama. I was glad to see that Doug Jones won the Democratic primary, or at least it looked that way when I went to bed. Jones is a US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. He’s a good solid Democrat who is well respected. Can he win a general election? I doubt it.  What I don’t get though is the Republican primary. It looks like Roy Moore will be in a run off with incumbent Luther Stange or less likely Representive Mo Brooks. Moore though has the most votes, but thankfully not a majority. I don’t like to wish ill of people, but I wish Roy Moore would die already. He’s a fucking moron who is one of the leading opponents of LGBT rights in the country. After being removed from Cheif Justice of Alabama twice for judicial misconduct, he shouldn’t be able to run for dog catcher, let alone the US Senate. He’s a laughing stock, yet the people of Alabama want to vote him in, just like they did Trump. It’s absolutely abhorrent in my opinion.


A Lazy Day


A Lazy Day

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

The trees bend down along the stream,
Where anchored swings my tiny boat.
The day is one to drowse and dream
And list the thrush’s throttling note.
When music from his bosom bleeds
Among the river’s rustling reeds.

No ripple stirs the placid pool,
When my adventurous line is cast,
A truce to sport, while clear and cool,
The mirrored clouds slide softly past.
The sky gives back a blue divine,
And all the world’s wide wealth is mine.

A pickerel leaps, a bow of light,
The minnows shine from side to side.
The first faint breeze comes up the tide—
I pause with half uplifted oar,
While night drifts down to claim the shore.


Mothers

My parents were supposed to come visit me this fall. I wanted them to see how beautiful Vermont is at that time of year. A few weeks ago, my mother informed me that they were going to North Carolina instead. When I asked why they weren't coming to see me, she replied that they didn't have time. My feelings were terribly hurt, but she doesn't seem to care. Even when I tried last night to tell her that she'd hurt my feelings, she just said goodbye. I guess she didn't want to hear it. She may not care but that hurt my feelings even more. Why do parents treat us this way? One minute she wants me to move home because she says she misses me and the next she won't come to visit because she doesn't have the time. I just don't get it. My parents are both retired. They have plenty of time to do what they want, but I guess seeing me is not what they want.


Sexual Wholeness As Justice Work

"He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

Pursuing sexual wholeness is a radical act of justice. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the church has a problem with sexuality. Many of us can quote the statistics and cite the scholarship. We can tell heart-rending stories of hurt and anguish as we wrestle with death-dealing, conservative theologies that keep many of us suffering in silence.

And yet the prophet Micah begs us to consider what the Lord requires of us.

The Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, a black womanist theologian and ethicist, suggests that misunderstandings about sexuality send more people to the grave than any other issue. If there were one aspect of our humanity we wrestle with the most, then it is being in our very blessed and yet problematic bodies. From the time we are born until the day we leave this earth the pressing issues of our existence seems to be what do we do with our bodies, how do we treat the bodies of others, and what in this relating is good?

Beloveds, we have a problem with embodiment—plain and simple. When we survey the social-political landscape and we point our eye to prevailing issues of immigration, education, poverty, voting rights, LGBTQ equality, fair housing, and transgender visibility, it becomes crystal clear that we have an issue with our flesh, and with the very embodiment of humanity. And when we are honest, the church in general, and the black church in particular, has not been the most helpful, nor the most truthful, nor the most kind, nor the most just in dealing head-on with the very true reality that we are embodied spirits and inspirited bodies.

This is why my sisters, brothers and siblings, I suggest that sexual wholeness—the coming together of being sexually faithful and faithfully sexual—is a justice issue.

The question, then, is what do we need to do if we are going to be Jesus-loving justice workers in the world?

I am so glad you asked. The prophet Micah helps us by giving us three simple yet profound considerations:

1. Do justice. "Do" is a word that conveys our intentions for completing an action. And so, as Dr. Cannon would say, “Do the work your soul must have.” This means that we must engage in the living, working, and sharing of life that makes us come alive. And then we must ground that work in the character of God that is just.

2. Love kindness. The art of being kind is often lost on ourselves. And so to love kindness is to stop and take a moment to care for yourself even as you care for others. In fact, Dr. Cannon suggests that in order to be a justice worker in the world, we need a disciplined devotional life.

3. Walk humbly with God. Move in this world with awareness that our connection to God is experienced in our relationship with others. How can we rightly relate to others if our walk with God is not right-sized? Dr. Cannon suggests that, in order for us to ethically relate to others, we must see the imago dei—or the image of God—in ourselves and others.
Therefore, Beloveds, engage in the work of becoming sexually faithful and faithfully sexual.

Do this work knowing full well that it is what the Lord is requiring of you.
Because pursuing sexual wholeness is a radical act of justice.

Originally published by Many Voices as part of Revolutionary Rhetoric, a nine part sermon series.


Moment of Zen: Flat Stomach

Something I wish I had.


Looking Back

Looking back on this week, it's been a long week. I have several projects I'm working on at work, and they seem to be never ending. They will get done though, I just need motivation to finish them. These projects are not the most exciting things that I work on, but they have to be done, and I will get them finished eventually. Thank goodness it's Friday, and I have the weekend to look forward to.


Benjamin Bradley

Benjamin Lemke once went by the name Benjamin Bradley. He was a popular performer in the mid-2000s for companies like Falcon Studios and Buckshot. He also posed the underwear company Ginch Gonch.

In a sad turn of events, Lemke has found himself in middle of a fight for his life. He’s dealing with his second bout of Non-Hodgekin’s Lymphoma.

Lemke has a large metastatic tumor in his neck that is growing larger and has begun pushing up against his jugular. In addition to that, he has developed several cavity lung lesions. As a result, he has been in and out of the hospital for the past month.
His partner, Alfred Robles, has started a YouCaring fundraising campaign to help cover Lemke’s expenses.

“He currently has exhausted all funds for cancer treatments, and we have maxed out all credit cards paying for his medical expenses and covering his health care needs,” Robles writes.

So far, Robles has raised about $8,600 of his $12,000 goal.

“If you have ever met or known Benjamin, you have been touched by his upbeat, loving, one-of-a-kind personality,” Robles says.

Here’s wishing Lemke a full recovery.

Source: Queerty.com


Broadchurch 


I've gotten hooked on a new-to-me television series, Broadchurch. It's a great British mystery series. Once you've seen a few episodes, you'll be hooked. I'm currently watching season two on Netflix, but you can catch all three seasons, including what's aired of the third season on the BBC America app. I have a Roku TV that I love and BBC America is one of the app channels that you can access and watch shows on demand. Anyway, here's a teaser for the series:

When the corpse of an 11-year-old British boy, Danny Latimer, is found bloodied and dirty on an idyllic beach, a small Dorset community becomes the focus of a police investigation and media madness. Out-of-town Detective Inspector Alec Hardy gets the point position over Detective Sgt. Ellie Miller — who feels the job should have been hers. Now she must engage in an efficient working relationship with taciturn Hardy. Slowly, more members of the community of Broadchurch are drawn into the investigation, with a telephone engineer drawing great attention when he admits to a special connection to the case. While dealing with so much unwelcome attention, Danny's family tries to cope with its grief. When a suspect is named and charged, the ensuing trial sees the defendant promising to expose more of the townspeople's secrets.

Thanks, Susan, for talking me into watching this show.


August

August
by Helen Hunt Jackson

Silence again. The glorious symphony
Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease,
Save hum of insects’ aimless industry.
Pathetic summer seeks by blazonry
Of color to conceal her swift decrease.
Weak subterfuge! Each mocking day doth fleece
A blossom, and lay bare her poverty.
Poor middle-agèd summer! Vain this show!
Whole fields of golden-rod cannot offset
One meadow with a single violet;
And well the singing thrush and lily know,
Spite of all artifice which her regret
Can deck in splendid guise, their time to go!


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