Monday, August 10, 2009

My New Green Space

Since I haven't been posting regularly here at Two World Collision, I thought I'd point you to my new blog called My New Green Space.

It's a new personal project that I've started in my new rented home. I've got free reign over the backyard and I'm going to be building up a backyard organic garden from the ground up. It'll be fun to do! I'll have a balance of videos of me and friends, pics, and also my own writing to document my progress.

I don't know how often I'll be posting here. You can definitely search the archives to see past posts I've written. And you can also go to the Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community site over at

But if you want to follow along with what I'm doing personally beyond my community activities and my gay Christian related activities, come find me over at My New Green Space!

Finding Me at GoCatalyst

So I know it's been quite awhile since my last blog post here. In fact, this whole year has been pretty quiet here at Two World Collision in terms of having regular blog posts. So I figured I'd write a quick post letting you know I was alive and around and where you can find me.

I've been extremely busy and active the past 8 months with investing my energies with trying to catalyze collaborative communities here in Long Beach with my non-profit organization - Catalyst Community. We have seen much progress - too much to try to cram into this post here. So if you're particularly interested in continuing to journey with me, check out:

Catalyst Blog
The Catalyst Community blog at I've documented our work since the start of 2009 so if you piece together all the awesome things happening from the blog posts there, coupled with the periodic posts here at Two World Collision, well then you can kinda get a glimpse of what my life has been like. It's been no doubt an exciting roller coaster ride. But I'll be regularly blogging over there.

Come find me over at Catalyst!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Passing of a Catalyst

The world obeserves the passing of Michael Jackson, a catalyst who reinvented pop culture and his own personal world and in the process connected millions of people around powerful messages and affected millions of lives in countless ways.

It must have been so lonely.

See lyrics below in this post . . . .

"Man In The Mirror"

I'm Gonna Make A Change, For Once In My Life
It's Gonna Feel Real Good, Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

As I, Turn Up The Collar On My Favourite Winter Coat
This Wind Is Blowin' My Mind
I See The Kids In The Street, With Not Enough To Eat
Who Am I, To Be Blind?
Pretending Not To See Their Needs
A Summer's Disregard, A Broken Bottle Top
And A One Man's Soul
They Follow Each Other On The Wind Ya' Know
'Cause They Got Nowhere To Go
That's Why I Want You To Know

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change
(Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah)

I've Been A Victim Of A Selfish Kind Of Love
It's Time That I Realize
That There Are Some With No Home, Not A Nickel To Loan
Could It Be Really Me, Pretending That They're Not Alone?

A Willow Deeply Scarred, Somebody's Broken Heart
And A Washed-Out Dream
They Follow The Pattern Of The Wind, Ya' See
Cause They Got No Place To Be
That's Why I'm Starting With Me

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make A Change

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make That . . .


I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror,
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make The Change
You Gotta Get It Right, While You Got The Time
'Cause When You Close Your Heart
You Can't Close Your . . .Your Mind!

That Man, That Man, That Man, That Man
With That Man In The Mirror
That Man, That Man, That Man I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
You Know . . .That Man

No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself And Then Make A Change

Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah (Oh Yeah!)
Gonna Feel Real Good Now!
Yeah Yeah! Yeah Yeah! Yeah Yeah!
Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah (Ooooh . . .)
Oh No, No No . . .
I'm Gonna Make A Change
It's Gonna Feel Real Good!
Come On! (Change . . .)
Just Lift Yourself You Know
You've Got To Stop It. Yourself!
(Yeah!-Make That Change!)
I've Got To Make That Change, Today!
Hoo! (Man In The Mirror)
You Got To, You Got To Not Let Yourself . . .
Brother . . . Hoo! (Yeah!-Make That Change!)
You Know-I've Got To Get That Man, That Man . . . (Man In The Mirror)
You've Got To, You've Got To Move! Come On! Come On!
You Got To . . . Stand Up! Stand Up! Stand Up! (Yeah-Make That Change)
Stand Up And Lift Yourself, Now!
(Man In The Mirror) Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Aaow! (Yeah-Make That Change)
Gonna Make That Change . . . Come On! (Man In The Mirror)
You Know It! You Know It! You Know It! You Know . . . (Change . . .)
Make That Change.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bridging the Gap

Lately it's been difficult for me to want to maintain bridges (much less build them) between the worlds of faith and sexuality. Honestly, I feel like wounds just keep getting ripped back open and the scabs are barely hardening. Perhaps my heart, too?

My heart isn't hardening towards the Lord. Heck no, I love Him! He's cool. We're cool. It's church folk that I guess I've been growing weary of - both gay and straight. That's probably a whole other blog entry by itself. You may get a sense of where I'm coming from in February's post "The Monkey's Pet Fish" and also April's posts "Through My Eyes", "Outside the Village Walls" and "Disrespectful, But With a Smile".

But when it comes to the idea of bridge building within the Church between those who hold a traditional perspective and those who hold an inclusive perspective regarding being gay, I'll admit that my initiative has sharply declined the past several months. Our local bridge building efforts (see Oct, Nov, Dec posts here) seems to have been on pause - I guess we're all busy (that's the easy excuse).

I think what brought us to a screeching halt was when it began to become an unsafe place for me. I say that because I was helping to drive our efforts forward and so when I hit the breaks, no one else took the initiative. I felt personally attacked and undermined by one person and the result was me feeling unqualified to be part of such bridge building dreams. Before that, we had been experiencing some really exciting relational breakthroughs. He drove me back into the closet as he reminded me of my shame.

I do believe, however, that we can resume our bridge building efforts. The vision of the Coalition of Bridge Builders is to see the broader Church engage in a productive and safe dialogue regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals within our community. We started our efforts with churches and organizations. I wonder if we could resume with starting with individuals first. Our initial approach was to connect with the senior pastors but our efforts quickly became event driven, rather than relationship driven. Perhaps we can invest our energies with a coalition of individuals who are open to entering this dialogue - a productive and safe one. Individuals like Wendy Gritter at Bridging the Gap and everyone taking part in today's synchroblog event.

If we can catalyze individuals from the ground up, then the conversation will inevitably take place among the leaders. But if we only engage the leaders, then it may not filter down to the people. With productive and safe dialogue happening from both ends, then I believe we can see healthy movement.

How can we do this?

I've written before about these things which I'll share with you at the end of this. But first, here are some of my more recent thoughts from my gay Christian perspective and as a bridge builder:

1. A Sense of Safety is Paramount!

Regardless of the positions we take on issues, we have to be sensitive to people feeling safe. Remember that a gay Christian has experienced tremendous historical hurt by the Church. Asking a gay Christian person to engage in dialogue with a straight Christian person about the subject of being gay or the subject of homosexuality (those are two different things) is like asking an abused person to sit next to the person that abused them. I realize that you may not be the actual person that hurt them, but the feelings are still there and it can get pretty raw when it resurfaces. So if we want to keep everyone at the table, then we all need to be sensitive to that.

On the flip side, us gay Christians need to remember that this dialogue isn't therapy. The person next to us or across the table isn't really the person that hurt us. He or she may represent those who hurt us but it's not fair to them. We can't project our anger towards them by inflicting our baggage on to them. Let's remember that they are present - they are there willing to sit with us to have this very important dialogue. That should score points with us.

2. Take Initiative!

If you're a straight Christian person willing to be in this dialogue, it's a huge gesture for us to see you take the step forward into the gap. The reason is because from a gay person's perspective, we have routinely experienced people stepping away from us. We are all too familiar with rejection. So if you would take the initiative in reaching out toward us, then we're more likely to step forward to join you in the gap.

If you're a gay Christian person willing to be in this dialogue, we ultimately have to choose to step towards the other person as well. I know how we can be really bitter and not want to take any steps forward while expecting the person or group that wronged us to do all the work of making amends. Well, we have to be proactive about our forgiveness too.

3. Elevate the Conversation!

We have to find our common ground. There are numerous things that we might disagree about: tongues, tithing, communion, baptism, leadership roles and worship styles and structures and approaches, or even our interpretations of Scripture about the subject of homosexuality and being gay. But we may agree on the Deity of Christ, the Trinity, salvation by grace through faith, and a number of other core things. We need to elevate the conversation beyond the politics of our differences. We need to elevate the conversation to a broader vision - to see God's people love better. Our goal isn't to enter into debate about the things we disagree on. Our agenda cannot be to try to change the other person's mind. That was the old way and that clearly has served only to divide the Church further. But perhaps through relationship, we can change each others hearts towards one another. And God's Church can again begin to assemble to worship Him.

So with that, I invite you to continue this dialogue at - a gay and straight collaborative christian community.

Here are articles I've written to help serve this dialogue:

"Building Relationships that Matter: A Framework for Entering the Hot Zone"

"Journey Christians: Beyond the Side A/B/X Framework"

Be sure to check back at Bridging the Gap's blog to see what other bloggers are contributing to the synchroblog event!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Three Lessons Along A Straight Gal's Journey

This is a letter written to me by Pat who recently joined our other TWC site - Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community. That's a place for both gay and straight "Journey Christians" to walk with each other beyond the Side A/Side B/Side X framework.

Pat is a straight gal on a journey through this issue and she shares three lessons that she has learned for herself so far. She gave me permission to share her letter with everyone here. Thanks Pat!

Hi there, I'll update my profile later, for now I'll introduce myself a little:

I am a Mexican Catholic straight girl who came to this whole hot zone discussion by complete accident: to make a long story short I stumbled upon Andrew Sullivan's blog, felt totally immersed by it and felt really curious that he was both Catholic and Gay (go figure, I didn't know that was possible) ... fast forward 40 days (I am a little obsessive person) and now I know about "reparative therapy" the damages of reparative therapy, the possible biological link to homosexuality, gay sheep, marriage laws in the states, anti-gay propaganda, gay parents, gay struggle, gay kids suicide rate, bible passages, etc.

Names that only yesterday meant nothing to me like "Nicolosi", "Alan Chambers" and "Jon Cameron" or "Mel White", "Boswell" and "Mychal Judge" ring bells for me now, whether for disapproval or approval.

I have become an avid reader of Box Turtle Bulletin, Warren Throckmorton, Gay Christian Network, Ex Gay Watch, The Marin Foundation and, of course, your blog.

Through this journey I have learned three things so far:

First Lesson: That we all as Christians have a VERY big obligation to the Truth. If the first commandment is to love, I would say that the second commandment is to restlessly pursue the truth, no matter where the truth takes us. We cannot get comfortable by "just knowing". When we don't actually know, we must investigate, look, knock, ask, call. Every truth comes from the Holy Spirit, and I dare say that no matter WHO says something (a church, a president, a reverend, a priest or even, gulp, the Pope), if we find out that what is being said is false, then that is not possibly coming from the Holy Spirit.

Second Lesson: I am convinced now that being gay is not a choice, and since it is not a choice, it cannot be (substantially at least) changed. And all our following judgments about the question should take that as a premise.

Third Lesson: A constant I have found with all the anti-gay propagandists is that they lie. I'm not talking about what they believe, I am talking about plain and simple ignorance or distortion of the facts. The bare facts. So that makes them really suspect in my book. The other thing is that they are usually very very spiteful people.

So that's it, I don't know where this journey will further take me, I know that I want to do something, but I don't know what exactly. So joining this network is a start, I guess.

Pray for me! And congratulations on your courage! (great web design by the way!)



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green Long Beach! Festival 2009

Happy Earth Day everyone!

In recognition of all things "green", I thought I'd write a post today on the Green Long Beach! Festival. This will be Catalyst's first big city-wide event as we co-host the festival. I've been serving as the Logistics Coordinator and it's been keeping me quite occupied! But I'm having a blast and I'm working with a terrific team!

Check us out at!

Tweet with us at!

Find us on Facebook here!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Disrespectful But With a Smile

I'm just gonna say this upfront - I reserve the right to vent on my own blog.

That said . . . . what the frickin' hell!?

I'm serious! I mean, really, how in the world can straight "professing Christians" smile with arrogance and then slap me in the face and think that they are doing the Lord's "good work"? I probably shouldn't say "Christians" because some of the people there were cool. It's more like this particular pastor of A Village Community here in Long Beach.

I literally wiped my feet on the mat, not before entering this "house of worship" but rather AS I LEFT this place.

"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town." - Matthew 10:14

All through the service I kept mentally shaking my head at the things I was hearing . . . .

The whole service was about asking questions. People were asked to text message their questions. The pastor even started off with talking about "us having a conversation with each other." But instead of a discussion about the value of having questions or that we sometimes ask the wrong questions or what are the right kind of questions or at the very least having a discussion about the question - like I suppose I was expecting from this kind of a topic - instead, the pastor read off a question, answered it himself, then read off another question, then answered it himself, then read off another question, then answered it himself.....blah blah blah.

I mean seriously, who does he think he is that he's got all the answers according to his worldview?

And here's the kicker. After reading off a question that said, 'Does God love believers more than He does unbelievers?' he arrogantly and resolutely "ANSWERED" with an emphatic "YES".

Seriously. He said that there is scriptural evidence to suggest that God chooses some and does not choose others and that He loves some and does not love others. Seriously.

Now, yes, there's context to this whole thing. But that's still the bottom line of what he was saying. And I'm not saying that I don't believe in a distinction between "God's people". I understand that as well as the "setting apart" of them. But in this discussion about "questions" I was absolutely dumbfounded that it didn't even occur to this pastor or anyone else that perhaps that was the WRONG question to ask. I mean, really, do you really want to talk about how God loves some people but not other people? Was that the "message from God" for today?

It didn't even occur to him that perhaps the better question to ask instead of 'Does God love believers MORE than He does unbelivers?' but rather would have been better to ask 'How does God want me to love both believers AND unbelievers?' That would have been a question God would answer. I mean, how many times did Jesus NOT answer a stupid question? SO MANY times! Why? Because people asked the wrong question.

But no. Instead of reframing the question, he stayed on that direction to go on and on about God's sovereignty to love whomever He chooses and to NOT love whomever He chooses. Why, did this pastor say? So that the ones He chooses to love could FULLY APPRECIATE the love. So that the ones He chooses to love could see the contrast. Seriously. He spoke about an exclusive love. No empathy or compassion for those outside of God's love. Just that those whom God chooses to love should appreciate being chosen.

I also wondered why the pastor wasn't coming up to me to shake my hand or welcome me during the entire service - particularly since there was literally 12 people in the room and there was a 'say hello to your neighbor' time and also two times where everyone broke up into tiny groups to discuss stuff. There were times when he could have said hello. I wondered if he recognized me because we had met once or twice YEARS ago while I was with that faith-based non-profit that I co-founded. But maybe he didn't recognize me. Yet still he chose not to greet or welcome the obvious ONLY newcomer.

At the close of the service, he prayed a prayer of just accepting truth in faith. Um, the truth that HE just presented? Without question? Without doubt? The prayer was to accept it even when it was hard to accept. His answers. His truth. His interpretation. His worldview. I seriously thought this, but during the prayer it really felt like it was a brainwashing. But this wasn't a cult out in some remote ranch. This was a church just like most in the city.

So then after the service when everything was done and over with, he walked up to me saying my name, 'Eric, you remember we met before.' And I was completely friendly and saying that it was good to see him and he asked a couple probing questions about what I was doing now. I told him about Catalyst Community and I told him about the Green Long Beach! Festival and that some from his church were having a booth and selling T-shirts. I told him about some of the good things we're doing in the community. I didn't say anything gay-related.

He wasn't interested in what I was doing now though. He wanted to probe because he had thought I was a pastor. I told him that I encouraged some communities of gay Christians to feel supported because there are so many that want to worship but are being rejected out of their own congregations. But no I said I wasn't a pastor. And in that context of conversation, he began to say what he really wanted to say which was that he wanted to make it CLEAR that they were not an "affirming" congregation.

(And in my head, I'm thinking why is this relevant? I didn't bring up the gay thing, he did. And if he didn't know me before this, he wouldn't have even known that I was gay.)

Really? I'm here visiting your church and was actually looking for a place to start going to regularly and the welcome sales pitch is to make it CLEAR that they were not a place that thinks "gay" is okay. Really? And after me telling you that there are SO MANY CHRISTIANS who are gay that WANT TO WORSHIP JESUS but are being REJECTED out of their OWN CONGREGATIONS, you feel it necessary to talk about the gay pride parade and how there are churches in the parade that are affirming of "the lifestyle" and there are churches on the side that are holding picket signs and yelling "burn," and you want to tell me that your church represents "neither" but that you want to make it CLEAR that "we are not affirming"? Really? That's what you want to tell me?

And after saying these things to me, he started saying with a smile, "That's my main concern. I wanted to make that clear." After he said that a couple times, I thought it was odd. It seemed out of context. So I inquired, "wait, sooooo, what's your CONCERN?" I asked genuinely with a 'I don't get it' tone. I wasn't saying anything about anything gay regarding me and this congregation. And he said, "well the festival. If we're going to have a booth, I wanted to make it CLEAR that we're not affirming." So I was like, "but the festival is a GREEN festival. You know, GREEN as in, the environment? The festival is about encouraging people about sustainability and how to use energy efficiently and to talk about recycling." And he was like, "oh."

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." Ezekiel 16:49

Who's the Sodomite?

So now as I think back to the lack of welcome and the lack of eye contact and the messages that God loves the believer and NOT the unbeliever and the closing prayer to accept the truth and the intentional effort to make it CLEAR (his words) that they were not an affirming church . . . . I get the sense that it was all because he did recognize me right from the beginning. Remember, there were only 12 people present. I was clearly the newcomer.

After he realized that I was helping to organize logistics for a GREEN festival, he said his goodbyes to me, stepped back and away to assemble his post-church service meeting (which was actually a debrief of their 'outreach project').

I said my friendly goodbyes to the folks I met, started shaking my head and wiped my feet at the front door as I LEFT them.

What a freakin' arrogant hypocrite.

So I drove home just pissed and angry and mad at how disrespectful he was but with a smile. I'm SURE he has NO CLUE as to how offensive he was. And I'm SURE he has NO CLUE as to how he hurt me and his own witness.

By the time I got home, still mad, the first thing I saw when I turned on the television was the ending speech from Sigourney Weaver in "Prayers For Bobby" (see below) and by the time she hugged her son/that kid at the side of the parade I was literally balling my eyes out just crying like really really heavy tears.

I mean, seriously, why can't I just go to a church service with other people that love Jesus and not leave feeling worse than I did when I arrived? (And no, maybe I don't want to always go to a church where the congregation are mostly gay.)

As far as I've gone on this journey, I'm still surprised at how this still affects me the way it does. I still take it very personally, the Church's rejection of gay people, because my own story of suicide is very real and relevant to me. And I was the one who gave THEM a chance. I freakin' allowed myself, yet one more time, to go into a place knowing that these freakin' Christians might freakin' hurt me freakin' again. AGAIN! It still affects me profoundly and as strong as I think I am, they still freakin' make me cry every time.

Damn it.

Break the cycle of hurt. Go to

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Choosing to Love

This is a letter written by my straight Journey Christian friend Becky to a pastor in response to a comment he had made about gays:


The truth is, you never know how you are going to react to something until it is close to you.

Whether or not I think being gay is right or wrong is not the issue. This is an issue of love. How we choose to love and respond when people are being hurt and treated as being something less than human . . . .

There was a day when I had to make a choice. I chose to listen to the stories. A story about a young man just beginning his life who was hung on a fence post to die. Why? And what makes it even more horrifying is that "Christians" to this day still protest saying this boy is now in HELL...I refuse to believe that.

Then there was another story about a friend of mine who loved the LORD with all of his heart, who had to leave his church and the youth group he loved..for many reasons... but mostly because he feared the reactions of his fellow Christians should they find out he was gay.

There were friends who do not want to leave their house because of how they have been treated. Humans who believe that they should not be on this earth!

There was a close friend who lived in fear, every day of his life. Fear that he would be "found out", always looking over his shoulder if he chose to go out with friends. Who might see him in the "gay" district. I began to ask myself why there was even a "gay" district in cities. I related it to biblical times when so many Christians were persecuted and had to go live in groups together in hiding to get away for the hatred and abuse. They could not tell anyone who they were for fear of losing their lives.

So, therefore I chose to listen and be a positive force in place where people feel like darkness sounds them everyday. I chose to be light in the darkness. I want to make the darkness and pain go away for my friends. I want to go to the places I believe JESUS would be. HE would be with the broken, hurt and suffering. HE would be with the people who have been abused, and all in the name of the Lord.

I had to make a choice a number of years ago when 3 very close and dear friends of mine all came out to me in what seemed a matter of days. I had two options, one was to hurt them, alienate them and leave them alone. The other was that of LOVE. That no matter what, I would love them through my actions, to accept them and everyone right where they were at. Was it right or wrong? I don't know, but I would allow God to be God and if it were wrong then He would convict my friends. My job was to have no agenda, to love them right where they were at, as hard as that may be. What grew out of that decision, both filled me with love and also shocked me.

One time I accompanied my friend to the "gay district" and I met a man who told me he hated "Christians", hated everything about them. I told him that I was one of those people he hated. He asked why I was there then? I explained to him how I had no agenda, that I was there with my friend, to support him. It was amazing how that turned him around and we talked for hours about everything. I questioned him and began to dig deeper, and found out that he had a great sense of who God was and knew that God was bigger than the universe. Before we went our separate ways that night he said to me that I seemed "different", a good different, different than most people. I just smiled, knowing what it was. It was an 'aha' moment for me, I felt shalom come over me. That is exactly what I wanted. I want to be different, I want to be a Christian without ever having to say I am. Without ever having to quote from the Bible. I just want people to see something different in me, and that being Jesus Christ.

That was not the only occasion, afterward gay people seemed to be everywhere. I had to reexamine what I was forced fed. Here is what I know, I believe that everyone was created equally in God's image. That He loves everyone the same, and that it does not matter what someone has done, is doing, or will do for He knows all.

I have become extremely passionate about erasing the stereotypes that are often held against the gay community. Yes, there are gays who do go out the bar, just like many straight people. There are gays who do sleep around with many sexual partners, just as do many straight people. There are gays who refuse to walk in the way of the Lord, as do many straight people. So why does our society deem it "normal" when straights do these things and "perverted" of gays?

In the end, it does not matter to me if a friend of mine is gay or straight, they are my friend. Unless of course they were endangering their life, I would let them know and beg them to stop, gay or straight.

I have come to realize that people are people, no matter what their sexual preference may be, no matter what their denomination or religion, no matter the color of their skin.

I contend that if my beliefs are wrong that I will be shown that in one way or another from God. I believe that HE is the ultimate is up to HIM, not me nor any other human being.

The Pharisees are mentioned many times in the Bible. I remember the story of one of the Pharisees inviting Jesus to dinner and the Pharisees being upset because Jesus did not wash before the meal. Jesus tells them that they clean the outside but the inside is full of greed and wickedness. In many ways that is not too far off from so many Christians of today. We look great and "clean" on the outside, we go to Church services on Sunday and forget about "Church" the rest of the week.

I recently watched a movie called Prayers for Bobby! It was a true story about a young gay boy growing in a conservative Christian household, with a mother who was misguided by what she was taught. She made her own son feel like he was nothing. She would tell Bobby he was going to hell, and that she would never accept him, ever and neither would GOD! After years of struggle, Bobby ends up taking his own life. It is not until after his death that his mother realizes what she had done. She found his journal and read of the struggles he had, how he prayed endlessly to change and how he questioned GOD. It was then that she too began to question, how could a beautiful, loving boy like her son be damned to hell? In the end she realizes that the judging should have been left to GOD, not her, nor any other human. She knew she was partially responsible for what happened to her son because of her close-minded thinking. Her fight to change that thinking continues to this day.

In the end, it does not matter what I think or what anyone else out there thinks. To me it only matters what GOD thinks. I believe that JESUS loves us all the same. His love is unchanging for everyone. I think that if we focused on what we had in COMMON with one another, instead of the differences, then we could live in true COMMUNITY as we were meant to live! I do not know what made GOD lay this topic on my heart? But, he did and I can feel in the core of my bones. It has allowed me to learn so much about myself and who I was created to be. To understand what it means to be a Christian and love one another unconditionally. To show people love through my actions. I believe that love really does win!!!! Love is a choice and I choose to love! Love wins.

Becky O F

Romans 15v4-6

"If you judge others you will have no time to love them."~ Mother Teresa

"Before you echo 'Amen' in your home or place of worship, think and remember...a child is listening." Mary Griffith.


If you are a straight Christian who, like Becky, thinks that expressing genuine love is more important than the divisive politics of the Church's homosexuality debate, then join us at Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community and find out what it means to be a "Journey Christian."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Outside the Village Walls

So I happened to see a post card flyer of an event called "the Murder Jesus Project" that i was thinking about checking out tonight. It's hosted by A Village Community, a local Long Beach church. I spent an hour checking out their web sites and watching many of their videos. Here's the one on that project:

From what I could see from many of their creative videos is that they welcome people on life's journey. I found myself wondering if this village community of believers even had the capacity to walk with these kinds of people. Attracting them to the church is one thing, but what happens once they've "attended"? I wonder how willing this village community is to really journeying with us or if they simply wanted to bring people in for an event.

I noted, by the way, that their stated spiritual beliefs is just a link to the Missionary Church denomination and I enjoyed reading about their beliefs that "homosexual activity, like adulterous relationships, is clearly condemned in the Scriptures". Who knows if this particular local church agrees with their denomination mother ship but their site doesn't say otherwise. Would that mean that I'm not welcome in their village community?

And so why would I want to set myself up by trying to join their village only to have them set me outside the village walls once they get to know the real me? Or worse, allow me inside the village square without inviting me into their homes.

[enter sarcasm] And people think of the gay community when they think of the sin of Sodom? (Ezekiel 16:49)

(I know, it sounds like I'm pre-judging this local church but i'm more commenting on mainstream churches in general. I'm still gonna check them out tonight.)

In describing my own journey, I'll often talk about not being a part of an institutional church because I have a different paradigm of "Church" - that Church is the community of believers connected by Spirit and relationship, not a place to go or a thing to do. We are the Church. And i'll often justify not going to a sunday "service" because i'll say that i'm in regular community with believers.

That's not been the case so much these past few months. I've kept myself occupied trying to do good things in the community and I've actually had a great time getting to know many folks in the creative communities and even the green communities. But the truth is, I've been out of fellowship and the next time someone asks me what church I "go" to, I'll probably respond authentically with "I don't".

I've been talking to Jesus about it actually. It's just that I don't connect with or resonate with much of what I see from many churches. I've been around too long and so I can see right through the gimmicks. It just turns me off. And what's more, I'm kinda bugging over people who say one thing but don't follow through. I'd like to see a community of believers who were investing in mutually knowing each other - both regulars and newcomers instead of being content with simply seeing each other at events.

I know tomorrow is Easter. I've no idea what I'll do. And my family decided not to get together for the traditional lunch gathering. It's easy for them to decide that when they all have their own families to be with - spouse and kids and in-laws. I don't have that just yet, being single and all. They are my only family.

I'm not too keen on attending an Easter service either when I barely even go on any other sunday.

You get that I'm not all that concerned with presenting a super gay Christian image, right? This is just me (today), unapologetically.

Either way, me and Jesus are still sticking around doing our thing.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Through My Eyes

I really was not expecting to tear up and cry while here at work after seeing this again.

My own story rings clearly for me and while I hear clips of their stories, they sound so much like mine. (see "Suicide and the Porcelain Punisher").

I suppose I teared up this morning because I've been feeling kinda alone in recent weeks - for a lot of reasons, really. But after seeing the trailer for Through My Eyes, GCN's recently released project documentary of young Christians wrestling with the issue of being gay and of homosexuality in the Church, I found that it stirred up a lot of those familiar emotions and memories of searching for connection and never seeming to find it.

These days, I busy myself with helping others to connect. I've been working non-stop on the Catalyst Community ( and the Green Long Beach! Festival ( the past three months. Not to mention my other project, the Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community site ( as well as many of the other collaborative communities and coalitions that I've been trying to help catalyze. These are all reasons why I haven't blogged here so frequently.

But in working so hard to help others connect, the heart of where that comes from is my own desire and need to connect - to feel connected. I long for reciprocity. And I appreciate the few truly mutual friendships that I do have in my life. It's just hard when relationships seem to come and go or fade before a root takes hold. What's harder is trying - really trying - not to internalize this pattern as my fault. Or perhaps it is. Or some of it.

Regardless of the reasons why or what the pattern means, at the end of the day I still find myself alone.

In thinking about these stories of young Christians who live and/or wrestle with being gay, what resonates for me is the fact that we want to connect. We want to live in faithful Christ-centered community. But when our churches reject us, what more do we have left?

A pastor asked me once regarding me not having a home church and asked if there was a community of believers who missed me when I wasn't present. The interesting thing is that after attending services at that church, no one acknowledged that I was present in the first place. And after subsequently discontinuing attendance at those services, I've not heard from the pastor. It's hard to miss someone you didn't realize was there.

So I suppose the answer to the question is "no."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Monkey's Pet Fish

I was having one of those "ugly" cries. You know that gross tears flowing out of my eyes with snot dripping from my nose and lips quivering into an upside down smile with cheeks tightened up. That kinda cry. It was one of those "ugly" cries.

Not cute.

I was driving on the freeway this morning when it happened, on my way to a church service at Newsong in Irvine, California. There's a few reasons why this is significant to me. For starters, it's a predominantly Asian congregation. Secondly, it's a predominantly straight congregation. Thirdly, it's a bit of a mega-church. If you've followed my story these past couple years you'd know that these are definitely outside of my comfort zone.

But the Lord, in His hilarity and divine plan, was sending me here and I knew exactly what was up His sleeve. I just didn't necessarily like the fact that I had to be the one, once again, to go do the thing that absolutely challenged my sense of courage and security.

I was having a breakthrough there in the car this morning. And that breakthrough was the realization that I was afraid of God's people. I've never been afraid of God. He's always been trustworthy and consistently by my side. He's my friend. But it's God's people that I fear, at times. Because much of the profound hurt that I've experienced in my life was connected in some way to God's people, my own brothers and sisters in Christ. Ironic.

I wasn't crying because of the fear though. I was crying because realizing the truth that many people are afraid of Christians and see them as unsafe hurt-ers instead of heal-ers makes me sad and (I think) grieves the Spirit . . . .(read more)

For the major part of my life I've experienced ethnic shame for being Filipino. I didn't like being Asian nor did I feel like I connected with other Asians. I experienced racial prejudice with slurs directed at me while at a very young age and I responded by internalizing that hatred. Until recent years, having come out of the closet, the Lord has done much healing in me in that area of my life. Particularly since the Lord had begun a process in me of learning how to love myself as I am, the way He does. And so I've found myself growing - becoming more and more comfortable around Asians and even being able to look in the mirror.

Going to the service at Newsong was also going to be the first time since coming out that I was going to be investing in relationships with straight people in a church fellowship. When I came out, I had primarily been visiting with and getting to know people in congregations where the majority of people were gay. But this morning, I wasn't simply visiting a "straight" church because of an invitation or because I was church hopping. Before I even experienced a sunday morning service at Newsong, the Lord had already been telling me that I was supposed to go and invest in relationships there. So whether or not my first impression was great or terrible, I already knew going in that I was going to keep coming.

The fact that this was a church with resources and lots of people and that God was sending me here didn't make me feel comfortable either. My paradigm of Church has always been that "church" was not a "place to go to" or a "thing to do". I believe that we are the Church - the web of relationships that comprise God's family who live out a lifestyle of faith, and so if we are to experience this community fully, we have to see past the man-made structures and begin to see a Church without walls. ("Jumping the Walls" and "Band of Brothers and Sisters" describes my paradigm of Church further.) But one of the things that I liked hearing about Newsong beforehand was that they taught about similar themes regarding the Church without walls. It would be interesting to see how this looked within the context of a mega-church structure - to see if the substance of relationships in community was present as evidence of those who lived out this "Church without walls" paradigm. Nevertheless, the things I had been told about Newsong before coming to a service was refreshing.

So there I was crying in the car talking with God about how He always seems to send me to uncomfortable places. The reality is that I'm just always willing to go where He is. He's taken me to some very interesting places in my life and they were all places where He was already actively working among the hearts of people there. And so here He was again, sending me to an Asian Straight Mega-Church. My God's a comedian and He thinks He's funny.

The point isn't that Newsong is fine and great and that God is working through them to minister to others. I'm sure that's happening but that's not what I'm talking about. The point is that God has been actively working on the hearts of people here at Newsong and He wanted me to witness it and possibly even be a part of it. I don't know exactly what that looks like but if indeed He's preparing their hearts to enter into friendly non-combative relationships with gay people as a different approach to the historically hostile approach towards them, then heck yeah I'll keep myself in proximity to wait for God's prompting or call on me to share my heart and life.

I can be pretty critical of the Church in general with all of it's institutional surface relationships that come in arrogantly and hypocritically with best intentions of helping poor needy souls. It's like the Church has a savior complex. But I'm not simply critical of the Church. I can see what the Church can be - effective ambassadors of reconciliation, once again. We're not that now. But we can be. I've often written and spoken about these things. But here, this morning, I could be in the very uncomfortable situation of being part of God's answered prayer. It's not enough for me to talk about how the Church needs to change while in the comfortable safe spaces of fellowship with people like me. No, if I was going to pray for it, then I have to be willing to be the tangible body that God uses to answer my own prayer. Otherwise, I'd just be complaining.

For several months now, the Lord had been speaking to me about building community among straight Christians who could be loving and supportive of those who are gay. I haven't seen that happening much elsewhere in the conservative evangelical world. For two years, the Lord had me investing in relationships with gay people and even catalyze a tangible sense of community among gay Christians. Now it seems the Lord would have me do similar things with straight Christians. And already knowing the character and trend of God in my own life, I can see how these two communities of gay and straight Christians can eventually be brought together - not through program or agenda but rather through relationship.

If that's what He's up to, then I'll go and do whatever He wants me to do. Even if that means going to a community of straight Asian Christians and for the first time offering myself authentically right from the start. I would make no effort to advertise the fact that I'm gay but I would make no effort to hide the fact either. I would allow myself to be known (organically and in due time) as the man that I am and if God sparks relationship between me and others then I trust that it will be mutually edifying.

But this comes with huge emotional and relational risk. I've no idea how I'll be received. I can say that the two people from this congregation that I've shared a meal with - dinner with the Life Development Pastor and lunch with the Small Groups Director - both received me with love and generous hearts. And I can call them friends. But I've got my share of baggage. My hope is simply to be known in safe ways and to know others in safe ways.

Honestly, though, I don't enter into this without my own hypocrisy. I speak a lot about the need for reconciliation and for the most part I've seen that in my life more and more. But very recently, only a week and a half ago, a friend that I've known for almost ten years betrayed my trust and I've been having a difficult time forgiving him - much less giving him the time of day or releasing his "blocked" status from my Facebook.

Boy, I'm telling you that actually living out this life with Jesus is tough! It's one thing to go through the motions on Sunday morning but it's absolutely another thing to be owning His life as mine.

The pastor at Newsong Church is Dave Gibbons. I don't know too much about his celebrity but I gather that the work and ministry that he's done for the Lord has been noticed in evangelical Christendom. He's also got a new book out called "The Monkey and the Fish: Liquid Leadership for a Third Culture Church" which I'm very interested in reading since much of what I've heard has resonated with my paradigm of Church. This morning, he shared several points with the congregation while introducing the eastern story of The Monkey and the Fish. In a nutshell, the story tells of a typhoon raging and the monkey who sees the fish in the water. With good intentions, the monkey tried to "save" the fish by picking it up out of the water. The pet fish died and the monkey is an idiot. (That last part was my own, sorry Dave.)

So when I think about the Church on the issue of gays both in the congregation and in the community, some people can be a big monkey trying to help their pet fish and just makes things worse.

Ex-gay programs, exorcisms, reparative therapy, ex-communication from church or being disowned from the family.

The Church has left in its wake people like me who cry on the way to their precious "church services" or on the way home or in the shower or any where else where we feel completely alone.

But we are no one's pet and none of us wants to be someone's project.

While Dave didn't specifically reference the gay thing in his message, I think it can be applied. Straight Christians can do a world of good by simply putting the halo on the shelf, getting in the water, and experiencing empathy for what it's like to be gay - both in the congregation and in the community. In Dave's message, he talked about how this will require people to be in painful adaptation - the notion that it is going to be absolutely uncomfortable, will require a commitment to staying in the water (in relationship), and operating with the truth that Jesus is already present and that it's okay to step aside and just watch.

There's only room for One Savior in this Church.

So let's not mess up what Jesus is doing by throwing ourselves in before assessing how Jesus wants to use us productively.

On the flip side to this whole message is that I feel like God was telling me that not only am I the fish but that God was leading me to be of help to the monkey. It's not about the monkey being productively helpful to the poor fish. It's about the monkey being humble enough to realize that he could possibly use some help from the fish.

But how do you tell a fish that he can help the same monkey that tried to drown him with oxygen in the first place?

I guess that's where I find myself at right now.

I believe that I am a child of God, a member of His Church, who is not only valued and loved but is also useful and qualified for serving in His Kingdom. Am I willing to take the same humble approach of not simply trying to save the Church from its arrogant ways as if I'm some sort of twisted savior, but instead am I willing to build relationship with other straight Christians to actually appreciate their well-intentioned hearts and to earn the kind of trust in these relationships that grants me the privilege of speaking into a person's life?

It's the same approach that I would want from straight Christians to gay people. It seems only fair and reasonable that we would each share a stance of common humility.

Gosh, I can see the transforming power of reconciliation through relationships that God can do in healing His own Church - answering the prayers from both "sides". And what a testimony it could be to the world to show that even the Church can learn to forgive itself.

That kind of credibility would go a long way towards us being seen and even welcomed again as ambassadors of reconciliation.

[Be sure to check out Two World Collision Collaborative Christian Community for both gay and straight Journey Christians.]