Saturday, December 20, 2014

Out and About – Autumn 2014

With the winter solstice just days away, it seems appropriate to pause and look back on some of the events of my life this autumn. I periodically do this type of looking back in The Wild Reed's "Out and About" series. I began this series in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay Catholic man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the Church and the world. I've continued the series in one form or another every year since – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. So let's get started with the latest installment . . .

Above: On Sunday, October 12, 2014 I attended Dignity Twin Cities' 40th anniversary celebration. Standing with me (from right) are friends Jim Smith, who serves as DignityUSA's associate director, Tim, and Greg.

Above: On October 9, 2014 a vigil took place across from the Cathedral of St. Paul. Organized by the Human Rights Campaign and Dignity Twin Cities the event was part of a series of vigils called "Pray, Listen, Discern — Raising the Voices of LGBT Catholics."

Prior to the October 9 event in St. Paul, local journalist Andy Birkey wrote the following about HRC's series of vigils:

The vigils come as Extraordinary General Assembly Synod of Bishops is underway in Rome. The assembly is only the third of its kind in history and “will thoroughly examine and analyze the information, testimonies and recommendations received from the particular Churches in order to respond to the new challenges of the family.” Many commentators believe issues like the ordination of women and LGBT inclusion in the church will be discussed.

The assembly began meeting on Sunday, October 5 and runs through October 19. During that time, HRC has organized vigils in seven cities whose dioceses are led by anti-LGBT bishops.

“On behalf of all of those who have been excluded from the church — from the LGBT faithful and divorced families, to those who have been fired for simply being who they are — we offer them Holy Mary’s wisdom and God’s clarity,” Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, director of HRC’s Latino/a and Catholic Initiatives, said in a statement. “The church laity is not misguided; it is not unknowing of the word and mandate of God. On the contrary, we continue to listen to God and, just like his son, we also aim to create an inclusive church that can serve us all. We urge the bishops to climb down from their towers and hear our voices raised in prayer.”

For more about the Vatican's Synod on the Family, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
On the Feast of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, Thoughts on Marriage Equality in the U.S. and the Vatican's Synod on the Family
LGBT Catholics Respond to Synod 2014's Final Report
Quote of the Day – October 20, 2014

Above: With friends Darlene White (left) and Dorothy Olinger, SSND. We're pictured at Call to Action MN's Fall Conference, which took place in Minneapolis on Saturday, October 18.

At this conference Dorothy was presented with CTA-MN's 2014 Leadership Award, and the following being said about her:

We honor Dorothy for her tireless work as teacher, mentor, organizer and passionate conveyor of the New Creation Story. For nearly 20 years, she was the guiding light of Global Education Associates Upper Midwest. In the early 1980s, Dorothy’s life was changed as she began to learn and internalize the work of the great geologian, Thomas Berry. She embarked on a journey of deepening her own understanding of this unfolding evolutionary story. And so, in the final career of her 70 years as a School Sister of Notre Dame, Dorothy directed the work of GEA where she was able to share the story that had become the passion of her life. She was and remains a faithful messenger of the groundbreaking work of Thomas Berry. For many, she pioneered our journeys into this “new way of thinking” about the universe and our place within it. We are eternally grateful.

I was just one of many people who appreciated the opportunity that CTA-MN's October 18 conference provided to personally thank Dorothy for her pioneering work. As regular Wild Reed visitors may know, I recently developed a workshop on evolutionary spirituality entitled "Companions on a Sacred Journey" which I'm presenting to local groups of Catholics. Dorothy and her work were a real inspiration for me in learning about the "new universe story" of evolutionary spirituality, and thus in developing my workshop. Thanks, Dorothy!

For more on evolutionary spirituality, see the previous Wild Reed post:
Prayer and the Experience of God in an Ever-Unfolding Universe
Michael Morwood on the Divine Presence
In the Garden of Spirituality – Beatrice Bruteau
In the Garden of Spirituality – Ilia Delio
Divine Connection
Out and About – Autumn 2013

Left: The keynote speakers at CTA-MN's Fall Conference were longtime educators and authors in the field of human sexuality Sister Fran Ferder and Fr. John Heagle. Their presentation was entitled "Where Love and Justice Meet: An Emerging Sexual Ethic for Our Time."

For more on their presentation, see the previous Wild Reed post:
How the Pope's Recent Remarks on Evolution Highlight a Major Discrepancy in Church Teaching on Sexuality

Above: The beauty of autumn in Minnesota.

For more images, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
In Autumn Light
Photo of the Day – October 31, 2014
In Autumn Light II

Above: My friend Raul – October 2014. I took this photo when Raul and I were visiting our friends John and Noelle in St. Paul. Pictured with Raul is Quinn, my "little fox-faced man," who lives with John and Noelle.

Above: My friend Noelle with her granddaughter Amelia – September 2014. That's Eddie in the foreground.

Right: Amelia with her grandpa, John, and Quinn.

Little Amelia loves all the animals at her grandparents' house, especially . . .

. . . Ziggy!

For more images of this handsome cat, see here, here and here.

Above: On October 23 I turned 49! That evening I went out to dinner with my friends (from left) Tim and Pete. Later we were joined by Pete's partner and the four of us saw the film Lilting at the Edina Theater.

Notes Wikipedia about this film:

Lilting is a 2014 British drama film written and directed by Cambodian-born British director Hong Khaou, whose short film, Spring, was selected for Sundance and Berlinale film festival 2011. It is produced by Dominic Buchanan. . . . [Lilting] tells the story of a mother’s attempt at understanding who her son was after his untimely death, as her world is suddenly disrupted by the presence of his male lover. Together, they attempt to overcome their grief whilst struggling against not having a shared language.

Lilting was met with positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 96% of 24 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.9 out of 10. Justin Chang, in his review for Variety, said that the film "Hong Khaou makes a fine debut with this quietly resonant cross-cultural chamber piece." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film, saying, "Delicate and unhurried almost to a fault, though also hauntingly sexy and even humorous at times." Amber Wilkinson from The Telegraph gave the film three out of five stars and praised the lead actor, noting that "Ben Whishaw is magnetic as a man pushed to the edge of fragility by mourning, but who still suggests a quiet strength." Dominic Mill of We Got This Covered gave a positive review and said, "The subject matter is powerful, and the performances are wonderful - in a world of big and showy dramatism, Lilting gets its point across without feeling the need to shout about it."

Lilting is definitely one of the best films I've seen for a long time, and I encourage you to check it out if you haven't already seen it. Its trailer can be viewed here.

Above: On the evening of Saturday, October 25, some friends gathered at my home to help me celebrate my entering into my 50th year! From left: George, John, Kathy, Julia and me.

Left: My good friend and housemate Tim – October 25, 2014.

Above: Friends Liana and Curtis – October 25, 2014. Last summer I had the honor of officiating at Liana and Curtis' wedding. Their daughter is Amelia, pictured earlier in this post with Liana's mother Noelle.

Above: Friends Brent, Joan, and Lisa.

Above: Tim with our mutual friend Kathleen.

Above: Standing at left with Mary Beth, Kathy, John, Brent, Lisa, Joan, and Kathleen.

Above: Lisa & Brent and Curtis & Liana.

For another photo of the table centerpiece pictured in this photo, one comprised of autumn leaves and a statue of a hare (an ancient symbol of both non-heterosexual conforming sexuality and enlightenment), click here.

Above: Little Edgar, son of my friends Julia and Jim, provided some lovely background music at my October 25 gathering!

Above: On the evening of Wednesday, November 5, Irish priest Tony Flannery spoke at St. Frances Cabrini Church in Minneapolis. "Silenced" by the Vatican in 2012 and since then threatened with "canonical penalties," including excommunication, a key message of Flannery's presentation was that we’re at a moment in time when reform-minded Catholics must let their voices be heard.

For more on Tony Flannery's talk in Minneapolis, click here.

Above and left: My friend Raul's apartment overlooks Lake Calhoun and would have to have some of the best views in Minneapolis!

For more images, click here.

Above: Of course, the view from the front of my house in south Minneapolis isn't that bad either!

Above: Although meteorologically not actually the case, autumn ended for me with the (early) return of wintry weather on Monday, November 10, 2014.

For more images, click here.

Above: Celebrating my friend Julia's birthday – Friday, December 5, 2014.

Left: Beth, Lisa and Julia.

Above and below: On Thursday, December 4, I participated in a solidarity rally for Eric Garner and other victims of police brutality, a disproportionate number of whom are African American males. Garner, an African American, died July 17 in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, after a police officer put him in a chokehold, a tactic banned by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). On Wednesday, December 3, a grand jury decided not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who applied the chokehold on Garner.

The Grand Jury's decision sparked protests and rallies across the country, including the one on December 4 in Minneapolis, which for several hours shut down Interstate 35W northbound.

For more images and commentary, click here.

Above and below: Views of Minnehaha Creek, close to my home in south Minneapolis.

Above: The Mississippi River's Lake Pepin at Lake City, Minnesota – December 16, 2014.

For pictures of this beautiful part of Minnesota in early fall, see the 2011 Wild Reed post, Adventures in Mississippi River Bluff Country.

Above: My friend and housemate Tim beside our Christmas tree, which we decorated on November 29, the eve of the First Sunday of Advent. For more images and for my thoughts on the Christmas tree as an icon, one that invites us to contemplate the "one holy circle" of both dark and light, click here.

With Christmastide approaching, I take this opportunity to wish each and every one of my readers a deeply meaningful and transformative Christmas . . . and all the best for 2015!

– Michael

Autumn 2014 Wild Reed posts of note:
Return of the (Cornish) Native
In Autumn Light
"A Dark Timelessness and Stillness Surrounds Her Wild Abandonment"
On the Feast of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, Thoughts on Marriage Equality in the U.S. and the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Carlos Acosta Recalls the "Clarion Call" of His Vocation in Dance
LGBT Catholics Respond to Synod 2014's Final Report
A Guidepost on the Journey
The Art of Dancing as the Supreme Symbol of the Spiritual Life
How the Pope's Recent Remarks on Evolution Highlight a Major Discrepancy in Church Teaching
In Autumn Light II
John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday: "A Genuinely Radical Film"
Divine Connection
Tony Flannery in Minneapolis
Winter's Return
The Art of Being Kind
Doris Lessing on the Sufi Way
Remembering Olga Nikolaevna and Her Sisters
The Model of Leadership Offered by Jesus: "More Like the Gardener Than the Owner of the Garden"
The Christmas Tree as Icon, Inviting Us to Contemplate the "One Holy Circle" of Both Dark and Light
Happy Birthday, Mum!
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
All 'Round Me Burdens . . .
A Fateful Reunion
Jesus, Our Tortured Brother Today
Active Waiting: A Radical Attitude Toward Life
Sufism: A Tradition of Enlightenment, the Way of Love, and an Antidote to Fanaticism

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Summer 2014
Out and About – Spring 2014
Out and About – Winter 2013-2014
Out and About – Autumn 2013

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