December 25, 2011
We opened presents last night because I will be working this morning at the one service our church is offering. Then we’ll pedal off to St. Louis for three days of fun and chaos with my brother’s family. My two sisters from Florida and Alaska will also be there. This makes the first time all four siblings and eight cousins have been together in one place. It’s going to be great.
Everyone will be seeing me without hair for the first time. I’m also round as a beach ball from the steroids. Not my finest moment for family pictures, but it will pass. It will be so great to see everyone!
I’m sorry for my prolonged silence. I’ve been especially moody, and they tell me I can blame the weekly steroid infusions. Some people get really mean; I get weepy. But only three more chemo appointments!
I will be going down to Florida for a couple of weeks in January. This is an annual trip, but this one has special meaning: it will be my last hurrah before surgery. Upon my return, I will have a single modified radical mastectomy on my right side in early February. My best friend since forever is coming up from Florida to baby me for a week. It’s only a two-week recovery since no muscle is involved.
I had originally wanted both breasts removed. But the odds of cancer occurring in the other breast is less than one percent for this kind of cancer; it most often recurs in scar tissue or in a distant site. And the fact that I had lymph nodes removed on the left side years ago from melanoma makes extensive reconstruction surgery very risky. So I will wear a prosthesis until I can have reconstruction on the right side and simple surgery to “match” on the left side.
After about six weeks of recovery from surgery I will begin radiation treatments. It will be daily (Monday through Friday) for about eight weeks. Then the waiting begins for reconstruction. That will be determined by what they find in the tissue from surgery; it could be as early as six months or as long as three years, waiting to see if the cancer recurs. I may be retired by the time I get the look I had when I was younger. But hey, if I’m going through this, I’m going to have something to look forward to.
When I went to my plastic surgeon for consultation about my options, he commented that I had to have caught this cancer early. He apparently expected to see me disfigured. Early?! It was stage 3C! I was aware of pink skin for five weeks by the time I had the mammogram and biopsy. Damn, this stuff moves fast. Many doctors treat the symptoms as an infection (as I had originally thought) for months before thinking about a mammogram. No wonder it’s so deadly. And all the literature tells you to look for lumps, when IBC grows in smooth firm sheets in the skin. I was just plain lucky to have caught this when I did. I know IBC is very rare, but still we should be informed.
Well, this wasn’t much of a Christmas post, but honestly, Christmas hasn’t been much on my mind in spite of the hours I’ve put in at church. Helping others make Christmas memories has been fulfilling, but it seems like I missed it this year. That’s just the way it is; I knew it would be different and I had no expectations. I’ve just lived day to day, but I’ve had a lot of happy moments, too. And in spite of the general tone of this post, I do continue to have hope.
It will be merry at my brother’s house this evening. I can’t wait! I hope today brings laughter, joy and hope to all of you, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, or sales.
November 15, 2011
Every one of us hungers for certainty. It allays the fear of the unknown. We can quiet our thoughts when we know what lies ahead. That knowledge doesn’t have to be true for it to be an effective balm. How often have we been hit with the truth that belies the certainty we held for so long? And it sends us reeling until we can find our way once again.
That is what it’s like to live with cancer: no guarantees, not knowing what the future brings. I know what I hope for, and I vacillate between the highs of hope and depths of fear.
Will God answer my prayers and the prayers of so many dear friends? Yes. But will it be the answer we want to hear? We’ll see. I’ve been thinking about God’s will for me. If His plans for me include an early death, don’t expect me to like it. I have things left to do, not least of which is to watch my children grow into their adult lives and be by my husband’s side well into old age.
While living with uncertainty is sometimes frightening, most often it is enlightening. I have come to accept ambiguity as a path to knowledge. Not knowing keeps me open to new information and growth. This is especially true in my faith journey. The mystery of God unfolds continuously and my faith continues to change and mature.
In between hope and fear is the middle ground of acceptance. It brings peace because it limits expectations, the source of so much disappointment and pain.
I await that sense of acceptance about my future. I’m probably on some well-defined stage of emotional progress as I deal with my diagnosis. It is important to be allowed whatever feelings are part of my journey, even if they cause discomfort. I’m okay with all these feelings as I process them. I’m okay with being angry, sad, hopeful, enormously grateful, and uncertain—often all at once.
It’s all part of life, and I cherish every minute of it.
November 7, 2011
I still suffer from brain fog but not as bad as before. My thought processes have picked up speed, but I still totally space obvious things. This is not good at work, as it burdens my colleagues to pick up the slack. I’m beginning to feel like a lead weight, so I’m programming my iPhone to remind me of tasks. It’s a lifesaver. I even lost my iPhone for a few hours. I searched and searched that house, and I had to go to work without it. I found it when I got home and immediately downloaded the Find My iPhone app.
My sister came up from Florida to visit for three days. It was so great to see her. I couldn’t join her and Sheba for a walking tour of downtown, but I did join them for the State Museum—where I saw clothes I wore in college in an exhibit about 70’s culture. Talk about culture shock.
Whenever you go to a new city, you need to visit places you can’t elsewhere, so I made sure my sister went to the Slippery Noodle Inn, a blues bar that is 150 years old—the oldest bar in the state. Later we went to Bub’s for their famous hamburger. It was featured on Man Vs. Food on some cable channel. We did NOT get the Big Ugly Burger (22 oz.)—we ate the MiniBub. Yum.
At one point I sat my sister down to talk about my diagnosis and prognosis. Triple negative breast cancer has a 70% survival rate of five years, compared to 93% of other types that are positive for at least one receptor (and therefore treatable with targeted drugs). That’s still not so bad, and I’ve beat cancer before.
When I was first diagnosed, the doctor sat down with me and Abe and carefully explained what they had learned. She wrote down notes as she talked, drawing pictures where necessary to explain growth, etc. At the end of the meeting she handed me the notes.
I went online to research the profile from the doctor’s notes: stage 3c, grade 2, triple negative. I was overwhelmed with the speed of diagnosis and treatment, and I didn’t do any more research after that. It was enough for now. But after my sister left, I finally opened a book that had been recommended by several people: Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book. It offers as much current information about the disease and its treatment as you’re willing to read, and I felt ready to explore the intricacies of surgery.
There was a word that popped up a few times in my reading that triggered my memory, and I pulled out the doctor’s notes again. Yeah, there it was: “inflammatory.” I flipped through the book to read more about that. What I read there sent me online.
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is the most aggressive type there is. It’s why I was rushed through to treatment so fast. And the five-year survival rate is 40%. The median life-span after diagnosis is three years. Only 28% make it to fifteen years. I understand that statistics are not a prognosis. While I will plan to be in that 28%, I live with the awareness that I most likely am on limited time.
This certainly strips away the trivial. Perhaps it’s just the newness of this information, but I wonder if the day will come when I do not feel Damocles’ sword hanging over my head. Every event is filtered through my new awareness, and so much does not matter.
I need to repair my relationship with my son, who is still angry over perceived shortcomings in his parents. I want my family to know they are loved. All else falls away.
I continue my advocacy for gay rights, knowing someone else is going to have to finish that battle for me. It pains me that the very time I reached my greatest effectiveness—starting a gay-straight alliance in my church, booking a presentation at a national conference—my power to be effective is being stripped from me. The GSA is on hold, and I will most likely not present at the conference.
It is not in my power to change what happens from here forward in regard to my health. So my energy will be focused on making time count. God help me do that well.
October 12, 2011
October 10, 2011
October 8, 2011
It’s three days before my fourth and last A/C chemo. (After that I will start a 12-week regimen of weekly Taxol infusions.) As I reported briefly on Facebook, the chemo and your prayers are continuing to work! The node tumor is undetectable and the large tumor continues to shrink about a centimeter per infusion. Can’t wait to see the progress in Monday’s exam.
I’m feeling okay today. My energy came back yesterday and will last until Monday afternoon. The energy drain is due to my very low hemoglobin: I’m quite anemic. It’s like climbing at 10,000 feet every day with no acclimation. That was no surprise, but I didn’t think about the cost of low oxygen on the brain. I’m slower but okay in the moment, and today’s energy is giving me enough brain cells to string some sentences together. But when I try to look back to the past or forward to the future—anything in the “not now”—it’s difficult. Here’s a picture to show you what I see:
Yeah, I don’t see anything either. And I’m not kidding. If I don’t have a picture to wrap around an idea, it’s just not there right now. And I get another dose on Monday of the stuff that takes it away. As long as it’s taking away the cancer with it, I can certainly live with that. I’m spending long stretches of time with literally nothing on my mind. So this is what it’s like to be a guy. ;)
My colleagues and volunteers continue to be wonderfully patient. I have instantly forgotten a question just asked and had to have it repeated. At least I could answer—although now I could not tell you what that question was for the life of me. I am thankful that pretty much all of my responsibilities are for events I’ve done for years, so my mental faculties aren’t being tested too much.
My greatest concern—after my health—is for the presentation I’m supposed to make in February at the national convention for Presbyterian educators. It’s a big deal, the first of its kind, addressing children and sexual orientation and gender identity. I need to be there. But this month was supposed to be the time I spent writing an elementary curriculum to be used in November at my church—with my bosses’ blessing. And today was the first day in weeks I could think long enough to put two sentences together. It all fades away in three days with my next dose.
I’m so afraid it’s not going to happen. I won’t cancel yet, and I might still get a slot for 2013; but this is the year for this subject in our denomination! Dammit, I need to do this, and I will be upset if I can’t. Yeah, I know I have a good reason. I don’t care. This is important. Someone needs to be talking to our church’s educators on this issue, and this year it was to have been me.
September 22, 2011
When I haven’t been working, I’ve been sleeping. More than a week has passed by, and I’ve slept it away. A friend pointed out that actually I’ve been fighting cancer. So yeah, I’ll own that.
I have been waiting to post something that doesn’t sound like a whinefest. Waiting hasn’t worked, so here it is.
I lost most of my hair on Friday, so on Saturday Abe lovingly and gently shaved my head, cleaned it up with his electric razor and finished it off with a Three Stooges buffing. I thought I would look like Mrs. Potato Head, but really I look like Elmer Fudd.
Now I have to fuss with scarves and hats. Do you know you have to iron those scarves every time you use them?! I’m getting advice from a number of my gay buds to ramp it up with operatic eyebrows and saturated lip colors. Me? I’m a beach bum! My eyebrows are disappearing, though, so I’m using brown shadow to fill them in. At least you can see them now. I do have two fedoras and a bunch of scarves to mess with when I have to go out in public.
I can’t get rid of this fool cold. In a coughing fit that scared my colleagues, I apparently cracked or broke a rib. (The sixteen-year-old physician’s assistant wasn’t sure.) Now I have codeine to stop the cough—and put me back to sleep. I’ve got a brand new batch of white blood cells, courtesy of a booster shot, that just might take care of this cold before next Monday’s chemo.
I still have cards, emails and meals on a regular basis that make me laugh, cry and be grateful for such good friends. (Wait. The meals do not make me cry.) With my colleagues’ and volunteers’ patience and help, I have been able to maintain my duties at work. Two big annual events this weekend will continue the busy “season” of the year at church, and they’re coming together well.
So in spite of all my whining, I’m still coming out way ahead. I remain so grateful for all of your wonderful wishes, prayers, and acts of kindness. It is the stuff of dreams.
Cross-posted on CaringBridge.org.
September 15, 2011
September 13, 2011
Everything looked good, so in spite of my cold and very low fever (99.2°), I was given the go-ahead. But the GREAT news is that my tumors were significantly smaller than when I had my first chemo two weeks ago. It's working! Good news too, that they gave me a different anti-nausea drug that really works. I'm somewhat flaky—two martinis—and tired, but this is such an improvement that I feel almost like dancing. It's those martinis.
Last night I checked the shower drain as I have every night this week. Uh oh. Lots of extra hair. It won't be long—literally. So I went online and ordered a hoodie that reads "I fight like a girl."
September 8, 2011
I spent three hours getting poked, infused and tested. I am thrilled to report my white blood cell count was very high, enough that I could go back home with my new antibiotics. Now that I’m home, it’s an almost normal treatment.
I am feeling less flaky these past few days, more like having had one martini than three. This is a good thing since I have few enough filters anyway. A little off-balance: almost normal.
My house is coming together after being ignored for a long time. I was talking to a longtime friend about my sudden unease with circumstances that didn’t bother me so much a month ago.
“It’s control,” she said. “Your life is out of control, and you want to have something you can manage. You’re aiming in on your house.” She nailed it. Fixing up the house seems like such a mundane thing; but it is bringing me a sort of peace amid the chaos. It feels almost normal.
Do you have any idea how wonderful “normal” is? The commonplace, tedious details of everyday living are beautiful markers of normalcy when the usual becomes unusual. To know what to anticipate, to be able to take things for granted, to have expectations met in an ordinary, typical way: ignorant bliss.
But there’s another side to this unusual situation: the outpouring of simple acts of kindness is an overwhelming balance on the scale against chaos. It is my privilege to be in a position of service, helping others. Now it is my turn to allow that privilege to others, that they may express the grace that awaits circumstances such as these. There is no true balancing of the scale when it comes to grace; it simply is. And the glorious part of it with these remarkable people stepping up in my life: it’s almost normal.
Cross-posted on CaringBridge.org
September 6, 2011
September 2, 2011
August 28, 2011
Friday I had a medi-port put in my chest just under my skin. It provides easy access for infusion of chemo drugs, which starts tomorrow. I will have my son take me to work, and a colleague who is just finishing her regimen will be my "chemo buddy" for my first time. Since Ben has to work, my neighbor Dee is going to babysit me tomorrow evening. (Abe returns from his national meeting on Thursday.)
I realized something yesterday: I haven't been listening to music for the past ten days. I always do in my car and often in my office as well. Each time I think of starting up the iPod, my thought has been "No, not now." It took me a while to figure out why, since music is so important to me.
Music reaches me where nothing else can, even the lame pop stuff. The powerful pieces are especially emotive for me, and that's what is stopping me. Music doesn't give me a feeling, it reflects it. I play what I feel. And I feel numb. There is no music without feeling, and so I cannot play it. It feels wrong. I did try once, but it became background noise and I turned it off.
Perhaps there is a danger in letting myself feel too much right now. I do okay at work and I entertain myself at home. But in the car, when there's nothing to distract me, I cry. It's okay, crying is good for me. But I must be holding back for fear of what may be there.
I have friends who are clamoring to help and have no way to do it from afar. But I thought of a way that anyone with just a little time can be a genuine help to me: make me laugh. No more than once a day—because I'm expecting a lot—write me a funny story about you, find me a link, send me a picture. I love to laugh, and I know it's good for me. Help me find my way back to the music.
Love you guys.
August 24, 2011
August 23, 2011
We are still waiting for the results of the HER2 test, which will determine which of two chemotherapy regimens I will follow. The first session of chemo will be this Monday. Meanwhile, I have to get ready. Today I got an echocardiogram that assured I have a strong heart. Tomorrow I get my teeth cleaned, because apparently it's really a bad idea to do that when your immune system is suppressed. After another biopsy tomorrow, on Friday I will have a mediport put in under my skin near the collarbone to provide an access point for the chemo drugs directly to the bloodstream.
I've been told to expect my hair to fall out about three weeks after the first chemo session. Since they say it's not as traumatic to lose short hair, I'm getting my hair cut very short next week. And now people will start calling me "sir" again. But hair grows back.
Sometime around Christmas I will have a full mastectomy and begin radiation. I may also be continuing a lower dose of chemo.
I have to say this is really quite inconvenient. I have things to do. But I have an army of eager supporters awaiting orders on how they might help. I really don't know yet, but when I need help, I will ask. People have been absolutely amazing. Astonishing grace abounds, waiting to be expressed. Once again, I am its recipient.
Life is good.
August 20, 2011
I have a fast-growing type of cancer that has spread to my skin and lymph nodes. At this point the plan is to have me start an aggressive program of chemotherapy followed by a complete mastectomy and radiation. There may be more. She sent me stat to Radiology for a bone scan and CT scan to see if it has spread further. While only the tests can tell us for certain, she used language in our meeting to indicate there is a real possibility of that.
The results of those scans might be with my oncologist when I meet with her Monday morning. I can’t help but notice all the lead times for results are being expedited and I’m being rushed to tests that normally take many days to get appointments and a week or more to get results.
Abe held off leaving for his national meeting, but he left today. He can’t do much here but hold me, and I love being in his arms. But now he’s turning his energy to what he CAN do, and that is his job. If he stays in the top ten nationally, as he has for over two decades, we might have the money to pay for all this. He will be on a plane in minutes if I ask him to be.
Meanwhile, my network of breast cancer survivors is kicking into gear. I’ve never seen anything like it. One survivor owns a day spa nearby, and on Mondays when all the other spas are closed, she opens for women fighting breast cancer and offers all services for free. That’s just a tip of the iceberg. Let me tell you, some women really know how to nurture. They are closing in around me in a warm circle of hope. I have to be honest: I need it.
I’m scared. Maybe Monday’s appointment will help me be less apprehensive about the future. A friend—one of many who are breast cancer survivors—will be with me. She had a double mastectomy a few years ago and is doing fine. She will be able to ask the questions I can’t think of yet. My head is spinning and all I know to do right now is stay busy with my work.
Shit. Pray for me, please.
August 16, 2011
Yesterday I learned that I have breast cancer. Apparently having had cancer (melanoma) before does not mean squat in preparing you to hear that word again. After I finished crying and cursing, my thought was “I’m not done!” I have so much to do before I leave this mortal coil; I don’t have time for this.
I’m still in shock. I don’t know enough—does one ever?—about this most common type: invasive ductal carcinoma. I have several friends who have been through it who are helping me choose doctors and know what to expect. The Female Medical Support Network has always been far more informative for me than any doctor, and this time is no different.
This really came out of nowhere. There is no history of it in my family at all, and I can’t think of anything that would make me more at risk than anyone else. It’s just a roll of the dice. I knew something was up when an apparent “infection” did not change over four weeks. The mammogram led to an ultrasound and a biopsy, all within a 2½ hour visit last Thursday. The ultrasound showed three spots that lit up when the doctor scanned for heightened blood flow. I suspect he knew then, but they don’t say anything until the lab results come back.
I will be having an MRI this week and probably surgery next week. I don’t know what sort of follow-up treatment will be required; more tests are in order.
I have told my family and friends, and the response has been wonderful. This may sound odd for anyone who has not experienced it, but I am looking forward to the overwhelming grace which has already begun to surround me. It happened when I had melanoma, and it really helped me deal with my fears. “Cancer” is a frightening word, and, yes, I am scared. While a number of my friends are survivors of breast cancer, three were not.
I will not go gently into that good night. I’m not done. Since this is my reality right now, I will be writing about it. Bear with me, and come along on this roller coaster of a ride.
August 1, 2011
"You smell good."
I don't wear cologne. "I smell like bacon!"
They really need to bottle that stuff.
July 19, 2011
July 8, 2011
July 5, 2011
I have been asking my gay friends to name “must reads” for anyone who wants to understand the modern gay world. I have read dozens of books, but now I’m getting into gay history with such authors as Edmund White, Andrew Holleran, Justin Spring, Armistead Maupin, and most recently Paul Monette.
Monette wrote Becoming A Man: Half A Life Story, a memoir of boyhood growing into a man who finally finds love. The journey to that love takes the entire book; only the final few pages give us any hope for Paul. It is a story of internal struggle and external posturing, trying to be what the world wants him to be. It is only when Monette realizes the fallacy of such expectations that he becomes capable of the love he so desperately wants. It is a familiar theme.
I’m finding so far that many gay men my age have a dark view of men. They lived through a terrible childhood, being told by the world in those innocent and tender years that they are at best “intrinsically disordered.” Ushered into a new era, they celebrated the years between 1969 and 1981 (Stonewall to HIV), which became a brief nirvana that crashed around them with countless funerals and bitter memories of lost hope. I wonder at any gay man’s ability to live through all of that and survive healthy and whole.
Monette’s memoir is bleak. Is it a template for most men of his era? I continue to read (currently a collection from the Violet Quill) and learn. If you have a recommendation for me, by all means let’s hear it.
June 15, 2011
This is the float for two restaurants, one of which I visit almost every week. I don't remember seeing these two at Ivy's—and I'm sure I would—so they must work at Greg's. Yeah.
June 5, 2011
On the way there I had noticed the brown highway sign pointing to the Creation Museum. I’ve seen it in the news and kind of rolled my eyes and sighed. After I passed the exit on the way to Cincy, it struck me that I might have the time to see it. Hmm.
I joked to Abe that I could stop by on my way home. But as I was driving it didn’t seem like such a joke. I did have some time and it would be fascinating to see, if it wasn’t too far away. When Exit 11 rolled up, I rolled off the highway. The museum was about a quarter mile away, ostensibly in Petersburg, KY but not close to anything but the highway.
In the midst of scrub and woods, I drove down a rural road and there it was.
The building is new and modern, and the grounds are well kept. There are gardens, a petting zoo, and several cafes on site. There was an officer in the parking lot directing traffic, and the lot was about half full at 10:30a, only thirty minutes after it opened.
The building façade is nice enough, if dull. The interior is really very good: animatronics and displays almost worthy of Disney. We started in a canyon setting and walked through an explanation of science vs. Genesis. (See those lights above? Never at Disney!)
According to founder (and former science teacher from Australia) Ken Ham, whose books are featured in the exit gift shop, one’s interpretation of today’s evidence originates in one of two views: human reason or God’s word. In the view of biblical creationists, the two cannot meet. Click on the picture to read the side-by-side comparison of the two viewpoints concerning fossils and the universe.
Biblical Creationist Theology
From the Biblical Creationist point of view, the universe is 6,000 years old. It was created in six 24-hour days. All animals that we know to have existed lived among human beings before the Flood—including dinosaurs. All animals were herbivores until sin came into the world, introduced by Adam and Eve. Until then, no animals were poisonous. Men married their sisters, but that was not prohibited because DNA was not corrupted by a bad gene pool.
The flood occurred about 4350 years ago. It was the flood that changed everything we see today: animals' bones were covered in mud; the continents shifted in geological seconds to the arrangement we see today; deep river canyons were carved in days or even hours; and all current animal life originated from the pairs off the ark. Their offspring rode rafts of dead trees from the flood to propagate on all the continents.
We enter a room in which life-size animated figures are building the ark. There are some pretty impressive small models on display too. This is the first stage, when the ark was being built.
From the time Noah landed and populated the earth, mankind has continued to stray from scripture. The museum leads us to the current times.
The condition of the world today, which apparently is nothing but terrible in their viewpoint, is due to scripture being abandoned by culture. At this point we enter a darkened black-and-red room intended to be frightening: a door has a dozen locks; graffiti is sprayed on a wall; we see videos of teenagers playing violent videos and watching porn; a church is being smashed by a giant weight as people sing inside. And on one wall is more evidence of a fallen world:
I can’t help but notice that "gay marriage" is front and center.
We move from this display to a repeat of the message we saw upon entering: science vs. scripture, using different and engaging displays of biblical characters and scientific evidence. (The duplication allows crowds to enter through either entry, crossing paths at the center area of "today’s world." It also makes its point in a visually distinct way, driving the message home twice. Well done from an educational standpoint.)
Who was there to see this with me? Many were apparently home schoolers, as evidenced by clothing and family units. (Full disclosure: I home-schooled my daughter through fourth grade due to our township’s low educational standards. BTW: I was right. But it was not about religion at all in my case.) All that I saw in attendance were white middle class. There were two buses in the lot from a church in Tennessee, and a man cell-shouting next to me told his phone that it was a six-hour drive from Alabama. One young teen girl, punked out in makeup and outfit, sat sullenly on a bench in one of the rooms.
The man who started all this, Ken Ham, is in litigation in Australia for alleged financial misconduct with his former ministry there. He has been banned from the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention for disparaging public remarks about a fellow speaker, although he is a popular keynote speaker at other home school gatherings. His ministry, Answers In Genesis, is in the final stages of getting huge financing for a theme park called Ark Encounter, to be built a few miles south of the Creation Museum in Kentucky.
I’ve read plenty about this museum, none of it kind. I won’t pretend to agree with any of its premise, but I also won’t be a shrill critic as I’ve seen in so many places. I felt quite the outsider while I walked through the museum. It was filled with absolutes. I understand that the people who go here are looking for answers, and Ham gives them that. In fact, all of his books in the gift shop are under the series name Answers.
There’s that desire for certainty again. Those who feel alienated from a world they can’t grasp or control for whatever reason will be drawn to someone who gives them answers. Ham was there to give a lecture on “Genesis in Today’s World.” I didn’t stay to hear it. But it appears that he draws people to HIM and not so much to God. It’s all about what he sees in the Bible, which is not to say it’s about God's grace. When the Bible becomes a weapon, it is no longer about grace. This is a ministry based on fear.
When I look for a person who will help illuminate God, I find that it is someone who steps aside to make God visible in their words and deeds. They disappear as they teach by example. I see the inner light. They make me like who I am when I am with them. They give me peace about my relationship with God—not doubt or fear, even in the midst of questions and ambiguity. I found no peace at the Creation Museum, and I pray for those who are still looking.
Pictures so marked are from Ars Technica.
June 1, 2011
When a counselor came down and knocked to be allowed in the testing office, I knew what it meant. Others waiting to be tested were ushered into a different room. The tester emerged after the counselor went in and was silent for a while. I asked him, "Does it ever get easier?"
He stared at the wall and his eyes began to tear. He shook his head and gave me a weak smile. He's seen it all, and still it shakes him up.
Y'all be careful out there.
May 29, 2011
May 25, 2011
May 17, 2011
May 10, 2011
May 1, 2011
April 19, 2011
I just learned today that my proposal has been accepted. Woohoo! Here's the workshop blurb:
All God’s Children: Teaching Children About Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
The headlines of teen suicides reveal the devastating impact of teasing and bullying based on orientation and gender. The Christian community has a responsibility to model respect and offer grace to all people, regardless of their differences. When is the right time and what are the right words for teaching about gender diversity and sexual orientation? Open and caring conversation helps children develop a foundation of acceptance—of themselves and others.
I have many months to develop the content and will need it, since I have not taught this subject before. I'll be asking lots of organizations for help, but I feel really good about being able to do this. The timing is excellent, as our denomination is in the process of voting to approve the ordination of LGBT individuals as elders and pastors. This subject has been in the spotlight for the past sixteen years and voted on three previous times. It is very likely that it will pass this time: the vote currently sits at 80 presbyteries for, 51 against. A simple majority of 87 is needed to pass, and voting ends in September, I believe. With this so much in our national church's headlines, my workshop is needed.
Wow. My heartrate is up. I need to get to work on this.
April 8, 2011
March 31, 2011
March 22, 2011
Today I drove down to the Indiana Statehouse and spoke to my state senator about the bill coming up for vote tomorrow. It will attempt to embed marriage discrimination in the Indiana constitution. Stay tuned for the newbie report on Bilerico.
March 17, 2011
March 10, 2011
February 21, 2011
February 15, 2011
February 13, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 9, 2011
January 31, 2011
Since I had only 24 hours, the first thing on my list was to see Michael Adee, the executive director of More Light Presbyterians. He is a master teacher—one of the instructors at the Inclusive Church conference where we first met—and delightfully funny, intelligent and gracious. Michael treated me to lunch at a restaurant amid the rolling foothills of high desert New Mexico. The time slipped by far too fast, but Michael is leaving tomorrow for the Creating Change conference in Minneapolis.