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Archive for June, 2009

Deb’s House Concerts

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Peterson Toscano

Peterson Toscano is a good guy. He went through a lot of bad things, and he’s come back out on the other side with good humor and information for all of us.

Traveling Around the World

Peterson travels around the world. He’s a performer and an educator. He tells people about his experiences in the ‘ex-gay’ world.

Advocating for Gay Christians

Peterson Toscano is an advocate for lgbt Christians. Look at this exchange:

ME: Cool stuff you offer here. I know of some young people who would be interested in your ministry. They are sincere Christians, who would both give a lot to and receive a lot from the programming that you offer. They happen to be transgender, bisexual, lesbian or gay. How well would they fare in your organization?

RESOURCE: We welcome all people.

ME: Yes, I understand that, but if they came to you with say questions about their faith or maybe an eating disorder or simply becuase they want to be stronger believers, would they get the help they need without their sexuality becoming THE issue that you insist needs to be addressed.

RESOURCE: We don’t really deal with sexuality. It doesn’t come up.

ME: Wait, you run an organization for youth and you don’t ever talk about sex?!? Seems like a pretty important issue. Okay, so they will not be told they have to change their sexuality in order to be part of the group?

RESOURCE: Well, we do believe in the Bible…

ME: Yeah, so do I and so do these young people. The Bible doesn’t condemn a loving relationship between two men or two women. The Bible doesn’t condemn a gay, lesbian or bisexual orientation. The Bible actually affirms the lives and contributions of gender-variant people.

RESOURCE: We don’t see it that way, but they would still be welcome.

ME: Welcome to recive your services, to give contributions, to fill the seats?

RESOURCE: Yeah, they will be very welcome.

ME: Okay, I want to make sure we are clear here. A young person comes to your ministry. They have peace and clarity about their sexuality. They attend your training courses, meet many new friends, grow in their faith, contribute more and more time and resources to the work you do. After they devote two years of their lives to your ministry, they decide they want to give even more, to take on a leadership role, to lead a course. As an openly transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer person, you are telling me that they will be able to serve in a leadership position in your ministry?

RESOURCE: Well, no, but then an adulterer or rapist wouldn’t be able to either.

ME: I find it offensive that you equate the lives of these transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer people to adultery and rape. These are young people committed to God, living thoughtful responsible lives with peace in their hearts. They are not cheating on their partners and they are not rapists. Some are single and waiting for a partner. They choose to be honest with themselves and others about their sexuality. Would they be able to serve in your ministry?

RESOURCE: Um, no.

ME: So I should tell them that yours is not a safe place for them.
Perhaps you should let people know up front that you accept them under certain often unspoken conditions and that the same conditions do not apply to transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay and queer folks as to straight, gender-normative fellow believers.

Spend An Hour With Peterson Toscano

Read his posts. Watch his videos. Click links on the sidebar and find more good reading.

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Deb’s House Concerts

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[UPDATE: Visit Carol’s blog My heart goes out…]

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I Wrote About Carol Boltz

On June 17, 2009, I put up a post about Carol Boltz and her interview on the online radio show on the Gay Christian Network. In that interview, Carol talked about her life before, during and after the time when her (ex-) husband, Christian singer Ray Boltz, came out as gay.

A Woman Anyone Would Want to Call a Friend

I think of Carol Boltz as a friend. I believe good, good things about her. So, I was disappointed, but not surprised, to find that a message board run by students from a fundamentalist Christian college had a post that quoted my entire post with the partial transcript of Carol’s interview.

No Quotation Marks to Identify Her Words

The person who copied my entire post failed to use quotations to attribute Carol’s words to her. That led some readers to believe the transcript of parts of her radio interview was actually something she had written. That was misleading. But, at least they included a link to my post. So, at least readers could come here and see what she said, and know they were reading a partial transcript of a radio interview, and then visit Carol’s blog to see what she had to say about her experience of being on the radio show.

Negative Comments About Carol and Ray

After the post, there were comments about Carol and Ray. They were mostly along the line that says, “She just talked about what she thinks and how she feels, but it’s really about what God’s Word says.”

Who Were These Commenters? I Wondered

I wondered who these people were, writing comments on a password-protected bulletin board, saying disparaging things about someone I think of as a friend. So, I did what you’d probably do. I googled them. And, I learned that they call themselves, “an online community for gen-x Christians with connections to …”. Then, I googled the core part of their name, and learned that they are from a “fundamental college.”

That Answered My Questions. Fundamentalism.

There are many people who have grown up in fundamentalist Christian churches. Their teachings about Christianity do not include homosexuality. The people who are posting on the message board seem to be of that belief. They believe that homosexuality is not a sexual orientation, part of who a person is, rather that it is an action or a behavior, a choice and a sin. (I first learned about that bit of fundamentalist theology from Marc Adams when he explained to me the fundamentalist view of homosexuality.)

I Read the Rules for the Bulletin Board

The rules for posting include this:

Discussion of certain topics which destroy that environment are forbidden. The following topics are strictly off-limits:

ADVOCACY OR DEFENSE OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Other bulletin boards concerning PCC have in the past been invaded by persons with an agenda of pushing for the acceptance of homosexuality. Those discussions drove away the existing majority of Christians on those boards, and therefore will NOT be tolerated here. PERIOD. You are free to disagree, but not on this board.

Clearly, it is acceptable to speak badly, on that bulletin board, of people who are open and honest about their sexuality. But, it is forbidden to say anything positive or supportive of people who are open and honest about their sexuality if it happens not to be heterosexuality.

Recognition, Realization, Acceptance, Openness

Those who hold to the fundamentalist theology believe that Carol and Ray Boltz are way off the path. I believe differently. The fundamentalist view is that there is no such thing as homosexuality, there is only “the sin of homosexuality.” (Adams) They refer to ex-gay groups as a way to ‘escape’ homosexuality. But, there is no escaping who you are by denying it. There is life beyond ex-gay, rising up whole (Bakke) and living an honest, creative life as the person God created (Toscano).

(I read more of the rules and discovered that the board is not from a fundamentalist school, but from an evangelical school. “Since we are evangelical Christians, our community standards are pretty strict, so if you’re in doubt, either ask or just don’t post it.” Apparently that school believes the same as the fundamentalists about homosexuality.)

Carol and Ray Boltz Still Walk With God

From what I have seen, Carol and Ray Boltz are on the path and walking with God. What they are not doing is picking up stones from that path to hurl at others. They are walking honestly and openly. Regardless of what others say about their faith and their lives, they are still on the path. They are still walking with God.

My Comment After I Read Those Comments

I wrote a comment to Carol after I read those words by people who believe Ray and Carol cannot possibly be Christians and gay/gay-supporting. Here’s what I said:

Thank you for your openness about your life.

I know there are many who are taking your honesty, and Ray’s, as an opportunity to attack you and Ray (in the name of God, of course). There are people who have chosen to reject you and Ray, because of his coming out, and because of your support for him and all lgbt persons. They are misinformed.

I know you to be an open, honest, loving, giving, devoted Christian woman. If those who speak badly of you and Ray were to look at your history, they would see that your history and your present life give you credibility.

The one good thing I see about people criticizing you and Ray, by name, is that those who need the truth that is in your personal story will be able to find you because of those who have named you and criticized you.

For anyone who has heard of Ray Boltz or Carol Boltz, and anyone who is married and gay or married to a spouse who is gay, you are not alone. Carol has opened her heart to the world, and you can find support, encouragement, comfort and hope in the pages of her personal web page My Heart Goes Out.

Thank you, Carol, for the light you shine in this world.

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Deb’s House Concerts

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I See You Reading In The Night

Not really! But, I know you’re there.

Thanks For Reading

I’d love to hear from you. Leave comments! 🙂

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Deb’s House Concerts

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NSFW

Seriously. But, you already knew that Wanda Sykes’ humor is not something you can play aloud at work. Right?

Now That We’ve Got That Out Of The Way

You can see her in concert, about four minutes anyway, here.

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Deb’s House Concerts
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Happy Father’s Day

fathersday2009 - google image

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Deb’s House Concerts

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That’s What I Heard

“Lesbian couples’ children have lower rates of mental illness”
Many arguments against civil unions and same-sex marriage focus on the supposed debilitating effects on children with parents of the same gender. However, these arguments are supported by little credible research.

Check it out

Lesbian couples’ children have lower rates of mental illness

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Deb’s House Concerts

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That’s So Gay!

Do you say that? Why? It’s not very nice.

Wanda Sykes Has Something To Say

Think Before You Speak – Pizza Shop

Think Before You Speak

Think Before You Speak – Cashier
That’s So Gay PSA
Hilary Duff – Think Before You Speak (“That’s So Gay”) Official (HQ)
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

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