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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Some birthday musings I shared yesterday with an online interfaith community.


Tomorrow is my birthday. I mention the fact not because I seek attention — or sympathy (well, not exactly!) — but for another reason: tomorrow I’ll be 57, and that has led me to reflect, for the fifty-seventieth time, on the various flavors that infuse my personal creed. Heinz-sight is 20/20, right?

What follows is a very small portion of those reflections. (more…)

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Circling the Wagons

Last weekend in Salt Lake City there occurred a three-day event: Circling the Wagons – a conference for LGBTQ Mormons and their friends, families and allies. The title, “Circling the Wagons,” comes from my friend Carol Lynn Pearson’s book No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones.

Written from Mormon territory to a general audience, No More Goodbyes is a call to lovingly include in our families and our congregations our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. It dramatically shows the unfortunate goodbyes we continue to say because of homosexuality: to suicide, to ill-fated marriages and to family alienation. It also tells numerous inspiring stories of families and friends refusing to let anything come between them and their gay loved ones.

Carol Lynn (whom I’ve written about before) was the conference’s keynote speaker, but my purpose here is to share another address: that of Kevin Kloosterman, a Mormon bishop from Illinois who felt impelled to participate in the conference and traveled to Salt Lake at his own expense to do so. In an interview he gave to Joanna Brooks at Religion Dispatches, Bishop Kloosterman had this to say:

Trying to convey the pain I’ve felt realizing what gay and lesbian people have gone through, I quoted a scripture in Zechariah [Zechariah 13:6] where someone—who Mormons interpret as Christ—comes and shows wounds, and he says, “I was wounded in the house of my friends.” I used that imagery to characterize the scars of gay and lesbian people. I know it’s strong imagery. I just feel really mournful about what they have been through. All of these realizations are very new to me, and it’s still quite raw. I was trying to convey that I’ve felt a small sliver of what gay and lesbian people have gone through, and I’ve found strength and peace in the Savior.

A transcript of Bishop Kloosterman’s remarks can be found here, but I recommend watching the video (below) if possible.

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“A demonic idol”

This rank — and, dare I say it, un-American — idiocy deserves the widest possible notoriety; and by rights should be hung around Rick Perry’s neck until his potential candidacy sinks once and for all into a richly deserved obscurity. From Right Wing Watch:

One self-described ‘Apostle’ who has signed on as an official endorser to Perry’s The Response prayer rally is John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, a group affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation with ties to other The Response endorsers including Cindy Jacobs, C. Peter Wagner and Jay Swallow. In a sermon last August, Benefiel argued that America is under a curse from God because the country possesses monuments to pagan idols and that Americans needs to renounce those idols if not destroy them. Benefiel claims that the Statue of Liberty is in fact a “demonic idol” because it represents a “false goddess.”

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I just finished listening to the original cast recording of the new smash-hit Broadway musical The Book of Mormon (thanks to Rolling Stone magazine). Loved it. Lots of “ridiculously catchy” tunes, which I expected (by Robert Lopez, who composed the songs for Avenue Q), and some Very Bad Language (also expected); but I wasn’t prepared to be so touched by so much of the show — particularly by one song, “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (say it out loud, fast).

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