Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I must confess that a part of me never thought I would live to see this day. I certainly did hold hope in my heart. I have enthusiastically celebrated the multiple wins in our quest for equal rights, and have watched in awe as leader after leader changed their position in favor of full civil liberties for all. I will never forget the feeling in my heart of hearing the first African-American president speak in favor of full martial equality for lesbian and gay Americans. It was stunning! And yet the contrast for this mid-fifties year old man is profound. I remember well the days when I was still a religious abomination and a psychological aberration. I painfully remember being bullied and maligned, rejected and displaced. To be marginalized for being what you are leaves scars that perhaps only other marginalized people can understand. And yet while I know I have a place in broadening the scope of human acceptance by speaking up and speaking out, I also embrace the truth that my being born in a precarious expression also provided for me the cocoon against which I could beat my strengthening wings. I am here on earth not to garner outer affirmation, but to establish an inner autonomy based on my spiritual Authority/ identity and thus my justified human liberty. I will continue to be a torch for full human equality, but I will not wait for higher courts to approve and validate my existence.

A myriad of emotions continue to flow through me as I try and assimilate the fact that as a gay US citizen my marriage will now be federally recognized. Though the state of my residency still fails to offer my husband and I the full liberties of our heterosexual contemporaries, the striking down of D.O.M.A. assures that we are soon to be entitled to the 1100+ benefits that male/female couples have long enjoyed. We will soon be able to file joint tax returns, be eligible for spousal benefits and automatic health surrogacy, and be assured that we are recognized as a legal union at the federal level. For someone that had to travel from Florida to Massachusetts to even marry this feels like a major victory. It feels like a huge leap forward for civil rights and for expanded consciousness. I know that there are a vast number of people that are far from celebratory of this win. There will always be an anti-freedom agenda, and I work to hold a space of openness and compassion for those that still oppose me. I must stay awake and centered to not take it personally. I believe in the principle and the practice of democracy. I am also vigilant for when the democratic process steals liberties and unalienable rights from equal citizens with unequal opportunities’. Evolution will right these wrongs, we can be sure of that. We are seeing this in action. The seeming blow to the Voting Rights Act must be rectified by those elected to ensure equal rights. My personal celebration today is indeed tarnished by knowing that a vast number of other Americans have been temporarily limited by the very system that is here to protect them. We cannot go back. Not at the individual or at the collective level. We are each responsible for not only our personal freedom but also for the freedoms of those around us.

So while I confess that there was a part of me that that never thought I would live to see this day, I am seeing it and feeling it and relishing it deeply. I am so grateful to the countless known and unknown heroes’ that have worked tirelessly and risked courageously for the freedoms I now enjoy. As illogical as it sounds, I feel somehow more married than I did yesterday. I know deeply that you cannot legalize love, and yet this decision has broken down a wall that kept countless couples from fully making the commitment that we felt drawn to make. Marriage is a powerful institution that makes a powerful statement. While my love cannot be legislated it has at a level been invalidated. And now, at least at the federal level, my husband and I can open fully to the benefits and statutes of the institution we entered into more than three years ago. We have always been equal in the eyes of our Source, and now we are closing in on equality in the eyes of our judicial system.

Love cannot be imprisoned. Love cannot be held back. There is nothing stronger than a commitment of the heart. And now I can even take that to court.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I am forever grateful to have been reared in what would today be called an Evangelical Christian Church. Because of that background, I can do Bible with the best of them. While that ability may not appeal to many or any on my blog list, it has provided me with an expanded perspective in my work as an interfaith minister. It is easy for me to understand why people take certain stances in life based on their literal interpretation of sacred writings. I am mostly able to compassion even those that use Biblical writings to malign my own human expression as a gay man. While there are many who think my orientation is a choice that will send me to hell, I know that their identification with that perspective is already a type of hell within my accusers. None of us escapes the pain of our own judgments. Sacred writings of most faiths were not written at a time where literal interpretation was the genre. The juice that comes from the teachings is derived as we read, contemplate, digest, and integrate the symbolic messages at a personal level. Even then there are scriptures that will resonate within us at a deep level, and perhaps even more of them with land flatly within the solar plexus. These are inspired writings of fallible human beings. The inspiration has to come through perceptual filters and programs. Cultural influences are always present, and knowing these factors, at least to some level, provides us with a clearer lens through which we are able to then glean the good.

One scriptural admonition that touched me deeply even in childhood was the commandment to “be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This notion is one of the key components in a religious prescription that instigated an internal war that still results in periodic battles. My religious formation was framed in the tension between the need to be perfect and my painfully obvious imperfection. I could never measure up to what I thought I had to be. This gave muscle to the tendency to suppress what might authentically arise in my humanity in service of what amounted to a fallacy of spirituality. I thought I had to become perfect in order to “get to God.” I didn’t know that the path home WAS a path of embraced imperfection. I was so busy denigrating myself that I couldn’t hear the whisper within my heart of my own Essential perfection. My legalistic self opinion, aversion, and resistance were what were blocking my experience of my Source. Suppression and denial are not healing. They are suppression and denial.

Central to the illumination of this scripture for me was when I learned that the word perfect in the Aramaic actually meant inclusive. Inclusive! “Be INCLUSIVE even as your Father in heaven is inclusive.” (I will leave the rest of the re-framing for those who choose to look more closely i.e. “Father, heaven.”) Being inclusive doesn’t mean to bring a tenacious scrutiny to all that I thought was unspiritual about myself. Inclusivity did away forever with the leering and punitive God-image of my Evangelical heritage. It invited me to give up my self-assessments and to accept that in my human condition there would be imperfection. It is a given. I am imperfect and that is perfect! Spirituality that is steeped in scrutiny and suppression will never lead to an intimate and transformative sacred experience. My attempts to be perfect only led me to division and denial. When I choose to include all of the parts of my human self the result is spaciousness and a felt-wholeness. I have found that inclusivity is a moment by moment practice, and it is one that leads to increased serenity and self-compassion. With my background it is not always easy. And the rewards of giving into the Inclusivity of my Source are nothing less than monumental.

If I could wave a magic wand over the human race and cast one spell upon the whole it would be for all of us to know the Inclusivity of our Source and the inherent worthiness of our Souls. Theology has inadvertently created a chasm between us and what it is supposed to be pointing to. At a level the mind will never comprehend that we are perfect within our imperfection. We don’t have to strive and struggle and seek for that. It is already so. It is for us to relax into. Be inclusive this day. Embrace it all by surrendering it all. Let go the self-commentary and turn up the self-compassion. Be humble enough to accept both your perfection and your imperfection. Be inclusive even as the One Source is inclusive. And that is just about as perfect as it gets.