Archive for April, 2008

>In and Out of Step With Jesus

April 29, 2008

>The title of an opinion column in the Birmingham News certainly caught my eye this morning. “Modern Christianity out of step with Jesus’ teachings.”

Ok, many of us have recognized this for years. Many of us have been driven away from churches or denominations for this reason. Many of us are appalled at the modern “church’s” influence on society and politics. Many of us have found Jesus’ teachings to be inspirational, along with the teachings of other spiritual leaders, and have learned to use them to guide our lives without the need to be controlled by a man pretending to be God (whether that is what many pastors and priests claim or not).

So this column by Leonard Pitts Jr. was a must read.

Pitts starts out by quoting Rev. Hayes Wicker of (no surprise) First Baptist Church of Naples, Florida, who called same sex marriage a “tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.” Who is more insulted there? American blacks for whom our history is tainted with their sweat and blood, and without whom this country would never have reached the status that it did, or gays whose inequality is championed as being even worse?

Pitts says that remark is in step with much of modern Christianity, and I agree. One does not have to look far to find a preacher demonizing gays; local television one Sunday morning recently had a local church broadcast where a black pastor was sending gays to hell right and left.

Pitts quotes James Lawson, an icon of the civil rights movement, who supports gay rights, “The human rights issue is not a single issue. It is about all humankind. And all humankind has been endowed with certain inalienable rights.” Responding to the Wicker quote, Lawson said “Obviously he does not know anything about 250 years of slavery or the 143 years since slavery as the nation has largely failed to deal with the issue of slavery and its consequences…And he knows even less about the gospel of Jesus.”

I will continue to quote Lawson. “Much of Christianity in the United States has been more influenced by violence and sexism and racism and greed than by the teachings of Jesus.”

Amen.

Pitts closes with “Lawson is out of step with modern Christianity. Thank God someone is.”

OK. But Lawson is not getting the headlines, Jeremiah Wright is. Gee, if we study the teachings of Jesus and begin to apply them to America, we might just realize that Wright’s sermons irritate us not because they are so radically anti-American, but because they expose the truth. America is embarrassed by much of its history (as well it should be) and we have a strong desire to ignore that which pains or embarrasses us.

I for one am glad Rev. Wright has begun to explain his statements. Listen and learn, America.

In and Out of Step With Jesus

April 29, 2008

The title of an opinion column in the Birmingham News certainly caught my eye this morning. “Modern Christianity out of step with Jesus’ teachings.”

Ok, many of us have recognized this for years. Many of us have been driven away from churches or denominations for this reason. Many of us are appalled at the modern “church’s” influence on society and politics. Many of us have found Jesus’ teachings to be inspirational, along with the teachings of other spiritual leaders, and have learned to use them to guide our lives without the need to be controlled by a man pretending to be God (whether that is what many pastors and priests claim or not).

So this column by Leonard Pitts Jr. was a must read.

Pitts starts out by quoting Rev. Hayes Wicker of (no surprise) First Baptist Church of Naples, Florida, who called same sex marriage a “tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.” Who is more insulted there? American blacks for whom our history is tainted with their sweat and blood, and without whom this country would never have reached the status that it did, or gays whose inequality is championed as being even worse?

Pitts says that remark is in step with much of modern Christianity, and I agree. One does not have to look far to find a preacher demonizing gays; local television one Sunday morning recently had a local church broadcast where a black pastor was sending gays to hell right and left.

Pitts quotes James Lawson, an icon of the civil rights movement, who supports gay rights, “The human rights issue is not a single issue. It is about all humankind. And all humankind has been endowed with certain inalienable rights.” Responding to the Wicker quote, Lawson said “Obviously he does not know anything about 250 years of slavery or the 143 years since slavery as the nation has largely failed to deal with the issue of slavery and its consequences…And he knows even less about the gospel of Jesus.”

I will continue to quote Lawson. “Much of Christianity in the United States has been more influenced by violence and sexism and racism and greed than by the teachings of Jesus.”

Amen.

Pitts closes with “Lawson is out of step with modern Christianity. Thank God someone is.”

OK. But Lawson is not getting the headlines, Jeremiah Wright is. Gee, if we study the teachings of Jesus and begin to apply them to America, we might just realize that Wright’s sermons irritate us not because they are so radically anti-American, but because they expose the truth. America is embarrassed by much of its history (as well it should be) and we have a strong desire to ignore that which pains or embarrasses us.

I for one am glad Rev. Wright has begun to explain his statements. Listen and learn, America.

>Gay NASCAR?

April 28, 2008

>You get 43 men together, and at least one, more likely 3 or 4, will be gay. 43 guys were circling the track at Talledega yesterday. During the multiple caution flags during the final laps I got to wondering, so I visited Gaytona.com , the source for all things gay related to NASCAR to get the scoop. So which of these guys is gay?

Jeff Gordon: Wanted to be in second place coming into the finnish at ‘Dega, and he was…, but fell back to 19th place ($134,000) when Jamie McMurray started knocking guys out. There have been rumors about Jeff Gordon ever since he started driving the rainbow car (with the colors out of order). If Jeff was gay, NASCAR fans would have one more reason to dis him.

Some people say the tiffs between Jeff and Tony Stewart are little lover’s spats. I don’t think so.

Carl Edwards: Raked in $125,000 yesterday, by not finishing the race (he lost a tire and hit the wall). Looks like he lost his shirt, too for this ESPN magazine cover (February 2006). This sparked rumors a couple of years ago, but I think it was just wishful thinking among gay NASCAR wannabes.

Kasey Kahne (finished 23 yesterday, $117,000). Jay Mohr might think so, but I don’t:

Evan Darling: Never heard of him. Well, he isn’t a NASCAR driver, but wants to be. Evan lives in Oakland Park Florida, and wants to race in NASCAR. Here is what he says about being an out race car driver:

“I came out when I was 18 and had to leave home. It was very difficult through the years but I eventually saved enough money working as a mechanic to start racing myself (on a very poor budget!). Most of the people in racing now had alot of family support…something I never had. I am still racing today but it is getting more and more difficult financially as I move up the ranks. There has to be a person or group of people out there that wants to see a gay person doing well on tv in Pro races! I am out and not afraid to tell anyone! Most people don’t think I am gay but when they find out I usually keep the people as friends and change their outlook on what a “gay” person is.”

Here is his web site and he also has a blog that he doesn’t update too often). If you are a gay NASCAR fan give this guy your support.

And visit Gaytona.com. Good information there about inclusive NASCAR.

Gay NASCAR?

April 28, 2008

You get 43 men together, and at least one, more likely 3 or 4, will be gay. 43 guys were circling the track at Talledega yesterday. During the multiple caution flags during the final laps I got to wondering, so I visited Gaytona.com , the source for all things gay related to NASCAR to get the scoop. So which of these guys is gay?

Jeff Gordon: Wanted to be in second place coming into the finnish at ‘Dega, and he was…, but fell back to 19th place ($134,000) when Jamie McMurray started knocking guys out. There have been rumors about Jeff Gordon ever since he started driving the rainbow car (with the colors out of order). If Jeff was gay, NASCAR fans would have one more reason to dis him.

Some people say the tiffs between Jeff and Tony Stewart are little lover’s spats. I don’t think so.

Carl Edwards: Raked in $125,000 yesterday, by not finishing the race (he lost a tire and hit the wall). Looks like he lost his shirt, too for this ESPN magazine cover (February 2006). This sparked rumors a couple of years ago, but I think it was just wishful thinking among gay NASCAR wannabes.

Kasey Kahne (finished 23 yesterday, $117,000). Jay Mohr might think so, but I don’t:

Evan Darling: Never heard of him. Well, he isn’t a NASCAR driver, but wants to be. Evan lives in Oakland Park Florida, and wants to race in NASCAR. Here is what he says about being an out race car driver:

“I came out when I was 18 and had to leave home. It was very difficult through the years but I eventually saved enough money working as a mechanic to start racing myself (on a very poor budget!). Most of the people in racing now had alot of family support…something I never had. I am still racing today but it is getting more and more difficult financially as I move up the ranks. There has to be a person or group of people out there that wants to see a gay person doing well on tv in Pro races! I am out and not afraid to tell anyone! Most people don’t think I am gay but when they find out I usually keep the people as friends and change their outlook on what a “gay” person is.”

Here is his web site and he also has a blog that he doesn’t update too often). If you are a gay NASCAR fan give this guy your support.

And visit Gaytona.com. Good information there about inclusive NASCAR.

>Bringing Bigotry Back Into Fashion

April 24, 2008

>Larry Langford is becoming more bigoted as time goes by. On Friday he will host his “sackcloth-and-ashes prayer service to save the city’s soul,” according to John Archibald in his column today.

Less than a year after Birmingham passed a gay inclusive resolution embracing diversity, Langford is having Bishop Eddie Long from Atlanta as a guest. Southern Poverty Law Center describes Long as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the relgiously based anti-gay movement.”

Long’s church, New Birth Missionary Baptist near Atlanta, tries to convert gays away from their natural orientation and damns them to hell if they don’t (he’s the judge, you know).

From one of his sermons, regarding women using marital aids…”God says you deserve death!”

I have read the Bible, and I can’t recall that passage anywhere.

But I am very confused about this. Yesterday we recieved a piece of mail about The American Family Outing sponsored by Soulforce, The National Black Justice Coalition, COLAGE and Universal Fellowship of Metrocpolitan Community Chuuches, all gay friendly or gay advocacy organizations. They are hosting “meaningful dialogue” at 6 mega churches across the country. One of the hosts is Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The brochure says “We believe these churches have the potential to be a positive force in ending the physical and spiritual violence perpetuated by some religious voices against LGBT people and their families.”

The group will be in Atlanta May 30-June 1, 2008. Read about it here at Soulforce.

Other pastors hosting events are Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Harry Jackson and Bill Hybels.

OK I get it now. Soulforce is sponsoring dialogue with influential pastors who are either homophobic or homosilent because of their huge influence over spiritual people.

They will seek to change the beliefs and values of people at those churches, I guess. A worthy endevour. Too bad they are not coming to Birmingham.

Might be interesting.

Bringing Bigotry Back Into Fashion

April 24, 2008

Larry Langford is becoming more bigoted as time goes by. On Friday he will host his “sackcloth-and-ashes prayer service to save the city’s soul,” according to John Archibald in his column today.

Less than a year after Birmingham passed a gay inclusive resolution embracing diversity, Langford is having Bishop Eddie Long from Atlanta as a guest. Southern Poverty Law Center describes Long as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the relgiously based anti-gay movement.”

Long’s church, New Birth Missionary Baptist near Atlanta, tries to convert gays away from their natural orientation and damns them to hell if they don’t (he’s the judge, you know).

From one of his sermons, regarding women using marital aids…”God says you deserve death!”

I have read the Bible, and I can’t recall that passage anywhere.

But I am very confused about this. Yesterday we recieved a piece of mail about The American Family Outing sponsored by Soulforce, The National Black Justice Coalition, COLAGE and Universal Fellowship of Metrocpolitan Community Chuuches, all gay friendly or gay advocacy organizations. They are hosting “meaningful dialogue” at 6 mega churches across the country. One of the hosts is Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The brochure says “We believe these churches have the potential to be a positive force in ending the physical and spiritual violence perpetuated by some religious voices against LGBT people and their families.”

The group will be in Atlanta May 30-June 1, 2008. Read about it here at Soulforce.

Other pastors hosting events are Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Harry Jackson and Bill Hybels.

OK I get it now. Soulforce is sponsoring dialogue with influential pastors who are either homophobic or homosilent because of their huge influence over spiritual people.

They will seek to change the beliefs and values of people at those churches, I guess. A worthy endevour. Too bad they are not coming to Birmingham.

Might be interesting.

>Trendy Gays

April 23, 2008

>It’s no secret gays are trendsetters*, and are often the first to embrace new technology. Take Leonardo da Vinci, who drew up plans for flying machines, or Michelangelo, who started that whole “laying on your back for years painting ceilings” thing.

So when it comes to blogging, it’s no surprise that 51% of gays who use the internet read blogs regularly, compared to only 36% of heteros, according to a Harris Interactive poll. 27% of gays and 13% of straights have posted comments, and here is one I really like, 21% of gays have written their own blog in the last month, while only 7% of straight people have. Story is here.

*I do not consider myself a trendsetter. I don’t have blu-ray, bluetooth, single serving coffee maker, or even an iphone. No Dyson DC-24 vacuum cleaner here. I just don’t have time to be trendy…other than finding “relevant and timely information” and posting such here. And there is barely time for that.

Trendy Gays

April 23, 2008

It’s no secret gays are trendsetters*, and are often the first to embrace new technology. Take Leonardo da Vinci, who drew up plans for flying machines, or Michelangelo, who started that whole “laying on your back for years painting ceilings” thing.

So when it comes to blogging, it’s no surprise that 51% of gays who use the internet read blogs regularly, compared to only 36% of heteros, according to a Harris Interactive poll. 27% of gays and 13% of straights have posted comments, and here is one I really like, 21% of gays have written their own blog in the last month, while only 7% of straight people have. Story is here.

*I do not consider myself a trendsetter. I don’t have blu-ray, bluetooth, single serving coffee maker, or even an iphone. No Dyson DC-24 vacuum cleaner here. I just don’t have time to be trendy…other than finding “relevant and timely information” and posting such here. And there is barely time for that.

>Three Topics (Smoking, Vivian Figures and $10,000)

April 21, 2008

>I am working on two group presentations this week, and don’t have much time to think. But I want to share three things with you.

Bessemer passed a Smoking Ordinance which should be enforced at this time. However, as a reader let me know, at The Stadium Grill on 4th Avenue smoking is still allowed.

We went to The Stadium Grill on Friday night and had great hamburgers (one of us had an open faced sandwich) and milk shakes. Close to the end of our meal, a customer sitting at the bar and carrying on with employees lit up a tobacco product.

None of the employees, nor the person in charge (who might have been the owner, I don’t know) said anything to this man. While he was smoking, four Bessemer policemen came in and sat at a table next to him, where the smoke could not have been missed. They did not say say a thing. Aren’t the police supposed to enforce the law?

After a few minutes another customer asked the man to go outside and finish, which the smoker did.

Are the police not aware of the law? These were guys in black police t-shirts and camo pants, with lots of guns and all, not your typical anti-smoking cops, but still, they drove Bessemer Police cars.

Next:

State Senator Vivian Figures has announced that she is running for Senate to replace Jeff Sessions. This may not be an easy task, but it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. I wish her much success. Here is an email I recieved from her.

As a lifelong committed Democrat and an Alabama State Senator for the past 11 years, I have announced my candidacy for the United States Senate. I Believe that it is time to give this seat back to the people by putting our children, our seniors and our veterans first, providing affordable health care to all Americans and working for a stable economy.

I have been very active over the past few months speaking to many audiences across this great state spreading my message of inspiration and unity. To win the Democratic nomination on June 3, it is imperative that I have the support of people like you who Believe that Alabama deserves better.

Our polling data shows that my campaign will be successful if we are able to raise the necessary funds to get my message out to the voters via literature, yard signs, advertising and other media. Our goal is to raise $500,000 by May 31, 2008. If you can contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford, we would be most appreciative.

I ask you to Believe with me that together we can make a difference and give Alabama what it deserves, bold, visionary leadership. Please go to actblue.com/page/figures08 and you will be able to donate to my campaign today.

If you, like me, believe Sessions has used his alloted time, please support this effort.

Third:

Do you want $10,000? Equality Alabama is giving it away. But you must buy a ticket, and only 400 are being sold. Tickets are $100 (which also will get you 2 seats at dinner). The deadline for buying tickets is tomorrow, and the event is on the 25th. Here is the info: Equality Drawdown Hoedown. You do not have to be present to win.

Three Topics (Smoking, Vivian Figures and $10,000)

April 21, 2008

I am working on two group presentations this week, and don’t have much time to think. But I want to share three things with you.

Bessemer passed a Smoking Ordinance which should be enforced at this time. However, as a reader let me know, at The Stadium Grill on 4th Avenue smoking is still allowed.

We went to The Stadium Grill on Friday night and had great hamburgers (one of us had an open faced sandwich) and milk shakes. Close to the end of our meal, a customer sitting at the bar and carrying on with employees lit up a tobacco product.

None of the employees, nor the person in charge (who might have been the owner, I don’t know) said anything to this man. While he was smoking, four Bessemer policemen came in and sat at a table next to him, where the smoke could not have been missed. They did not say say a thing. Aren’t the police supposed to enforce the law?

After a few minutes another customer asked the man to go outside and finish, which the smoker did.

Are the police not aware of the law? These were guys in black police t-shirts and camo pants, with lots of guns and all, not your typical anti-smoking cops, but still, they drove Bessemer Police cars.

Next:

State Senator Vivian Figures has announced that she is running for Senate to replace Jeff Sessions. This may not be an easy task, but it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. I wish her much success. Here is an email I recieved from her.

As a lifelong committed Democrat and an Alabama State Senator for the past 11 years, I have announced my candidacy for the United States Senate. I Believe that it is time to give this seat back to the people by putting our children, our seniors and our veterans first, providing affordable health care to all Americans and working for a stable economy.

I have been very active over the past few months speaking to many audiences across this great state spreading my message of inspiration and unity. To win the Democratic nomination on June 3, it is imperative that I have the support of people like you who Believe that Alabama deserves better.

Our polling data shows that my campaign will be successful if we are able to raise the necessary funds to get my message out to the voters via literature, yard signs, advertising and other media. Our goal is to raise $500,000 by May 31, 2008. If you can contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford, we would be most appreciative.

I ask you to Believe with me that together we can make a difference and give Alabama what it deserves, bold, visionary leadership. Please go to actblue.com/page/figures08 and you will be able to donate to my campaign today.

If you, like me, believe Sessions has used his alloted time, please support this effort.

Third:

Do you want $10,000? Equality Alabama is giving it away. But you must buy a ticket, and only 400 are being sold. Tickets are $100 (which also will get you 2 seats at dinner). The deadline for buying tickets is tomorrow, and the event is on the 25th. Here is the info: Equality Drawdown Hoedown. You do not have to be present to win.