Saturday, July 31, 2010

Out and About - July 2010

Above and right: On July 6, 2010, approximately 300 people gathered to hear theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether speak at a special "evening in the park" fundraiser for the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) at Lake Elmo Park Reserve, MN.

Rosemary, whose latest book is entitled Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican: A Vision for Progressive Catholicism, shared her thoughts and strategies for why and how we can create a "liberating church."

To read the transcript of her talk, visit The Progressive Catholic Voice, here.

Above: Some of the merchandise we had for sale at CCCR's July 6 fundraiser. Those buttons went like hot cakes!

Left: Wearing a t-shirt and standing next to a banner highlighting CCCR's upcoming Synod of the Baptized: "Claiming Our Place at the Table." For more information about this exciting event in the local church of St. Paul-Minneapolis, see this previous Wild Reed post and this page on the CCCR website.

Above: CCCR's Synod billboard on the corner of St. Clair and Snelling in St. Paul. Doesn't it look great?! Best of all, ClearChannel Communications installed it two week early with no additional charge. It will be up for a total of six weeks - almost to the day of the Synod which is Saturday, September 18.

For more images of CCCR's billboard, see the previous Wild Reed post, Taking It to the Streets.

I'm a big fan of the HBO series True Blood (see, for instance, here, here, and here). Every second Thursday evening a group of friends and I gather at my home to watch the two most recent episodes of the show - episodes that my friend David kindly records and puts on DVD for me.

Pictured above from left: Rick, Bob, Brian, and John.

On the evening of Saturday, July 10, I attended the biennial show “Solo” at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, an event that showcases the six most recent recipients of McKnight Foundation dance fellowships, each performing a new solo work. It was a great night of dance, and part of a renewed commitment on my part to see more dance performances here in the Twin Cities and to regularly write about this art form on The Wild Reed (see, for instance, the previous post, The Dancer and the Dance).

In the picture above, a member of the Southern Theater staff (left) moderates an after show discussion between audience members and dancers (from left) Karen Sherman, Justin Leaf, Mary Ann Bradley, Roxanne Wallace-Patterson, Sam Feipel, and Kats D. Fukasawa.

I found all the performances to be excellent but was most taken by Justin Leaf's piece, "Cohesion" which addresses the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy by having Leaf depict a gay soldier who has just received his discharge letter. Leaf chose to work with New York-based choreographer John Kelly to develop the piece as, according to the evening's program booklet, "both share an interest in playing with gender roles in their work, and with embodying characters." Says Leaf: "Working with John, I've experienced Apollo and Dionysus coming together - I am learning how to be spontaneous and at the same time thoughtful and intentional. That's what I want to be as an artist."

Interesting, Leaf and Kelly rehearsed in the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, which still houses a functioning regiment just back from a tour of Iraq. It was inevitable, says Leaf, that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy should emerge in the dance they were creating. "We are working with the idea that to deny the truth of who you are has profound implications," says Leaf. How true!

Above: One of a number of creative and colorful pictures that are part of a mural in South Minneapolis. This particular mural is on the side of an industrial building next to the Midtown Greenway. It's a site that has long been a popular one for graffiti artists. I pass this mural every Thursday morning when I ride my bike from St. Paul to my friends' Ken and Carol's place in the Seward neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Ken and I deliver Meals-on-Wheels together every Thursday.

This particular mural was recently featured in an article in the Highland Villager community newspaper. In this article the building's owner, Darrell Hutson, notes: "There's no end to the constant battle of keeping the kids away from the wall. So this seems to be the best solution: Get a serious piece of work up there by artists the kids recognize and hopefully they will respect the art."

Notes the Villager, "the city of Minneapolis seems to respect [this solution]. As long as Hutson maintains the integrity of the mural, he won't be cited for graffiti on the wall, according to Angie Brenny, coordinator of Minneapolis' Clean City program." Mmm, seems like a win-win situation to me!

Above and right: On the evening of July 13, the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (the group I serve as executive coordinator) hosted its 30th Annual Community Meeting at St. Martin's Table Restaurant and Bookstore in Minneapolis. Our special guest speaker was Janet Bystrom, director of RECLAIM, which "works to increase access to mental health support for LGBT youth so they may reclaim their lives from the impact of oppression in all its forms."

What a pity such a liberating service isn't offered - at least officially - by the Roman Catholic Church. All it offers is the shame-based apostolate known as Courage. Oh, and speaking of Courage, in June the Twin Cities-based Lavender magazine published an exposé of the group that caused quite a stir! I took the liberty of reprinting it at The Wild Reed - along with, a few weeks later, its author's rebuttal to those who criticized him for infiltrating the local Courage chapter and outing one of its members - a highly vocal anti-gay Lutheran pastor.

Above: Janet Bystrom with some of the young people who have benefited from the services provided by RECLAIM.

Left: The recipient of this year's annual Father Henry F. LeMay Pastoral Ministry Award is pictured with members of her family. Because of the type of support she offers to parents of LGBT persons it would not be wise to publicly name her on this blog - especially given the climate of fear and intimidation that many who offer anything other than unquestioning obedience to the church's official teaching on homosexuality experience at this time. It's sad but true.

Right: My dear friend Kathleen Olsen was awarded CPCSM's annual Bishop Thomas Gumbleton Peace and Justice Award for her tireless work and support of numerous justice and peace issues and organizations - including CPCSM.

Kathleen's dad is currently exhibiting a collection of his photography at St. Martin's Table. That's Kathleen as a child in the photograph on the wall behind the Kathleen of today!

Above: With Kathleen and her son Joey. We're about to start a 30 mile bike ride on the Elroy-Sparta Trail in Wisconsin.

We visited a number of interesting and beautiful places in Wisconsin as part of a 5-day road trip. These included Black River Falls, Castle Mound (left), Neillsville, Norwalk, and Potosi (below).

For commentary and additional photos of our "Wisconsin Adventure," see
here and here.

Above: Sending a message to the anti-gay and anti-marriage equality National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which held a rally on the steps of the St. Paul Capitol on Wednesday, July 28.

For more images and commentary, click here.

Above and left: Monarch butterflies in the garden of my St. Paul home.

1 comment:

Mareczku said...

Excellent, as always. I enjoy the monthly recaps. How is the Rev. Tom Brock story going? From what little I read, it seems that maybe he is easing up on gay people. If this happened maybe what was done was for the good. The guy needs to get a clue. What is the story with Faith in Action there? Did this clip their wings somewhat? What is Archbishop Neinstedt's take on all this?