From Advocate News, about a story that my kids absolutely love…

“Gay penguin” book most hated, again

published Tuesday, May 6, 2008
A children’s story about a family of penguins with two fathers once again tops the list of library books the public objects to the most.”And Tango Makes Three,” released in 2005 and co-written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, was the most “challenged” book in public schools and libraries for the second straight year, according to the American Library Association. The book is based on the true story of two penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo who became a couple and fostered a third chick named Tango.
Read the rest here.

If you’d like to buy the book, click here.

j

From The Press Democrat

The Rev. Jane Spahr was cleared Tuesday of charges that she violated Presbyterian Church law by marrying two lesbian couples, but her right to continue the ceremonies remains in doubt, lawyers and church officials said.

For full article, click here.

j

For those of you in Austin, the next performance of the Capital City Men’s Chorus has been announced…

Join the Capital City Men’s Chorus on Saturday evening, May 17, at 8 p.m., as we CCMC take a look back at some of the great award-winning songs that have inspired and entertained us from stage and screen.
From Shakespeare’s “Henry V” to “Brokeback Mountain,” we’ll cover the spectrum of popular entertainment.

This concert will also feature the world premiere of “Resurrection,” a piece commissioned especially for the CCMC through grants from the Hollyfield Foundation and GALA Choruses. With words by award-winning poet George Klawitter and music by Karl Logue, “Resurrection” is a work which reminds us that while our struggle against fear and bigotry is not over, there is hope for our future.

And who knows. . . . a few wigs may fly as well!

Come take part in history!

Tickets $15 advance/$20 door

Sold at ccmcaustin.org, 512-477-SING and exclusively at Lobo.

I had to write a hymn for a class – I thought I would share it.  It can be sung to many tunes in the hymnal — anything with the little abbreviation “CM” in the corner at the bottom for “Common Meter”. I haven’t found a tune I like yet, but when I do I’ll update it.  It is based, of course, on King David and his relationship with Saul’s son, Jonathan, and the Book of Ruth.

David and Jonathan, they met
And wept behind a stone
They kissed and said their sad farewells
Again to be alone

Away, Naomi pushed her love
And Ruth refused to leave
“Where you go, I will go,” said she
Even if death takes me

Thank you God for relationships
You bless our love with life
Through good and bad you lift us up
Deliv’ring us from strife

j

Politics and Preaching

April 2, 2008

If the flap over Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, has given you any pause, please take a moment and read what Diana Butler-Bass has to say about it here.

A sample:

Anyone who attends church on a regular basis knows how frequently congregants disagree with their ministers. To sit in a pew is not necessarily assent to a message preached on a particular day. Being a church member is not some sort of mindless cult, where individuals believe every word preached. Rather, being a church member means being part of a community of faith—a gathered people, always diverse and sometimes at odds, who constitute Christ’s body in the world.

Amen!  And she goes on to provide the perspective which I think is so much needed when thinking about Rev. Wright’s comments, which have been so taken out of their context in the life of his parish in the fast-paced life of contemporary media, always wanting another sound-bite, another victim to spend hours of time pouring over, and to analyze without really reporting on anything.

Please take a few moments to read the piece if you can.

j

Signs of Truth

March 30, 2008

A sermon preached at St. James Austin on the Second Sunday of Easter, 2008.

Lessons for 2nd Sunday in Easter 

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be aligned with your love, oh God, our courage, our saving health, and our freedom.

You wouldn’t know it from reading most of the press reports, but the last General Convention of the Episcopal Church actually did talk about some things besides the Bishop of New Hampshire. They approved some changes to our liturgical calendar, and this past Monday we celebrated one of those: we honored the former Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero. The Archbishop was gunned down by an assassin in his cathedral shortly after giving a sermon against the anti-humanitarian junta in El Salvador in 1980.

That regime ruled through all of the typical methods of domination—fear, intimidation, and dehumanization: stealing hope from any source it could imagine. Death squads of the government hired thugs to rape, torture, and kill any who opposed their system. The poorest—the peasants of El Salvador—were the most persecuted. By 1980, 3,000 people a month were being killed. Corpses were tossed in shallow graves, and in trash dumps.

But the junta could not imagine the kind of hope that Archbishop Romero brought to life. The Archbishop spoke loudly against the injustices, and worked for nonviolent resistance to the oppression. Shortly before his death, he said, “I do not believe in life without resurrection. If they kill me I will rise again in the people of El Salvador… if God accepts the sacrifice of my life, then may my blood be the seed of liberty and a sign that hope will soon become a reality.” The Archbishop, of course, knew of a living hope that is imperishable. Read the rest of this entry »

Vermonters Come Around

March 27, 2008

In a sampling of Vermonters, 54% now say they support same-sex marriage.  That is the first time in Vermont’s history that a majority is in favor– showing that it takes exposure to us in order to understand and accept us.

Vermont legalized same-sex civil unions several years ago, due to a court-ordered mandate.

One wonders where equality would be in Vermont if equality had been left to fend for its own in a secular society that devaules relationship.

In the church today, it seems apparent to me that the places which are most opposed to same-sex marriage are those which place dogma over relationship.  The gospel seems to speak pretty clearly to that…

j