Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sanctuary Collective 2010 Northeast Regional Conference

UPDATE: Due to various reasons, the Leadership Team of Sanctuary Collective has elected to postpone the 2010 Northeast Regional Conference. For more information please visit the conference page.

Last week I highlighted the Sanctuary Collective in a blog post, and mentioned that they would be hosting a regional conference this summer. The Sanctuary Collective will be hosting a Northeast regional conference in New York City on July 24, 2010.

The Northeast Regional Conference is a gathering of folks who are intrigued by queer organizing in Christian communities. And that means ALL people: LGBTQs and allies. To put it in the Collective's words:

"Whether you are doing organizing yourself, or just want to learn more, we'll have a day full of workshops tailored for you! Come participate in discussions about the ex-gay movement, justice and the Bible, finding YOUR place in this unique and growing movement, and much much more."

I will presenting one (or two) of the workshops at the conference, focusing on the ex-gay movement and race and religion. For more information about registration, workshops, etc., please visit the conference webpage.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Childhood Fairness and the Church

Remember as a child how we were usually fully aware of when something was completely unfair? Whether it be a sibling getting a toy and you didn't, or even a classmate being recognized for an outstanding achievement, but you weren't. In our heads we would tell ourselves, "That's not fair!" This concept childhood fairness is worth a closer examination.

I recently got around to watching the film The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008). This film is a Holocaust drama that explores the horror of a concentration (extermination) camp through the eyes of two eight year-old boys, one the son of the camp's Nazi commandant (Bruno), the other a Jewish inmate (Shmuel). Through Bruno's character, the concept of childhood fairness can be closely examined and understood. And by this reading of fairness, I believe we can apply the same reading to the Church.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Telling Our Stories Video

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post that highlighted the importance of storytelling as a form of social protest. The video that follows really demonstrates the point I was trying to make when I say that is important to use our personal experiences as a springboard for critical engagement and social protest.

I tend to enjoy Annual Conference season in the United Methodist Church. It gives us the opportunity to remind ourselves and others of God's never-ending, reconciling love in the Church. The following video was shown at the UMC 2010 California-Pacific Annual Conference this past weekend. The video highlights LGBT United Methodists sharing their stories of how churches have hurt them in the past and how they pray for a reconciled and all-inclusive United Methodist Church. (Video is after the jump.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Highlighting the Sanctuary Collective

There is an amazing group that has been doing some powerful work, that I am proud to be a part of, and want to share more about. It is rare to find a group of young adults that are so committed to working at the intersections of social justice and religion; yet nevertheless, it is also encouraging when we do find them.

I introduce, Sanctuary Collective, a group of young adults networked together that work to inspire, empower, and support young LGBTQs and allies as they work for justice in Christian communities.

Sanctuary Collective works to train and connect young people with a supportive collective of people that are there to encourage their work, provide them with resources, and so much more. This is truly some exciting work going on here. On their website there are connections to sermons, prayers, bible studies, scriptures, and so much more.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Storytelling as Social Protest

Over the weekend I spoke to graduating LGBTQ (and allies) high schoolers at a Rainbow Graduation Celebration in Riverside, CA. I spoke to the graduates about the importance of sharing their stories and experiences. I drew on my own experiences and how I've used my own story in the work that I do as an advocate for social justice.

I have been having a lot of discussion around this topic of 'storytelling' for quite some time now. I believe that stories are absolutely powerful tools and critically instructive because they challenge and expand our thinking about the world around us. Every individual has a story. Whether those stories be about traumatic experiences, triumphs, achievements, or whatnot, they're stories and they are valuable. Stories have the power to instigate change.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Details on Gay Exorcisms

DETAILS Magazine takes on a sensitive, yet hot topic in their June 2010 issue: gay exorcisms. Matt Mcallester examines the world of reparative therapy and exorcisms in his cultural eye piece titled, "Deliverance: The True Story of a Gay Exorcism". Mcallester focuses on the ritual of exorcism that is often performed as a means of spiritually 'repairing' a person's sexual orientation.

The article is extremely well-written and certainly highlights on the psychological, physical, and spiritual harm caused by exorcism that attempt to rid a person of their homosexuality. In this article I share my own experiences of being haunted by images and reminders of the exorcism I received during my time in reparative therapy.