Thursday, July 15, 2010

Becoming Social Parents

I just returned from visiting my parents and family one last time before I move to Boston at the end of the month. It was an enjoyable visit and we were intentional at making every moment we had together count for something since I'll be moving clear across the United States from them.

Prior to my arrival in Merced, my mother adamantly insisted that we watch the film La Mission during my visit. The film is a drama starring Benjamin Bratt that sheds light on issues of homophobia and sexuality within Chicano families.

As I sat there watching Bratt's character blatantly disown and condemn his son for being gay, I was drawn to my own father's face as he was watching the movie with me. The look of shock, anger, and disappointment covered his face. My partner sat in tears throughout the movie then looked up to my parents and simply said, "Thank you." My coming out experience with my family didn't involve much heartbreak or disowning. My parents were quick to accept me and remind me that they would love me whether I be straight, gay, bi, etc. I am reminded though that not every LGBTQ individual shares the same experience. Films like La Mission become a powerful tool for the LGBTQ community.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why is religion important?

My friend Brian Gerald wrote a blog post that responded to the ever popular question, "What do you do?," in which he responds with a better question: "What are you doing with your life?" These questions got me to thinking about how often I am asked these very questions when I meet new people, or even when I'm catching up with old friends. When I respond that I work with religious communities and that my research in school is focused on religion, I'm often met with puzzling looks. I am then asked another question: "Why religion?"

Through different cases I end up encountering this question a lot in many different variations such as, Why do people care so much about religion?, Why are people religious?, Why do you talk about religion?, and so on. I am determined then to answer the pressing question, Why is religion important?