The Trouble (And Blessing) of Lent

Sed Angli.

408775616_ab49f1e325by the Revd Dr David Lose

LET’S FACE IT. Lent is in trouble.

Let me explain. Most of us have favorite holiday seasons. For some it’s Christmas, with the family get-togethers and presents. For others it’s the Fourth of July and summer, filled by a sense of national pride and beach vacations to boot. But each year at just about this time, it strikes me that very few of us would pick Lent, a season that seems to most of us as grim as the weather that usually attends it.

Think about it: crossing off days on the calendar until Ash Wednesday; leaving work just a little early, saying “I’ve got to get my Lenten shopping done;” advertisements on billboards and television reading “only 12 more days ’til the day of Ashes;” or little kids going to bed, asking their parents, “How much longer ’till Lent is here?” It just…

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HIV-positive straight ally in Zimbabwe wins Kato Award

76 CRIMES

Martha Tholanah at a committee meeting. Martha Tholanah at a committee meeting.

Zimbabwean women’s and LGBTI rights activist Martha Tholanah is the winner of this year’s David Kato Vision & Voice Award, which honors people working for the human rights of sexual minorities worldwide, especially in homophobic societies.

Tholanah, a straight, HIV-positive activist “risks her life every day to support [LGBTI] people across the country. Her activism is a powerful example of a straight ally standing in solidarity with LGBTI people despite threats to her own safety and security,” said the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF), which selects the winners of the Kato Award.

The award is named after David Kato, the human rights activist murdered in his home of Kampala, Uganda, in January 2011.

MSMGF stated:

GALZ logo GALZ logo

“As a trained family therapy counselor qualified in medical rehabilitation, Martha has established and headed health programs for Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) and…

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The Almost Boyfriend.

So, the almost boyfriend. His name is Will Schlichter. He’s about 3 years younger then me, and our relationship is a tragedy of epic proportions, lol.

It began When we were both attending the Adventist high school together in Michigan where we lived. I was a deeply closeted student pastor, and he was a cute new guy, who was a bit flamboyant. I could tell he was gay, but he wasn’t really in my circle of friends. I would just say hi to him from time to time, ask him how he was doing stuff like that. He really wasn’t my type, and I was closeted and homophobic so it didn’t matter anyway.

After I graduated high school, my freshman year of college, one of my old religion professors asked me to take part in a program called Foundations, something like a group therapy and self improvement course. I said I would, and in March of 2009, I went on this trip. And he was there to. We sat next to each other on the bus, we talked and stuff. I was super nervous, cause he was gay, and I didn’t hang around gay people. And he was cute. When the program was over and we were heading back home, I saw him and one of his straight friends checking out dudes in a GQ magazine, and Will was pointing out who looked cute, that was when I knew for sure he was gay.

Fast forward about 6 months. I’m starting to come out, but I don’t know alot of people who I feel safe coming out to, and I needed to find someone who I thought I could trust. Even though we aren’t really friends, I know will is Gay and I can trust him, so I go to my old highschool, and I ask if we can have lunch that day. He says yes. We meet up at this spot, and I tell him I’m gay, and that I know he;s gay, and that I needed somebody to talk to. He’s trembling to, but I’m not exactly sure why. He asks if we can hang out some more, I tell him yes.

Fast forward 2 months ahead. We’ve begun hanging out for awhile, and I’m starting to realize that he likes me, as in want to fuck kind of like, and I’m freaking out. I’m a side B gay at this time, I admit I’m gay, but I’m against having relationships as a gay person. He’s an agnostic/atheist. A side A gay, completely for gay relationships. He comes on to me, tries to kiss me, I turn him down.

We keep hanging out. He keeps trying, and I keep turning him down, and I’m getting increasingly irritated. Finally, April 2010, I tell him that we can’t keep hanging out. He wants something that I can’t give him. We hug in the parking lot. I walk away. When I get home, I cry, and I refuse to pick up his phone calls. It’s this incident that makes me realize that it’s possible for two men to love and not just lust after one another. Cause I realize, as my heart breaks, that I love him.

After he graduates a month later, Will leaves town. He comes to visit about 5 months later in october. I try to avoid him. Then one day, he’s back. But he doesn’t come around to visit. He’s got a full beard. He looks tired. It’s about a year since we stopped hanging out, and I’m completely different. I’m 100% gung ho for gay rights. I’m also out of school, even though I still live in town. I see him at the Library on campus and I strike up a conversation. I’m about to tell him that I was wrong and he was right, when he starts talking about how he’s involved in a conservative religious meeting ant his conservative Adventist church. I listen, and then I say good bye. I know somethings wrong. I know he isn’t for gay rights anymore.

Fast forward to october 2011. I call him, cause I want to let him know he was right. I just moved back to Cleveland, and I hate being here. I start to talk but we end up in an argument about whether it’s okay to be Gay and Christian, with him yelling at me on the phone. He hangs up on me.

April 2012, he calls me. I’m surprised. He asks me if I want to be his boyfriend. I tell him yes.

This is where I wish the story ended. But it can’t be that way, not for us.

Within 4 weeks, he breaks up with me. The next month he takes me back. He breaks up with me a month later. Every time he breaks up with me, it feels like a punch in the gut. Every time he comes back to me, it feels like sunshine and destiny.

Between april 2012, and February 2014, we break up and make up about 8 times. He always initiates the breakup. I sometimes think it’s God punishing me for breaking up with him the first time. I always take him back and try again.

The seventh time we break up, I finally realize for the first time why this is happening. He told it to me before, but I was so ignorant that it didn’t seem like a big deal. My Almost Boyfriend is BiPolar. That’s what the breakdown was. He told me that he had a hard time concentrating, that sometimes he felt that God hated him and was telling him how sick he was and that he was going to hell. He told me that sometimes he felt depressed all the time. That he felt like he was crazy. I told him that I knew exactly how he felt, and that everyone went through that sort of thing sometimes. I was so wrong.

After he broke up with me in February, I waited. I actually started going on Tumblr to distract myself from the pain of losing him. I became obsessed with Bipolar disorder. Alot of my early posts are about mental health issues. I met someone mysteriumkeeper, but had to break up with him, mainly because I knew that Will still had my heart. The last time we tried to make it work was in November. It lasted all of 2 days. I waited until November 23 of last year for him. And then I finally let him go.

There are so many more things I could write about him. A piece of me I think will alway love him. But we can never be, so I’ve let him go.

Here is what Will looks like. Will's Graduation Pix

When a moment’s significance does not compute

Paradoxical Thoughts

Transfiguration

By The Rev’d Curtis Farr

I was tremendously unprepared to visit the Holy Land. Logistically, my plans were resolute—the two-week course on “The Palestine of Jesus” was absolutely all-inclusive, and I even had purchased travel insurance for my airfare. The latter ended up being an expensive mistake, but that is beside the point.

I was prepared, and yet I wasn’t. Despite being surrounded by thousands of years of history—all of which is particularly relevant to my vocation—I felt as if I was unable to register the significance of walking on that ground, and it made me angry. I wanted to “get it,” but I knew that I couldn’t.

Perhaps you’ve felt this on some vacation of yours, and maybe it was even to the extent that the anticipation and/or memory of such a thing far exceeds the reality. Think of a trip, a holiday, or your wedding day…it’s kind of…

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Breaking the Silence

Sheldon A-Way

First off, I should acknowledge that I haven’t posted on here in a long time. Sorry ’bout that. Hopefully I’ll stay more on top of things moving forward.

Earlier this week, I went on a tour of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, with an organization called Breaking the Silence. They’re a group of former IDF soldiers who now speak about their experiences in the IDF, the occupation, and the effects that it has. If you’re interested in learning more about the organization (which I suggest doing) you can check them out here. The tour guide who took us to Hebron had been a sniper in a special forces unit, so he had some interesting stories and experiences to share. I want to share a bit about that experience in Hebron. By no means will I be able to explain the entire history of Hebron in…

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