A Poem- The Tourist

We are the tourists;
always looking for the latest getaway.
We always try our best,
to find the cheapest stay.

We lounge on the beaches and see the sites,
We follow the signs along the road,
We try to get advice from the locals,
And we try to do everything while it is still daylight.

In the Maritimes, we are the bread and butter.
We go to the Island, the mountains, and the coast;
We buy their produce and enjoy their songs,
We enjoy their laughter, and eat Island lobster!

We come at the start of Victoria Day.
Throughout the summer is our stay;
Will we come back again when the snow melts away?
Or will we stay home and be the local tourists after Labor Day?

 

Quote: The Exit Door is That Way

From Randy’s post:

Systemic bigotry and bias have been passed down for generations. Many LGBTQ Christians feel our only option is to become something we are not. We are forced to conform to church teachings based on cultural conditioning, not the life-giving and affirming teachings of Christ. Shame and condemnation are repackaged as smiling promises of liberation from “brokenness” and “freedom from homosexuality.” If we do not conform to what is presented as our only option (a false projection of self), we are disenfranchised, abandoned, oftentimes punished and routinely stigmatized…

As a result, unfortunately, too many LGBTQ people die slowly through self-loathing, destructive addictions and unhealthy relational patterns. Even worse, some choose the horror of suicide.

The over-arching point I am trying to make is this: I believe that every single day the Pulse tragedy is repeated when LGBTQ persons around the world are thrown out of their homes, violently attacked, persecuted, murdered, or take their life because of culturally driven and public/church policy accommodated religious stigmatization of LGBTQ people…

Stop the abuse. Stop demonizing us for who we are and how we love. Stop the killings.

… Nuff said.

Article: After Orlando, spiritual reparations for LGBTQ people

Because this article was SO good, I’m reposting it in full from the original source. These are not my words, but I swear they repeat what I’ve been thinking for the last few years.

One of the encouraging responses I have witnessed in the wake of the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando is the admission of guilt on behalf of some churches and religious leaders, recognizing that the perpetuation of our theological messages about LGBTQ people over the years has been death-dealing. Many have seen anew the connection between anti-LGBTQ theological narratives and the perpetuation of violence against LGBTQ people in society. Others now recognize that even our silent complicity in this spiritual violence has a high cost.

I have written elsewhere about how anti-LGBTQ violence is fueled by theological narratives. In sum, for generations, the denigration of LGBTQ people has appealed for validation to the most powerful language and symbols available to humanity, setting messages of scorn within an ultimate context by conscripting sacred text and even the mind of God in the justification of oppressive activity. The theological maligning of LGBTQ lives makes it easy to know who it is theologically appropriate to hate, whose bodies are fitting targets for violence, and whose souls even God couldn’t care less about.

For LGBTQ people, the mechanisms of oppression have nearly always been waged first against our souls. But it never ends there. This spiritual violence has led to innumerable suicides, hate crime violence beyond what we know through the collected statistics, and the marginalization of LGBTQ people in the very institutions they should feel most at home: their families, their churches, and their communities.

Feeling remorseful for this history of theological violence against LGBTQ souls isn’t enough to cultivate spiritual and physical wellbeing for new generations of LGBTQ teens, or to make our churches more welcoming spaces for the fullness of LGBTQ lives, or to heal the deep wounds of our religious institutions wrought by severing parts of our collective body asunder through spiritual violence. Rooting our response in the gospel, our call is not simply to feel guilt over past harm or even to ameliorate of future harm, but to heal the wounded and bind up the broken and to become repairers of the breach we have created. In the case of battles waged against the souls of queer folk, our reparations for wrongdoing must address the ways we’ve spiritually and theologically structured our lives and institutions to marginalize, silence, and spiritually harm LGBTQ people for generations and to repair the damage wrought by this violence.

These spiritual reparations might look something like:

  • Supporting initiatives to help homeless LGBTQ youth in your city in response to the ways theological narratives about LGBTQ people have wreaked havoc on families that reject their queer children based on these narratives’ implicit and explicit messages. (I have written elsewhere how you might get started on this work.)
  • Supporting initiatives to address LGBTQ suicide in response to the ways theological narratives about LGBTQ people have wreaked havoc upon the psyches and souls of LGBTQ people, at times making life seem unlivable. (Here’s a place to start.)
  • Funding scholarships for LGBTQ seminarians within your denomination or at a local seminary, helping a new generation of LGBTQ people to follow their sense of call to enter ministerial training after being barred from following this call for generations.
  • Actively seeking out qualified LGBTQ candidates for your congregation’s ministerial positions. If your church considers itself a “Welcoming & Affirming” congregation but the general consensus is that you wouldn’t hire an LGBTQ minister, you still have work to do to become truly “welcoming” of LGBTQ people into the full life of the church and “affirming” of the goodness and wholeness of LGBTQ lives.
  • Regularly studying theological literature written by LGBTQ theologians. Not just books that argue for LGBTQ inclusivity, but theological texts that take the embodiment of sexuality and gender identity seriously in their analysis. If you don’t know any, you could start with James Alison or Patrick Cheng or Pamela Lightsey or Elizabeth Stuart.
  • Inviting LGBTQ preachers into the pulpit at least a few times a year if you don’t regularly have queer folks filling that roll in your congregation. The visibility of LGBTQ religious leadership is important in resisting the power of deeply ingrained anti-LGBTQ religious narratives – especially for the LGBTQ young people in your church.
  • Straight and cisgender clergy cultivating relational space with queer clergy in your city or denomination in which queer clergy have the opportunity to speak to their experience in a space of openness and receptivity.
  • Your church being the first to respond vocally and prophetically in public spaces to the attempt to pass laws that harm LGBTQ people in your community and building coalitions to eradicate those laws that already do, and risking something of your own institutional life to do so. (Use this site, select a state or an issue, and assess the legal climate in your state.)
  • Standing up to sibling congregations and denominational bodies that perpetuate anti-LGBTQ theological messages, holding them accountable for the soul violence they are doing to LGBTQ people.

Churches owe LGBTQ people a spiritual debt for the decades upon decades of violence against our souls. It’s time to start paying up.

Written by Cody Sanders in Baptist News

 

Isaiah 53:4-11, NLT

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows[a] that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
    a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
    the sins of us all.

Continue reading

I hate you

“Cipher 8, I will ask you once again: Are you positive Watcher Sparrow had no place in your dealings aboard Darth Jadus’ ship?’

Cipher 8 nods, standing at attention. “Yes, Darth Caedusios. I am the one who used the codes to trick Jadus; Watcher Sparrow did not know what was happening.”

“I see. How unfortunate for you then: Slapping Darth Zhorrid, standing up to and overthrowing a Dark Council member! Crimsèn, do you not understand how serious this situation is?”

Crimsèn bows and states, “I understand too well, brolin. That is why I have taken full responsibility.”

“Indeed. And that is why I have no choice, Crimsèn but to ensure you never prove to be high risk again.”

Crimsèn asks in a whisper, “Is that why you drugged me …?”

Darth Caedusios stands and looks out the window. “Yes. And also undid what Darth Karmic did to remove your…”

Crimsèn widens his eyes. “No… No, no, no, no… Caed-Caedusios, brolin, you didn’t?”

Caedusios turns around and looks at Crimsèn with a blank expression, though Crimsèn can feel the guilt. “You did… You did! Why?”

“Because the alternative is both my death warrant and yours. I… I had no choice, brolin.”

“No choice? Jadus was mounting an assault on the Empire! We had no choice but to stop him. Would you have preferred I just let him do what he wanted to do?”

“Of course not, Crimsèn! But you still openly defied a Dark Council member! And slapped Darth Zhorrid… Who’s next? Am I next?!”

“So you put an invisible shock collar back on me?”

Crimsèn pulls out his rifle in anger, “How could you, Caedusios?!”

Caedusios jumps up and shouts, “KEY WORD: LAISVAS!! CIPHER 8, stand down!”

Crimsèn feels it, his programming taking over. It shuts out his mind and his Force use. Though it is different: He can still use the Force, and still sense Caedusios. However, he cannot speak nor attack. He cannot even move! He just stands at attention: “Command received, and obeyed.”

Darth Caedusios widens his eyes at the gray, empty, lifeless eyes staring back at him. He used the same word that Tik’shasôt used silence his brother? The Darth who has spoken out against slavery? All in the same of salvation from death? Caedusios gazes down, for it was too late to undo what he has done.

He sighs and continues: “Excellent. Now, you will not speak of your programming directly with anyone. Not even Izkiel. He will learn of it soon enough. Understood?”

“Understood, my Lord,” Crimsèn states in his monotone, boring Cipher 8 voice. No life, no Force, no Crimsèn. Just obedience, like a slave. His own brother, the man who saved him from Tik’shasôt and wanted him to be free of brainwashing put the slave collar back on? A man who is against slavery?

Caedusios walks over to Crimsèn and places a hand on his cheek. He then steps back and says, “Keyword: Laivas. You can talk as you, Crimsèn but I forbid you from doing anything but speak and then leave my office. Move from Korriban to Nar Shaddaa. Don’t come back until Lord Hevilas is dead. Understood?”

Crimsèn does only one thing. He looks Caedusios straight in the eye, with eyes a dark crimson red. “I hate you!”

He then walks out and does not look back. Why bother? There is not anything on Korriban for him now.

SWTOR Fanfic: Reflections of Cipher 8 For New Recruits 1

swtor 2016-06-12 14-23-05-63One of the hardest things about being a field agent, or a Cipher, is being alone in spite of being with so many people. True, within Intelligence agents have their Watchers, handlers, Keeper, and even the people in the immediate surroundings of their mission. Yet, those people are there to do their job or for you to diligently do yours. No one truly is with you, and that can lead to lonely assignments.

This is why I cannot stress enough to agents to gather an inner circle of people you can trust. Even if you are just able to acquire one trusted companion, it will tip the balance between a successful career and a career that drives you to insanity. These companions can be simply colleagues that genuinely say hi to you on occasion, or they can be a life mate. What role they play in life is of no consequence so long as you can state they fulfill at least one of these things:

1. They are trustworthy: And I do not mean they are trustworthy in the sense they can be told anything. No, in our line of work that kind of trust is impossible. I mean the kind of trust where the person knows when to keep asking questions, and when to stop asking them. Our work is questioned enough, you do not need a companion who asks questions incessantly. Instead perhaps a companion who will simply do as asked anyway, regardless if you can’t or won’t give them all the answers.

2. They’re watching out for more than just your back: The back is not the only place an agent is vulnerable. Since we are not Force sensitive, we cannot read the minds of people we are interacting with. This means someone who we think and assume is under our thumb could secretly know the game already. Sometimes the companion needs to be the one who’s truly watching our back, front, up close, and even far a way.

3. The know who you really are. Being an agent  means being the Empire’s janitors, administrative assistants, and hitmen all at the same time. Our work requires us to take on disguises, lie through our teeth, and even change our appearance so drastically. If you can find a companion who can remind you of who lives behind the disguise, and even rip it off you during the most private of moments, then keep them! Believe me when I say there will be times when you need to take off the disguise, and be your person. It could be the difference between an okay mission, and a successful one.

 

 

 

Quote: He is Someone of Immense Value

B at church

Who would apologise for someone with such a smile, and cuteness?!

Quote from the blog Reflections from Holland in which writer, a mother of two children, writes a letter to another mom she had a conversation with. A conversation that ended abruptly after he disclosed her oldest son has down syndrome because the other mom kept saying “I’m sorry,” about a son who did not need apologising for. This is why, from her own words:

 

I could have told you that our journey may look different than some (then again, who’s life journey ever looks the same), and that it carries its own unique beauty. I would not be the person I am today if I had not had the privilege of walking this road.

I could have told you so much…

…and hopefully your discomfort would have dissolved, and you would have been able to see that my son is not something to apologize for…he is someone of immense value–a good gift I will always treasure!

So, today, as I remember our short encounter, I bless you, and I pray that you will have opportunities in the future to truly see and know the person behind the disability. I promise you that your life will be enriched!

Finding Dory and Finding Autism

Finding Dory and the Autism Spectrum:

Throughout the movie, Dory is constantly apologizing for being forgetful. Constantly. And I could truly feel for her. She just wishes she could remember things, but she can’t.

So yes, I have an amazing memory. Yet, I still have major deficits. I struggle to understand things socially. Or I need extra help with things that come very easily to others. And I feel so bad about it at times, especially when it affects other people. I’m constantly apologizing, too. There are honestly moments I wish I wasn’t on the autism spectrum.

But I am.

“Finding Dory” teaches people that it’s good to be different. It’s OK to struggle sometimes. And for that reason, I could truly relate to Dory. I often feel like I’m not capable of doing things. But when I saw this movie, I cried. I cried because I realized I wasn’t alone. I cried because I finally realized many people feel like they aren’t good enough. But this movie reminds us that we are.

We just have to remember to keep swimming.