Archive for the ‘life’ Category

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The Wheel

July 16, 2009

Wheel

I pulled a tarot card first thing this morning.  It was the Wheel of Fortune.  All in all this is a very good card.  It means that sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard or how little we’ve worked, some things just happen with no apparent reason, and they are to our benefit.  So today, I’m lucky, or so the cards would have me believe. 

I’m not a pessimist, but I’ve been thinking about this Wheel of Fortune.  It represents luck, but nothing about the card excludes bad luck or even mediocre luck.   A tarot website that I consulted, even suggested that this card is about karma, as in  “what goes around, comes around.”  Can that even be considered luck?

So now that I’ve been pondering on this card for nearly 6 hours, I’ve figured a few things out.  First, we’re lucky  for the majority of our waking hours.  We’re even lucky when we’re sleeping.   Many people die in their sleep every night; I didn’t last night, so I guess that makes me lucky. 

The candle I left burning while I went out this morning didn’t burn the house down.  I didn’t get hit by a truck while I was riding my bike to do some shopping.  I have sufficient physical fitness to ride a bicycle several miles.  No one stole the bike while I was in the store in spite of not using the lock to secure the bike.  

The convenience store was giving away free fruit smoothies.  I was able to ride my bike while carrying the smoothie.  There was no bad news in my mailbox.  I mislaid my cellphone, but found it quickly.  It looks like rain, but the sun is still shining.  A bee stung me 2 days ago, but I have anti-itch medicine to counteract the venom. 

My marriage is secure.  I have wonderful children.  My parents just celebrated 50 years of marriage.  Friends surround me.  I’m gainfully employed.  I have the summer off from work.  The tomatoes are starting to ripen.

So what is it that makes today luckier than other days?  Should I be on the lookout for that one big lucky event?  Should I buy a lottery ticket?

Or should I be content with the knowledge that on any given day, all of us are lucky to still be here?

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Tree Sitting

June 16, 2009

Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
 
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
 
A tree that looks at God all day,
and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
 
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
 
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
 
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
 
 
Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918

 

I found myself sitting in a tree today.  It’s not like I woke suddenly to discover that I was in the tree; it was a conscious act, I chose to climb the tree.  I’m glad I did.

Life has taken me to some new and exciting places these past few months.  Some of the locations are spiritual, accessible only through meditation, while others have been physical places, some of which I never dreamed I would find myself. 

Reading tarot cards at a Biker festival was a bit of surprise for me.  The whole experience took me out of my normal realm and dropped me in the midst of a community and culture with which I have had little exposure.  On top of being a stranger in a strange land, I was doing a strange thing:  promoting myself as a psychic reader and performing readings using my relatively new tarot deck.  I was amazed at what was coming from within, and from the reactions of the clients who sat down for a reading, I’m guessing my readings were accurate. 

So this morning, I sat down to do some more reading about psychic development, and do some meditation.  It’s one of those sunny, warm, late spring days (solstice is still 5 days away) and I have all the time to sit and read.  Alternating between reading and meditation, and keeping my glass full of iced tea, I took the time to explore my own life, and experiment with some new ideas. 

The experiment is how I ended up in the tree.  All of the reading I’ve been doing about psychic development stresses a connection to the earth.  The earth is a vehicle for both positive and negative energy, and it nourishes the soul.  One of the exercises directed me to ground myself by emptying all my energy into the earth, then allowing myself to be filled again with all of the life-giving energy that the earth has to offer.  It was at that point that I felt I should climb up the tree.  So, I did it. 

Trees are incredibly alive.  I certainly knew that I’d find plenty of insects, birds and the evidence of their presence.  I was not prepared for how fully vibrant and moving it would be to sit in that tree.  It was moving, literally and emotionally.  As I meditated, clearing my mind of all else and concentrating on one particular issue I am having, I could feel the life of the tree.  It swayed, it moved, it vibrated.  I could feel all of that life supporting me, and moving me with it.  I could the strength and vitality of the tree, and witnessed the flexibility of the strong branches.  The thin supple twigs at the far reaches of the tree seemed just as strong as the slowly moving thick trunk.    Through it all, I could feel the spirit of that tree, honoring my own humble meditation, holding me up, giving me strength as I asked the Supreme Being of the universe to help me. 

The spirit of the Green Man blessed me today.  My soul is better for it, my life has been enriched, just because I did some tree sitting.

 

Thank you, Green Man.

Green Man

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Storyteller

May 26, 2009

You know these guys.  You somehow get dragged into a tent at a festival, or the school sends home a notice asking you to bring your child to school for an evening of storytelling.  You prepare yourself for an hour of some old guy in bib overalls, telling endless stories that end abruptly and make no sense.  Perhaps it’s a woman in a long calico dress who lived on a commune in the 1960’s, and she breaks out an autoharp to sing a song about spinning wool, but either way, you feel like you’re in for a real snoozefest. 

In this case, I needed to pick up some credits for Pennsylvania’s Act 48 continuing education requirement for teachers, and this storyteller was hosted by a local elementary school.  All I had to do was show up, listen to a few stories, and collect my 1 hour credit. 

Unfortunately, I was drawn in.  This guy was good, perhaps too good.  I had to give him credit, he was in corduroy pants and suspenders instead of bib overalls.  His first story was not only enough to hold my attention, I found myself imagining what this 8 foot tall hairy woman would look like.  I wondered how this “regular man” could leave the child he had with the hairy woman, and I certainly couldn’t imagine how he could leave his son, no matter how ugly the kid was.  

So when the storyteller asked us to close our eyes and go on a journey, I did so quite willingly.  Why not?  I’ve been practicing some meditation lately, and I figured this story could be like a guided meditation.  We were directed to walk into the woods.  As we made our way through the forest, we were told to follow the path to the big tree up ahead, our family tree.  Our next instruction was to take a close look at it, feel the bark, look down at the roots, gaze up through the branches into the sunlight. 

Our storyteller asked us to do what seemed to be impossible, but it was afterall, just in our minds.  We entered the tree.  We were doing this collectively, a group, in the school cafeteria, but at this point, the story, and the experience became very personal.  I’d even describe it as sensual and intimate without being sexual.  A tree is an awesome living thing, and to be in the tree, our own family tree, is a deeply personal experience.  

“Go down to the roots, and if you see an animal there, greet them; listen to what they have to say.”   I saw a skunk, which made me laugh a little, but I heard him say what a great honor it is to live in this tree, and that I was a special part of the life of the tree.  I travelled to the highest branches and met a robin there.  The robin told me that the branches of this tree have given me the ability to soar.  I thanked both the skunk and the robin and returned to the trunk. 

Our guide asked us to leave the tree and start back on the pathway to our real world.  We rubbed our hands together, perhaps to awaken our minds to our present reality.  Then we wiped our faces to open our eyes and leave behind that great family tree we discovered in our imaginations. 

Storyteller, where did you take me this evening?  I’ve been playing with myth and magick, story and dreams.  Meditation has taken me to places much like you showed me tonight.  Once again, I am reminded that we are all connected. Family connections, whether we like it or not, can be very strong. They can be help us or hurt us.  Ultimately, the family tree determines not only who we are, but provides those heaven-lifted branches from which we take flight to become the person we are meant to be.

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Absent

April 27, 2009

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here on this terrestrial ball.  For me, writing is connected to spirituality, and lately, I haven’t felt very spiritual, or even like I have anything of value to say.  I know my pastor would say that I am going through the “valley of the shadow”.  I suppose this is where I find myself, but not in a despondent, depressed, or desperate situation.  Let’s say that I’m “in transition”.

Back in December, I wrote about my experience of leaving a job and church that I loved, the way in which that it appeared I was forced out by a new, and interim minister, and the betrayal I felt by the congregation.  I admit that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that experience.  I’m hurt that so many who greeted me warmly every Sunday morning do not care to know what is happening with me now, do not wish to understand what could have driven me away.  I keep asking myself “where is the love that they so freely professed?” 

I am reminded that this is not the first time I’ve experienced alienation from a group of Christians.  As a matter of fact, recalling the experiences of my parents, other ministers that I’ve worked with in my career as a church musician, and a variety of  tales that have been related to me by those who’ve been mistreated at the hands of Christians, I’d have to say that it is the natural condition of churches to destroy its own members, or at least to ostracize those who are “not our kind of people”.   Of course, this is done in spite of the clear command in scripture to Love One Another.

I’ve been absent from church services since December.  Oh, I’ve gone a few times, but you could count those on the fingers of one hand.  Two of those services were to substitute for an organist who needed time off after surgery. We visited a Unitarian church but didn’t quite feel like it met our spiritual needs.   I attended my husband’s church but found it lacking of any real substance;  it felt like they’d found something that worked at one time and saw no need to review it’s effectiveness.  Now they simply continue performing the same empty rites out of obligation. 

Where I’m not:  I’m not sad, depressed, or suicidal.  I’m also not lacking any interest in spiritual things.  Despite some snarky comments around Easter  in which I may have stated that we should reinstate the practice of feeding Christians to the lions, I have no contempt for those who find spiritual fulfillment in organized Christianity.  But I also think I am no longer one of those who can find fulfillment in the church pew.

 

So yes, I’ve been absent, from here at my blog, as well as at church.  Where have I been?  I’ve been hanging out with some people that most would consider as being on the fringes of religion, and others would say that they are just plain heathens.  That’s ok with me.  I’ve learned that those who have been persecuted, those who have lived through painful episodes in life, are the ones with deep insight and compassion.  I’m happy to be in their company, they tend to be wise people. 

I’m also no longer able to suppress my trust in my own intuition.  Since I’ve been paying attention to those subtle urges and thoughts that enter so quickly, I’ve noticed that they are becoming more accurate.  It is as if I am becoming more aware of the emotions, motives, and likely actions of the people around me.  This awareness gives me clues about how to act and respond in positive ways.  I feel as though I am connected to the whole of the universe, including the God that is omnipresent, and so much bigger than the God that is spoken of in the churches I’ve attended in the past. 

I hope that I’m not shallow, not trendy, but it seems that I may indeed be what is known as post-christian.  I can no longer participate in an organization that routinely does the opposite of its mission statement.  I’ve long hesitated to call myself Christian, but that does not mean I have discarded the teachings of Christ.  As a matter of fact, I hope I’m able to do a better job of following the great commandment than the Christians who stood silently while their new leader ushered me out the church’s door.

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Quit Your Whining About Valentine’s Day!

February 11, 2009

valentine-cupid-free-vintage-clip-art-1

 

Listen up, all you straight guys!  A gay man is going to tell you what to do about Valentine’s Day.  You’ve been complaining for months that your girl, your wife, your significant other just isn’t putting out on a regular basis, and now, the one sure night you could get some loving, you’re going to mess it up by complaining that Hallmark is forcing you to say “I Love You” just so they and the florists can make huge profits.  Well, as the song goes, it ain’t necessarily so.  Valentine’s Day celebrations took place long before Hallmark ever printed a greeting card. 

So, let this romantic fairy tell you what you need to do to keep your woman happy, and score yourself some passionate lovemaking on February 14th.   First, stop complaining about how you’re being blackmailed, bribed, coerced, forced to fork out big bucks to let your girl know what she already knows:  that you love her.   Second, this little celebration doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.  If your woman has any depth (read: not a shallow gold-digger), you can put forth a small amount of effort and reap big rewards. 

Here’s my suggestion:  DO buy a gift.  It can be something small, like a candle, or stuffed animal, or inexpensive jewelry.  You might even skip the gift, and buy the $15 flowers at WalMart, if you follow my next suggestion.

Dinner:  you can take her to dinner, but that may mean handing over big bucks, and that’s if you’ve remembered to make a reservation.  Instead, why not “cook” for her?  I know, you can’t cook, but I bet you have a microwave oven and a supermarket nearby.  Here’s the plan:  create an easy, almost no-cook meal, and serve it to her.   Most supermarkets make it almost painless to look like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen.   Purchase the following things:

  • bag of salad
  • small bag of sliced almonds for the salad
  • make sure you have salad dressing, something light
  • frozen vegetables in a steamer bag
  • rice or mashed potatoes in a microwave container
  • rotisserie chicken from the deli or Boston Market
  • 2 slices of cheesecake from the bakery

That’s the basic meal.  If you’ve got some skills you can add more to the salad, dress up the veggies, and add a sauce to the cheesecake.  Don’t forget some wine or champagne.

Now, get the table ready.  Think about where you will serve the meal.  The dining room is nice, but why not try another room?  How about setting up a small table, with a tablecloth, in the living room?  Even better, set the table in the bedroom.  Use your best dishes, add some candles, and be sure to have some music playing.  Make sure the music is conducive to getting her in the mood.   The best part of having dinner in the bedroom is that you’ve already got her close to the bed!  How can she refuse after all this “effort” you’ve made? 

Straight men:  I have faith in you!  You can do it!  And she will reward you with a night of passion, I guarantee it!

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Raising the Stakes

January 14, 2009

It’s happened again!  We’ve been the victims of a drive-by gifting.  I reported last month that Scott and I had been the target of what appears to be a gay-bashing, except there was no violence, no vandalism.  The would-be bashers simply threw gay porn magazines at one of our vehicles.  This time, our Furtive Fairy (is that the gay counterpart to a secret Santa?) left us a toy.   An adult toy.  Silicone anal beads.

Scott had left for work already, and I went out to warm up my car before work.  I saw something lying on the road where his van was parked and thought that maybe something had fallen off his vehicle.  I walked over to inspect it, and was surprised to discover that we had been “gifted” once again. 

I’m not sure what to make of these events.  In some ways, it feels like we’re being gay-bashed, targeted because of our orientation.  In another way, though, I can’t say that we’re being “bashed” because the actions of this person aren’t intimidating. They’re doing no damage to our property, nor to us.  We’re just left standing there scratching our heads. 

Here’s what a few of my friends and colleagues have offered in the way of understanding this puzzling person or persons:  Perhaps this is a deeply closeted gay man who resents the fact that Scott and I are living our lives in the open for all to see.  We don’t flaunt ourselves, but it’s clear that 2 men are sharing a house and they are a couple.  So this bitter man has all the gay porn magazines, and evidently some toys that he can taunt us with.  I can imagine that he buys these things and satisfies himself, then in a rush of guilt, purges his life of these things vowing never to do it again.  His own self-hatred is turned toward us, and we are the recipients of his gay exorcism.  Internalized Homophobia that occasionally is aimed at those who live the life he feels he can not live.

 tailpipe-small1

On the other hand, maybe those beads just fell out of someone’s tailpipe.

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When You Can’t Prove What is Obviously True

December 31, 2008

It all started with a phone call from the new interim pastor of Paradise Christian Church* (wink and tip of the hat to preacherlady). 

“This is Reggie Dominy.  I’m the new interim pastor here at Paradise Christian.”

“Yes. Good to talk to you.”

“I’ll be selecting the hymns for the worship service from now on.  I guess you’ve been doing that for a while?”

“I’m really uncomfortable with that.”

“Why?  That’s not typically the organist’s job.”

“Well, it’s part of my job description.  I do it well and I’m not comfortable giving it up.” 

And that’s how the battle began.  That phone call lasted more than thirty minutes, and during that time, I found myself making some strong and defensive statements to a stranger who’s face I’d never seen.  I felt attacked, especially when Reggie said that he had to pick the hymns because we needed to change the way we do things since attendance at worship had decreased.  I told him that he was making it sound as if that was my fault; as if my music were the cause of people not attending worship services.  Reggie said he wasn’t saying that, but how else could I read that implication in the context of this conversation?

In the first service over which Reggie presided, there were at least five statements that sent up red flags in my mind.  From our phone conversation, it sounded like Reggie desired to create a solemn, even somber service steeped in traditional worship and laced with long moments of silence and reflection.  Nothing could have been further from the reality of what happened that very first Sunday in November. 

The humor was abundant as well as inappropriate.  Reggie set the tone in the announcements which are made before the organ prelude and the official start of the worship service.  As Thanksgiving was approaching and the Outreach committee was planning on giving food to several needy families, a plea was being made for congregants to donate canned goods.  Reggie’s pitch went like this:

“You know that can of salsa you bought seven years ago and it’s been sitting there on your shelf and you don’t know why you bought it?  Go ahead and bring that in for the food drive.”

It was then followed up with some muttered statement about buying a new can of something to go with it.  The request for food donations was being played for laughs, while the sincere request was downplayed.   Throughout the service we learned a few things.  For instance, it became clear that Reggie loves to eat deviled eggs.  And just in case someone might not have gotten that message, Reggie repeated his declaration of love for deviled eggs in the next four consecutive worship services.  We also learned that he likes to hear jokes, and that we should feel free to tell him Polish jokes and “jew” jokes.  For some reason, as Reggie made that statement, he hesitated, as though there were more kinds of jokes he enjoys, but felt it best to edit himself as this was part of his introductory sermon.  We also learned that there is a proper way to introduce onesself, which, one would know how to do “if you’ve ever been to college.”  What an effective way to discourage the “wrong” kind of people from attending church!

Most telling was the one particular family that Rev. Dr. Dominy made sure to mention in his sermon.  It was the one family in which the husband has a great job, the wife is a SAHM, and the two daughters are involved in dance lessons, baton twirling corps, and kiddie pageants.  They also happen to be the family who left the church in a huff, refusing to return until the full-time minister was either fired or resigned.  Dr. Dominy made sure to say their names, or compliment the beauty of the daughters, or involve the family in most of the services during November. 

On my last Sunday as music director, December 21st, Reggie did something that was at best unethical, and at the worst, creepy in the sense of looking too much like a child molester.  As part of his sermon, he asked the two little girls, both under the age of 12, to come forward and model their new Christmas dresses.  Embarassed, they walked to the chancel, where Reggie had them put their forefingers on their heads and do a ballerina turn for all to see the new outfits.  Then, in spite of smaller children moving back and forth between the sanctuary and the nursery, Dr. Dominy gifted the two “models” with presents, to be opened there in front of everyone. 

The weeks between that initial phone call and my final service were stressful. Communication between Dr. Dominy and myself was archaic.  He would leave handwritten notes, in the most screeching hot pink ink, on the piano.  I asked our secretary why he didn’t use email.  She replied that he wasn’t very computer savvy.  That statement that was refuted in the coming weeks when, during a sermon, Reggie mentioned looking things up on the internet.  It was countered again in a meeting of the church committees in which one member spoke of the email exchange that he and Dr. Dominy had. 

The hymns that Dr. Dominy chose were ancient, plodding tunes with dated language.  Although one of his stated reasons for taking the hymn selections away from me was the need to match the hymn texts to the scriptures, I seldom saw how the two aligned themselves.  Several times within those few weeks that Reggie and I worked in the same building, he repeated hymn choices.  I was left wondering if he selected hymns the way he selected the Psalms for our worship services:  numerically.  On his first Sunday in worship at Paradise Christian Church, Dr. Dominy selected Psalm One for our call to worship.  In subsequent weeks, the Psalms were used, in numerical order, regardless of the sermon topic, and regardless of the scheduled readings from the Revised Common Lectionary

The final straw came on the morning of December 19th.  I received a text message from our secretary asking me to call her asap.  I replied with a request that she email me, as I had students all day (with my teaching position at a public school) and would not have a break to make a phone call until late in the day.  The email arrived quickly, and in it, was a message from Dr. Dominy that said:

Ok  here goes.    Reggie left me a note to ask you if you got a brass ensemble for Christmas Eve.  If you did, please get the name of the group and names of their songs to me on Monday.  If you did not, please contact the band director at local school district.  She has some names of students who might be available or some other musicians in the area.  She can be contacted at local middle school xxx-xxx-xxxx  Her name is middle school music teacher her e-mail address is someteacher@someschool.

I am sending you the bulletin stuff so that you can give me the song titles by Sunday (or Monday morning at the latest)  The ones in pink he would like the brass ensemble to do  and he would like the choir and the brass ensemble to join in on the other carols as well.

Reggie said to contact him if you had any questions or suggestions.  xxx-xxx-xxxx

Thanks Dana

Interesting thing about this email:  I do not recall having a conversation with Reggie in which firm plans were ever made about the Christmas Eve service, let alone such an important detail about hiring or assembling a Brass Ensemble for the service.  At my first opportunity to call, I phoned Dr. Dominy.  In that phone call, I was verbally pushed around.  During a break from ministry, Reggie had been a car salesman, and a good one according to some accounts.  I could tell that I was being manipulated by his words.  He objected to my statements about why it would be impossible to assemble a brass ensemble just five days before the performance.  He interrupted me.  He cut me off.  He dismissed my professional musical advice.  Then I figured out what was going on.  I was being placed in a “catch 22” situation:  fail to assemble the ensemble, and Reggie could claim I’m not doing my job;  get one together in short order with no time to rehearse, no many to pay them, no music to give them, and have a disastrous performance on Christmas Eve and he could say that I didn’t do my job as well as I should have.  For me, given all that I had witnessed in the previous weeks, my only option was to resign.  My plan was to do so immediately, leave them without a musician for Sunday morning as well as Christmas Eve, but friends talked me out that plan. 

I learned that the committee charged with finding this interim pastor had failed to check his references.  They hadn’t bothered to call his former churches and talk to them about his strengths and weaknesses.  After handing in my resignation letter, and feeling crappy for about 24 hours, I decided that I’d look to see what I could find on this guy.   I did a search for “Dr. Reggie Dominy”  on Google and discovered that the guy is pretty computer savvy, contrary to previous claims. 

I also found one particular piece of information that confirms what I suspected from that very first phone conversation.  Reggie seemed to have some contempt for me from the very beginning.  It didn’t make sense that an interim pastor would walk in and start changing things before ever experiencing a worship service in the way that the members were accustomed to worshipping.  Interim pastors usually keep things going, the status quo, until the permanent pastor is hired.  This bit of information explains why he and I could never work together.

In the eight weeks in which both of us, interim pastor and music director, tried to do our duties, there was rarely a moment of kindness, of friendship, even an attempt to understand each other.  Attempts by Reggie to put up a facade of respecting and valuing me, at least in front of the congregation, fell flat.  At one service, Dr. Dominy said that he appreciated the “beautiful competency” that I brought to the services.   Competency?  Well, I must have some adequate skills when it comes to music.  It’s like saying “I love you” to someone and hearing “and I’m fond of you as well.” 

What could make us resist each other like oil and water?  The search results contained a major clue:  a letter to the editor of an online denominational magazine, written by one Dr. Reggie Dominy.   Here are some relevant excerpts:

I have no problem deleting statements from the Barman Confession (ah, another confession) that are editorial additions and weren’t originally there. Make it pure! I do have problems with ignoring cogent statements in the New Testament regarding homosexuality (Romans chapter 1 seems rather clear.) The Scriptures have to be our final authority about the actions and directions of God. What makes an action a sin at the time written but not in the present? More people lie and cheat others than participate in homosexual activity, and we all seem born with that narcissistic trait (this makes it a natural act); maybe the Church should support, or at least condone, lying and cheating.

            I hurt for gays and lesbians who have in the past been wrongly excluded from the Church. I also hurt for those devout Christians who believe the Presbyterian Church has abandoned them in this decision. They feel NO peace, NO unity, NO purity in the General Assembly decisions. Our voted inclusivity feels like exclusivity for many devout Presbyterians. They feel the Scriptures have been ignored. Many will leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Whole churches will leave. We do not now exclude homosexuals from church membership; but our ushering in their ability to be church officers and ministers will usher out other true believers from the whole church.

          There were times in the past when portions of our Presbyterian Church supported slavery. There were times when we excluded folks from the Lord’s Table because they weren’t of our ilk. There were times when we Presbyterians haughtily looked down on those who were not like us in faith and practice. There were times when women could not be ordained. We overcame and grew through those parochial sins.

There’s so much there that I could write about, and perhaps I will examine more of this letter on this blog at some point.  The important thing to notice is that while attempting to sound compassionate, even loving toward the “homosexuals”  it is clear that Dr. Dominy does not like gay and lesbian people.  Nothing else explains his immediate dislike for me, nothing else explains why he felt the need to change my job description, nothing else explains why he created a situation with the purpose to tarnish my integrity with a congregation who felt I was doing a fine job for them. 

Dr. Dominy believes that my orientation is a choice, and as such, is a sin, much like lying and cheating.  For him, the scripture about such things is clear, although, he’s managed to find some grace in the Bible for himself, being a divorced man.  There are many more scriptures concerning divorce, than there are homosexuality.  Reggie hurts for gays and lesbians who feel excluded from the church, but then goes on to reinforce that exclusion.  Homosexuals are welcome to be members in the church, but if they are given positions of authority, church officers and ministers, then true believers will leave the church.  Did you catch that?  Whether Reggie admits it or not, whether he would claim his words as his own or deny them, it’s stated clearly in that letter, gays and lesbians are not true christians. 

My mind goes back to that phone call.  I recall Dr. Reggie’s claim that if he had known I was going to be so opposed to his removal of my job duties, that the phone conversation was going to go so poorly, he would have come to my house and visited with me and my…friend.  He choked on the word “friend.”  I didn’t correct him and say “husband” because I felt like I had said so much that was in direct confrontation that I didn’t need to add to the tension of that phone call.  I can never file charges of discrimination because I resigned voluntarily.  Even if I had been fired, the situation created by Reggie would have appeared to be a legitimate reason to do so.  Discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry is seldom blatant, but at church it is couched in the language of love and compassion, making it all the more painful. 

A final word to my friends at Paradise Christian Church:  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said  “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

*all the names have been changed