Saturday, October 31, 2009

Out and About - October 2009


On Friday, October 2, I accompanied my friends Kathleen and Joey to Trempealeau, WI.

On the way we paused along the mist-enshrouded shoreline of Lake Pepin (above), and while at Trempealeau, we visited nearby Perrot State Park and hiked to the summit of Brady’s Bluff (left).







Above: The view of Trempealeau Mountain from Brady’s Bluff.

For more images of our time in Trempealeau, click here.



Above: With Ruth Kyle - October 3, 2009.

Ruth is the mother of the late Scott Kyle, whose memorial services were planned by CPCSM co-founder David McCaffrey.

Although I never knew Scott, who died unexpectedly in June, I was honored to help David prepare the two memorial services for him. The first of these services was held shortly after his death, in his hometown of Baldwin, WI. The second was held in Minneapolis on October 3 for his Twin Cities friends.

In the process of helping prepare these two services I got to know Scott’s family, including his wonderful mother Ruth. I also learned that for the last 25 years of his life Scott had played competitive softball in the Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League (TCGSL) and elsewhere in the U.S., in leagues and national tournaments sanctioned by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA). Among his greatest softball accomplishments, Scott was a key player on the A-level team that represented the Twin Cities in the 1987 and 1988 NAGAAA World Series and took 1st place both years. The same team, with Scott as a member, also took 2nd place at the 1992 World Series and 3rd place three other times. Scott’s impressive softball career was honored this past summer when he was inducted posthumously into the NAGAAA Hall of Fame at the World Series in Milwaukee.



Above: My friends Dan and Stephanie at the October 3 exhibit of Dan’s artwork.

For more images of this event, click here.



Above: On Sunday, October 4, I hosted a “dinner and movie night” for my friends (from left) John, Rick, Brian, and Bob. This month we watched the great gay film, The Boys in the Band (1970). Previously we’ve watched Valley of the Dolls and Advise and Consent.

Why do I refer to The Boys in the Band as “great”? Well, primarily because it provides such an illuminating look at a certain time in American gay history. And although most of characters are depicted as tortured souls and/or bitchy queens, the film nevertheless has some very funny moments (primarily provided by the character of Harold), and serves as a timely reminder of just how far we’ve progressed in a relatively short period of time. After all, society is now more accepting of the range of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Notes Wikipedia:

In a San Francisco Chronicle review of a 1999 revival of the film, Edward Guthmann recalled, “By the time Boys was released in 1970 ... it had already earned among gays the stain of Uncle Tomism.” He called it “a genuine period piece but one that still has the power to sting. In one sense it's aged surprisingly little — the language and physical gestures of camp are largely the same — but in the attitudes of its characters, and their self-lacerating vision of themselves, it belongs to another time. And that’s a good thing.”

My favorite character in the film? Well, I have to say I found Robert La Tourneaux’s portrayal of “Cowboy” quite irresistible! Here’s what Wikipedia says of La Tournaux and his character in The Boys in the Band.

Robert La Tourneaux (1945–1986) was an American actor best known for his role of Cowboy, the good-natured but dim hustler hired as a birthday present for a gay man, in the original Off-Broadway production and 1970 film version of “The Boys in the Band.”

. . . The openly gay La Tourneaux’s initially blamed being typecast as a gay hustler for his inability to receive worthwhile roles, stating in a 1973 interview, “Boys was the kiss of death for me.” In the 1978 anthology “Quentin Crisp’s Book of Quotations,” La Tourneaux compared his career to another gay actor by saying, “Charles Laughton played every kind of part, but never a homosexual. People knew he was gay, but his public image [which included a wife] never betrayed his public reality. So he was safe. I wasn’t safe.”

Sadly, La Tourneaux died of AIDS on June 3, 1986. Boys in the Band co-star Cliff Gorman and his wife cared for him during his illness up through to his death.



Above: The second joint meeting of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform’s Work/Study Groups - Minneapolis, October 7, 2009.

Left: With my friend Ronnie Angelus. I first met Ronnie when preparing for the CPCSM-sponsored Vigil of Solidarity with LGBT Catholics, December 2, 2007. Ronnie was one of a number of inspiring speakers at this event.

For more about the October 7 joint meeting of CCCR’s Work/Study groups, click here.

For the latest report on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Work/Study Group (the group that I’m facilitating), click
here.



Above: On October 8, 2009, I was honored to be part of a group of local religious leaders that gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol to speak out in support of marriage equality for same-gender couples.

At right, I’m pictured with Retired Bishop Lowell Erdahl of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and Pastor Doug Donley of University Baptist Church of Minneapolis.

For more images and commentary about this special event, click here.



Above: Snow in October!

For more images, click
here.



Above: My friends Jairo and Gloria - October 14, 2009.

I accompanied Jairo and Gloria to El Nuevo Rodeo Nightclub and Restaurant (reputedly the “hottest Latin venue in the Twin Cities”!) for an entertaining drag show (left) that served as a benefit for local efforts focusing on HIV prevention and safe-sex educational initiatives within the Latino community.



On October 23 I turned 44! I had two great gathering of friends to celebrate the occasion. In the photo above I’m pictured with my friends Daniel and Bob.

For more images, click here.

To read my October 23 birthday post, click here.



Above: With other members of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform’s Work/Study Group on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity - October 25, 2009. From left: Mary Beth, me, Joe, and Henry.

To learn about what we’re all about, click here and here.



Above: Autumn in Minnesota.

For more images, click here.



Above: Standing at left with my friends Randy, Terri, Bryon, Cathy, and Angie.

We’re pictured celebrating Halloween in Benson, MN. Stay tuned for more photos!

In the meantime, to read my “Halloween Thoughts,” click here.

Halloween Thoughts


In my last post I referred to Halloween as the “great gay holiday.” You may be wondering what I mean by that.

Well, on one level, I agree with William Stewart when he writes in Cassell’s Queer Companion that “Halloween has always been a time of year when the gay community experienced greater freedoms. Even in the 1940s and 1950s, when police harassment of gay bars was at its height, Halloween was the one fairy-tale evening when the drag queens could come out with impunity.”


Transformation

Today, many gay websites talk about Halloween as being a time when gay people can live out certain fantasies - not only perhaps by dressing in drag, but in the butch and sexy outfits of policemen, firemen, and sailors. It would be a mistake, however, to think of such fantasies as concerned solely with dressing-up and/or satisfying certain sexual fetishes. No, there’s something deeper at work, and we can begin to understand what it is when we take a look at some of the other popular Halloween costumes.

For there is, of course, the magical finery of faeries and daemons, and the more scary visage of other creatures that similarly straddle more than one world – ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc. Now the deeper meaning of Halloween is becoming clearer: It’s about transformation.

As you may know, Halloween developed from a pagan holy day, the ancient Celtic feast of
Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which was the eve of the new year. It was a time when the veil between this world and the next was at its thinnest, and people and spirits could “cross over,” could pass back and forth between the two worlds. Huge bonfires were lit on hilltops – some say to frighten away evil spirits; others, to warm the souls of the departed. Perhaps both.

(Incidentally, the word “Halloween” has its origins in the Catholic Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. November 1, “All Hollows Day” or “All Saints Day,” is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31 - a holiday that, as noted above, was called Samhain, which means “end of summer,” the Celtic New Year.)

I think gay people who are conscious of having undertaken the often difficult (even scary!) journey of coming out of the closet, are very much open to the idea of new beginnings, of “thin places” (i.e., fragile opportunities), of crossing thresholds and expanding boundaries, of walking in more than one world.


Witch-power

Gay people, like witches of old, are very adept at transformation. And as Michael Ventura points out: “Witch-power is transformative power [within an awareness of] humanity as not entirely of this world, the world of daily life . . . It is to imagine us, rather, as a living gate between this world and worlds beyond. As through humanity were the very membrane through which what we now call ‘information’ passes between the worlds – information, in this case, being force, energy, a kind of wind, through which come messages, healings, destructions, visions, transformations.”



Remember what Sherman Alexie said about the indigenous peoples of the Americas viewing gay people as “magical”? Yes, folks, we’re in the realm of the mystics, now; of witches, dervishes, bodhisattvas, shamans . . . all those people across time and cultures who, in Ventura’s words, can “consciously place themselves at the gateway or passageway [between the worlds]; take responsibility for being there; and . . . make transformation in this realm possible.”

And I don’t believe that we’re talking only about this reality and a world or worlds beyond it, but the different “worlds” within our reality - the secular world, the church world, the straight world, the gay world. I believe gay people have a special gift and role to play in transforming them all, in one way or another, for the better.

Anyway, following is more from Michael Ventura’s commentary “A Touch of the Witch,” originally published in the October 18, 1995, issue of City Pages (Minneapolis).


Many of the religious practices of indigenous peoples (including the indigenous peoples of Europe) were rituals by which this world passed sustenance to the next, and called for sustenance in return. They were and are religions of constant give-and-take between the worlds. With a few, such as the Aztecs, this was done violently, but that was rare, for the most part, this exchange of sustenance was attempted simply, peacefully, reverently, though always with awe and alertness, for it can be a trembling moment, standing at the gateway between worlds. The means to do this is the “craft” of “witchcraft” – a world given a bad spin by those gradually dominant religions concerned more with dominance than religion (which killed millions of indigenous witches in homage to their own rather selfish gods).

The witch’s bad image is not helped much by the old tales. As anyone who’s read the Grimm collection (the most popular of these tales) knows, both their strength and weakness are their stark metaphors. The dark side of motherhood becomes the evil stepmother. The blind spots of love become the irrational, dangerous demands that lovers make of each other. Inner growth becomes the journey through the dark forest. And, to set them apart from others, those with witch-power become hairy, troll-like, have teeth like tusks or nails like claws – metaphors, verbal special-effects, for humans in a state of profound transformation, of this world and not of this world both. (I suspect one reason for this is to avoid making witch-power seductive; to let folks know that transformation is serious business.)

The witch, as Robert Bly has pointed out, is crucial to the tale: The journey must go to the witch, the transformer, for instruction on transformation. He or she will then be given a task that seems crazy or impossible, and through that task will break through to another state of being. Again, the witch is portrayed as dangerous because transformation from one level of consciousness to another is not to be taken lightly, and can call for what seems crazy or even impossible. The weakness of the tales is that the starkness of their metaphors may be taken literally. As with the metaphors of the Bible, this leaves them open to misreading and attacks. (For this reason, Buddha and the Taoists kept metaphors to a minimum.)

Above: The Little Mermaid confers with the Sea Witch
before her transformation into human form.


To conclude this Halloween post, I share Susan Lane’s comment in response to my recent Solidarity Sunday homily, “Liberated to Be Together.”

[It’s] interesting to [hear in your homily of] the connection in time between the persecution of gay men and the burning of witches. The witches were for the most part midwives and traditional healers.

As the “men” of science, who spent long hours dissecting bodies in the early renaissance schools of science and medicine, became interested in reproduction, they became “male midwives” and increasingly, especially after a male attended birth in the French court in the 17th century, men took over birth in urban areas and among the rich. Of course, they didn’t know what they were doing and the maternal death rate skyrocketed. They secretly studied with the rural midwives, [with one man] even going so far in one case as to disguise himself as a woman, and then would bring the witchcraft charge against their teacher to eliminate the competition.

It’s true that the best midwives, the ones sought out by most women of the time, were old – probably because they were healthy – but not likely very attractive. The long finger nails on the Halloween witches has a basis in fact: early midwives grew one pinky nail very long and at a birth it was sharpened to a point – in order to break the amniotic sac if necessary.

The history of childbirth gets worse from [the time that men took over], by the way, in terms of mortality. To this day, in the country with the highest number of practicing obstetricians and highest percentage of births being attended by men in hosptials (the US) we have the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized country – 42nd in the world.

Meanwhile, in Europe, research is confirming that for better outcomes and lower cost, home births and birth centers attended by midwives should increase. In the US, ACOG is trying to defund birth centers.

I write all this because I believe that women’s fear of birth and birth pain (fear which produces adrenaline and actually increases birth pain and slows the labor) and the abuse of GLBT persons is more damaging to our culture than the individual injustices reveal. These biased views and practices weaken the partnerships of men and women in families and affect connections in every segment of society, damage that is passed on through the generations.
Midwives and gay men are still the biggest threat to values of aggressive patriarchy, dominance, and control (the root of greed).

In the birth community we have a saying: Peaceful birth for peaceful earth. If you had ever seen a child born without crying (a fallacy that they need to cry to breathe) and placed on it’s mothers breast, allowed to crawl ON ITS OWN to breast and latch and suckle with no help at all, and if you knew what had been accomplished in the previous nine months to allow that to happen, you would understand that phrase relating peaceful birth to peaceful earth.

If you knew that 50% of operative births, believed by mothers to save the lives or health of their babies or themselves, are entirely unnecessary, then you would also know the deep pain felt by some of us “witches” who see that the power to birth is denied to US women – a power that belongs to all women regardless of whether or how they give birth.

In both these communities – those of birthing women and those of GLBT persons, the power and beauty of their sexuality is denied in our culture. For me, these denials are of a piece and are at the core of violence and abuse.

So blessings to midwives and mothers, and to the GLBT community. I do believe that they hold a key to our cultural salvation. Lofty, I know, but loving God’s creation is so deep in the faith of these communities, so basic to their survival. It’s our pleasure to serve them.


Opening image: The Shrine to the Thin Places at Doonamoe in County Mayo, Ireland. This shrine was designed and built by Travis Price, AIA, with his students at Catholic University.
Image 2: Photographer unknown.
Image 3: Artist unknown.
Image 4:
“Spirit Rising Samhain” by Crystal Wolfe.
Image 5: Artist unknown.
Image 6: Artist unknown.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In the Garden of Spirituality: Toby Johnson
The Gifts of Homosexuality
Gay People and the Spiritual Life
Boorganna (Part II)
In the Garden of Spirituality: Rod Cameron
In the Garden of Spirituality: Paul Collins
In the Footsteps of Spring – Part 4: Coming Out
The Challenge to Be Ourselves
Keeping the Spark Alive: A Conversation with Chuck Lofy
Toby Johnson on the Mysticism of Andrew Harvey
A Blood-Soaked Thread

Recommended Off-site Links:
Halloween Greetings from the Vatican - Colleen Kochivar-Baker (Enlightened Catholicism, October 30, 2009).
Christianist Loons and Halloween
- Michael B. Hamer (Michael-in-Norfolk, October 30, 2009)
Animal Energies
- The Leveret (December 23, 2007).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Keeping All the Queens Under One Roof


Thanks to Colleen over at Enlightened Catholicism, I’ve become aware of a commentary by Andrew Sullivan that is definitely onto something important yet rarely discussed. It also seems an appropriate post to share on the eve of that great gay holiday, Halloween!

_______________________________


Chris Dierkes, who has both Catholic and Anglican roots, notes an irony in the Pope’s recent actions:

If personal experience and lifelong immersion in a sub-culture is any form of persuasive evidence, I can tell you that conservative Anglo-Catholicism — at the clerical level — is totally dominated by gay men. Mostly repressed. What used to be called when I was in seminary, the pink mafia. And the thing that is the initial trigger for this decision is the upcoming very likely to happen decision to ordain women as bishops in the Church of England (there have already been women priests there for about 15 years or so). Which has a certain irony in this case. If these Anglo-Catholics join the Roman Communion they can join up with very conservative Roman Catholic groups like Regnum Christi and The Legionaries of Christ, also totally dominated by closeted gay fellows. You don’t need to be Sigmund Freud to see the awesome tragic humor in a bunch of non-wife-having grown men wearing pink dresses (and in the Pope’s case super expensive fabulous Prada shoes!!!) telling everybody else they shouldn’t be gay.

We’re not supposed to talk about this aspect of the drama in the Vatican. But there is as much an overlap of closeted gay priests and bishops with liturgical and theological orthodoxy as there is of closeted gay politicians finding ways to oppress other gays who are out and open.

Part of this is a function of generations.

If you had based your life - and sacrificed much of your emotional health – on the “intrinsic disorder” theory, you aren’t exactly happy to reverse yourself in your old age. It suggests you gave up your life for an intrinsic illogic. Part is also just mysterious. But the fact that gay men have a disproportionate talent for order and theater and detail seems pretty obvious to me. No surprise then that among the best liturgical organizers are gay men – from choirmasters to priests to altar assistants. There is something very gay about a High Mass – it’s almost the religious equivalent of a Broadway musical. So Benedict’s sisterly outreach to the closet case smells-and-bells brigade among the Anglicans makes total sense. It’s partly about keeping all the queens under one roof - and surrounded by incense and lace.

Weird, I know. But true. And I might as well admit it: I too love the old liturgies and ceremonies and drama of Catholicism. But for me, it’s not sublimation but celebration of gay men’s contribution to our churches. [Well, a certain type of gay man] One day, we’ll be able to offer our talents without having to sacrifice our integrity as human beings. One day, when all this fearful nonsense is blown away and the church can return to the Gospels and the sacraments, and gay people can be treated as, you know, the sinners that everyone else is as well.

- Andrew Sullivan



See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Officially Homophobic, Intensely Homoerotic
Gay People and the Spiritual Life
Bless Me, Father
Homosexuality and the Priesthood
The Inherent Sensuality of Roman Catholicism
The Archangel Michael as Gay Icon
The Allure of St. Sebastian
Sergius and Bacchus: Martyrs, Saints, Lovers
The Gifts of Homosexuality
What Is It That Ails You?
A Humorous Look at Internalized Homophobia

Recommended Off-site Links:
Are American Bishops Gay? - Richard Sipe (RichardSipe.com, 2009).
It’s Time for Some Honesty, Not Blind Innocence - Colleen Kochivar-Baker (Enlightened Catholicism, October 30, 2009).


Like Swiss Army Knives!

Here’s a great little excerpt from Sherman Alexie’s 2007 book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. (With thanks to my friend Eileen for bringing it to my attention.)

__________________________


[My grandmother] was amazing.

She was the most amazing person in the world.

Do you know the very best thing about my grandmother?

She was tolerant.

And I know that’s a hilarious thing to say about your grandmother.

I mean, when people compliment their grandmothers, especially their Indian grandmothers, they usually say things like, “My grandmother is so wise” and “My grandmother is so kind” and “My grandmother has seen everything.”

And, yeah, my grandmother was smart and kind and had traveled to about 100 different Indian reservations, but that had nothing to do with her greatness.

My grandmother’s greatest gift was tolerance.

Now in the old days, Indians used to be forgiving of any kind of eccentricity. In fact, weird people were often celebrated.

Epileptics were often shamans because people just assumed that God gave seizure–visions to the lucky ones.

Gay people were seen as magical, too.

I mean, like in many cultures, men were viewed as warriors and women were viewed as caregivers. But gay people, being both male and female, were seen as both warriors and caregivers.

Gay people could do anything. They were like Swiss Army Knives!

My grandmother had no use for all the gay bashing and homophobia in the world, especially among other Indians.

“Jeez,” she said. “Who cares if a man wants to marry another man? All I want to know is who’s going to pick up all the dirty socks?”

Of course, ever since white people showed up and brought along their Christianity and their fears of eccentricity, Indians have gradually lost all of their tolerance.

Indians can be just as judgmental and hateful as any white person.

But not my grandmother.


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Grandma Knows Best
In the Garden of Spirituality: Paulo Coelho
Something Special for Indigenous Peoples Day

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Matthew Shepard Act: "The Beginning of a Process That's Ongoing"

A historic day today as President Barack Obama signed the first major federal gay-rights law - the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

This bill makes it a federal hate crime to assault people based on sexual orientation, gender and gender identity. William D. Lindsey also notes that this bill “caps more than a decade of debate about whether sexual orientation ought to be added to already existing categories in laws criminalizing violence towards targeted minorities. It comes 11 years after the murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming.”

Following are excerpts from a McClatchy Newspaper article about this historic event.

___________________________


Obama Signs First Major Federal Gay-Rights Law

By Margaret Talev

McClatchy Newspapers
October 28, 2009


President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, a milestone that activists compared to the passage of 1960s civil-rights legislation empowering blacks.

The new law adds acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the list of federal hate crimes. Gay-rights activists voiced hope that the Obama administration would advance more issues, including legislation to bar workplace discrimination, allow military service and recognize same-sex marriages.

Congress passed the hate crimes protections as an unlikely amendment to this year’s Defense Authorization Act. Obama, speaking at an emotional evening reception with supporters of the legislation, said that more than 12,000 hate crimes had been reported the past decade based on sexual orientation.

He spoke of President Lyndon Johnson signing protections for blacks in the 1960s and said this was an extension of that work. “We must stand against crimes that are meant not only to break bones but to break spirits,” Obama said. “No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love.”

. . . The amendment signed into law Wednesday was named partly for Matthew Shepard [pictured at right], a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who died after a 1998 beating targeting him because he was gay, and whose parents were instrumental in leading the fight for such legislation.

The law also was named for James Byrd Jr. [pictured at left], a black Texas man dragged to his death in a racially motivated killing the same year.

The measure also extends protections to those attacked because of their gender or disability.

Federal hate crimes law already covers race, religion and national origin. The new law strengthened it substantially however, by removing a requirement that a victim must have been participating at the time of the assault in some federally protected activity, such as voting, for it to apply.

Matthew Shepard’s parents joined Obama for the bill signing, as did the family of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts , who until his death in August was deeply involved in pushing the legislation.

The Shepards’ fight took a decade. With recent elections adding more lawmakers who are supportive of gay rights, by 2007 the Congress had sufficient votes to pass the legislation, but then-President Bush indicated that he’d veto it.

Obama, campaigning last year, promised to sign it.

Judy Shepard issued a statement saying that she and her husband, Dennis, “are incredibly grateful to Congress and the president for taking this step forward on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, especially given the continuing attacks on people simply for living their lives openly and honestly.”

She also called on Americans to look beyond legislation and work in their own lives to advance acceptance of gays.


Above: President Barack Obama, greets the parents of Matthew Shepard,
Dennis Shepard (left) and Judy Shepard (second left), as James Byrd Jr.'s
sisters, Louvon Harris (second right) and Betty Byrd Boatner (right)
watch during a White House reception commemorating the enactment of
the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)



Critics of the legislation, including several Republican congressional leaders, argued that an attack against another person is an attack, regardless of motivation and that no special categories are appropriate.

Many also voiced concerns about “thought police” and fears that the new legal protections could curb free speech if those who oppose gay rights fear they could somehow be prosecuted for publicly voicing their thoughts. The law punishes acts, however, not thoughts.

Gay-rights advocates said that the legislation will enable the Justice Department to step in when states can't or won’t, and will make extra federal money and resources available to local law enforcement officials who need help preventing or prosecuting such attacks.

They also predicted that it would affect American society in a meaningful way.

“It sends a number of messages across America: that hate will not be tolerated, that this Congress and administration value all Americans,” said Joe Solmonese , the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay-rights advocacy group.

Malcolm Lazin , the founder of another advocacy group, Equality Forum , said the legislative progress comes at a time when reported violence against gays is on the rise. Last year, he said, 29 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Americans were killed because of their sexual orientation.

“This is really the first federal gay rights bill,” Lazin said. “So it is a literally historic moment. This is America acknowledging homophobia as a social problem.”

Lazin, who helped organize a demonstration outside the White House on Wednesday calling for more protections, said the legislation “really is the beginning of a process of addressing homophobia in our schools, our communities, our culture. We learned from the black civil rights movement: In 1964, there was the Civil Rights Act, but that didn’t mean it ended violence or created equality. It was the beginning of a process that’s ongoing. That’s how we view the Matthew Shepard Act.”





See also the previous Wild Reed post:
Rebuking a Common Lie


Recommended Off-site Links:
A Decade Later, Matthew Shepard Act Still Needed - Deb Price (
The Capital Times, October 6, 2009).
When Obama Signs the Matthew Shepard Act, Here’s What Won’t Change -
Queerty (October 28, 2009).
The Matthew Shepard Act - Unfinished Lives: Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims (October 25, 2009).
Remarks by the President at Today’s Celebration of Hate Crimes Law Enactment - Pam Spaulding (Pam’s House Blend, October 28, 2009).

Birthday Celebration

Actually, I had two birthday celebrations this past weekend. How lucky was I?

Of course, I would have been more than happy to have had one big celebration for my 44th birthday but my house just isn’t big enough. So on one evening I hosted a party for friends with whom I socialize, while on another evening I hosted a gathering for folks with whom I both socialize and work. Both nights were a lot of fun.




Above: With my friends Daniel and Bob: a rose between two thorns?

I’ve shared in a number of previous posts about Bob Caruso’s vocation as a priest in the Old Catholic Church. For my 2007 interview with him, click here. For a review of his book on the origin, theology, and essence of Old Catholicism, click here. For a series of excerpts from Bob’s book, click here.



Above: Noelle, Eileen, Bernie, and Phil.

Bernie Rodel and I, along with our friend Paula Ruddy, serve as co-chairs of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. Bernie’s wife Eileen is also on the board of CCCR.

You may recall how in September I accompanied my friend Phil, his mum Noelle, and other members of his family to Northfield for the town’s annual “Defeat of Jesse James Days” celebration.

Right: With my friend Jairo. Those are quail eggs on the table in front of us which Jairo prepared, along with a very delicious dip. He also prepared a wonderful dish of farro, which is one of the most ancient foods on earth.






Below: My friends Patty, SueAnn, and Brigid.




Above: Daniel, Tony, and Michael.

October 23 is not only my birthday but the Michael pictured above’s and Jane’s, pictured with me
below at left.



Above: With Jane and Mary Jo. All three of us serve on the board of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. I’m a general co-chair, Jane’s our Information Systems specialist, and Mary Jo is chair of our 2010 Synod Local Arrangements Committee.

Mary Jo and I also each facilitate a 2010 Synod Work/Study Group. For the latest update of my group, click here.

Left: Rita, John, and David.

David McCaffrey is co-founder of the organization I work for as executive coordinator - the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM).





Above: Mike, Amy, and Dan.

I recently attended a wonderful exhibit of my friend Dan’s artwork.



Above: Kate and Phil.

Right: Mary Jo, Kathleen, and Bernie.

Recently, I accompanied my friend Kathleen and her son Joey to Trempealeau, WI. And last year the three of us took a road trip to St, Louis. Both Kathleen and I are consociates of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet - St. Paul Province.



Above: Mary Beth, Joe, Molly, Mary Lynn, Mike, and Paula.



Above: Jairo, Greg, Michael, and Brian.

Left: Standing second from right with (from left) Jim, James, Jairo, and Mike.

My friend James Pennington serves as pastor at Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ, which is where CPCSM has its office.



Above: What a spread!



Above: Phil and Joe.

Right: Mary, Mary Lynn, and Paula.









Above: Rick, Brian, Paul, and Tony.



Above: Bob, John, Jairo, and Brian.


Thanks to everyone who made my
44th birthday celebration/s so wonderful!



To read my October 23 birthday post, click here.