2 things I’m contemplating prior to the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago

There are some individuals who say that you should compartmentalize and keep the sacred from the secular and vice versa. Yet the way I look at it, all truth is God’s truth and there doesn’t need to be a split up of the so-called sacred and secular.

As I prep for the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago I’m contemplating two things, one’s a well known prayer and one’s a cover song by Todd Rungren’s band Utopia called Love is theAnswer.

Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer:

Utopia/Todd Rundgren – Love is the Answer

I’m excited for a third year to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community (not that there’s no overlap but there needs to be more) at the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago. God spoke to me prior to the event 3 years ago and I listened and I acted, and so I prepare to leave my house to answer the call once again.

It must be done, building bridges, because this is an issue the church cannot sweep under the carpet and hope nobody notices…well I notice it and the way we act the LGBT community knows it as well. These things take time, but I have faith in God and my generation that we will take care of the matter to truly take the steps of restoration and reconciliation between the Christian community and the LGBT community. Yet since it is in it’s early stages those individuals who go forward now, such as Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation, are pioneers; they’re blazing a trail that hasn’t been traversed and they’re going on faith and trusting in God because the outcome hasn’t been determined yet…but God will see them and I to completion, I have faith in him to do that 🙂

John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

~Nathanael~

18/30 Adventure Time

Adventure Time!

https://i2.wp.com/local-static.forum-files.fobby.net/forum_attachments/0022/8971/adventuretime.png

I am not a fan of all things kid shows, but there is something about Adventure Time that appeals to me, because I (when I can afford it) am an adventurer. It doesn’t cost me a lot to go adventures, but if Time > Money, I haven’t much of either at this present moment.

Adventures can be spontaneous and some can be planned, to which I am thinking that when it comes to the latter I’m going to see if I can find a reasonably priced ticket to Washington D.C. and have my sister drive me to the airport, and I’ll fly out to Washington D.C. with only my cellphone, wallet and camera.

I could contact my sister who lives in Washington D.C. nowadays for a tour and more of the city, but I think maybe I will just go at it alone. I don’t mind being alone and going on adventures alone, sometimes I need to set my sails and head for uncharted territory.

Uncharted territory, off the beaten path, the road less traveled, however you want to call it is ideal for me because there are moments in my adventuring that I rather go about doing something not a whole lot of other people are doing. Take Chicago; I like Chicago a lot but I’m not a fan of going to The Bean or Millennium Park because everyone and their mom does it, there’s more to Chicago than meets the eye and going to where everyone else goes.
Chicago’s chockful of places to go where not a lot of people go and hopefully — between the job called looking for a job and some other business I have to attend to — I’ll be back in Chicago prior to Sunday (when I’ll be there in Boystown for the Gay Pride Parade).

I take adventures because sometimes I know what to expect and sometimes (which I like) the unexpected happens; life is unpredictable at times, but what does one do when it does become predictable? I take adventures because my life needs that kind of stimulus, to keep me on edge and expect the unexpected.

Carpe Diem and happy adventuring!

~Nathanael~

Get out out of church and get to a Gay Pride Parade!

If you are a follower of Christ who desires to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community, I advise you (since most of the parades fall on a Sunday) to get out of church and get to a Gay Pride Parade.

It’s one thing to say to yourself and others that you want to engage individuals who have been hurt by Christians, who have been marginalized and maybe even rejected, that you want to build a bridge, that you want to bring about some form of reconciliation and restoration…but if you don’t do it, what good are your words?

Words can lead to ideas, ideas can lead to plans, so why not make your words tangible and go to a Pride Parade and simply take the time to apologize to the individuals around you and even in the parade that you’re sorry for the way Christians have been unChristlike, heck if you personalize it (if you’ve been on the side of judgment and being unloving) and share where you’ve been and where God is leading you, I bet that will go a long way!

I don’t know when all the Gay Pride Parades are, so you’ll have to Google search your city plus Pride Parade.

In 10 days Chicago will be having their Gay Pride Parade and I intend to be there with some friends, The Marin Foundation and Andrew Marin. We’ll probably be in front of the IHOP in Boys Town. I am a follower of Christ and it is my desire and passion to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community, will I be skipping church? Yes I will! I have no qualms about it, here’s why…

In Jesus’ telling of the parable of the prodigal son, the father doesn’t wait around for his son to come back to him, but rather when he sees his son in the distance he runs full of compassion to him. Too often I think the church sits back and waits for people to come through the doors and doesn’t budge from its seat, but that’s now how Jesus lived! Jesus engaged the people where they were, he went to them, he lived and functioned amongst them. Sure there were times when Jesus needed a breather and so he and his disciples would get away from it all for a short while, but then he would go back to the people, to humanity.

So like the father in Jesus’ parable I run! I choose to engage the LGBT community where they are and not waiting around for them to come to church, if they do, that’s great! But I rather go to the LGBT community, to the Gay Pride Parade, where the rubber meets the road…and guess what? “Where two or three are gathered in my name there I am in the midst of them” (italics are mine) God’s already at the Gay Pride Parade, he invites me and my friends and others to be a part not be apart.

Don’t let church get in the way,
Be the church at your local Gay Pride Parade this year!

~Nathanael~

Jennifer Knapp at Roscoe’s (recap)

    Last night I had the opportunity to hear the musician Jennifer Knapp speak and sing at Roscoe’s in Chicago. I’ve listened to her music for the past 15 years and finally I was given an opportunity to hear her perform. Tho recent and not new news about Jennifer is that she’s a lesbian, to which I briefly blocked her partner from moving (accidentally mind you). Jennifer is as articulate a speaker as well as a musician, it was truly a blessing to hear her stories, she puts it out there and she’s real and quite intentional. 🙂

I love a good story, I really do, and I think at times that is lacking in our Western culture, if we were an oral tradition culture maybe we’d retain the magic that comes from sharing stories. Apart from story and song time with Jennifer Knapp there was Q&A with Jennifer Knapp, the questions were really really good! If a video of last night’s get-together gets posted online I’ll share the link because it was so good.

Then there was another good part of the night; my mother whom I have been going over the Love is an Orientation DVD and Curriculum with joined me! My mom is on her own path of doing what she can to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community, primarily with some of her gay and lesbian friends, but also attending the local chapter of PFLAG when she can as well. I’m proud of her, not that her path is one where she has made a 180° in her journey, but her willingness to be more like Christ. I say being more like Christ, because Jesus even said that he didn’t come for the “well” but the “sick”, that is the ones in his day and age who were thrown under the bus chariot, in the same way I aspire to be in community with those who have been marginalized and exiled from the community at large but also the Christian community.

She’s making quantum leaps, she is engaging people in conversation, she’s “getting it” more and more…and she enjoyed the get-together last night’s event she can’t wait till the next one! 🙂

In a way I don’t look at it as a case of that you can teach an old dog new tricks, but I see it as God can change the heart and mind of anyone for His glory. If you told me last year that my mom would be joining me in going to a gay bar in Chicago in the heart of the Boys Town district, I’d probably stifle a laugh and run off to somewhere private where I could laugh more…but God’s working on her heart and mind, he’s working on mine as well!

I also think it was a good opportunity for her to put in-real-life faces with Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation, people whom I love so very much, people I love being around and just BEing as well as DOing. She also got to meet one of the men who is in the DVD series, which she was kinda unabashedly acknowledging how handsome he was, “even more than in the DVD series” haha, you know who you are D*! 🙂

Here’s to the continual process of building bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community,
Here’s to Jennifer Knapp and her partner,
Here’s to God constantly performing heart and mind surgery,
Here’s to God’s faithfulness and love for all of humanity,

and here’s to the next opportunity my mom and I have to go to one of the Living in the Tension events!

~Nathanael~

11/31 – Something about me people seem to compliment

Something about me people seem to compliment

People tend to compliment me on my active listening skills, that is listening to what someone has to say and engaging them based on what they had to say. I don’t listen solely to do this but over the years that it is important to listen, to remember names, to engage in dialogue and do what I can to remember a person’s story.

Everyone has a story, now whether they think their feel like sharing their story it’s up to them…but I actively listen, because people matter, people’s personal narrative of where they’ve been and what has shaped their lives is also important.

I am doing what I can to judge less and actively listen more, because some times I start writing off someone because…well there are many reasons, but they’re not right reasons and I guess I get convicted by the Holy Spirit to not judge and just be with that individual and listen. God has also given me the lack of fear (for lack of better words) to engage strangers in dialogue, doesn’t always mean that they’ll talk to me but there are times that they will.
I like going to Chicago, to which I’ll be going there next Thursday with my bro Mark, and one thing I like doing is going to Millennium Park/”The Bean” because there are always a lot of people checking it out, photographing themselves, and enjoying nice weather when the weather is nice…but I primarily like it because it gives me time to engage strangers in conversation, and when people start talking and there’s a conversation, the “stranger” label drops and you find commonalities with the person you’ve just met…this isn’t everyone’s forte but I try to make it mine, I mean, what do I have to lose asking a person how their day is going and then some? 🙂

Like I mentioned previously, people matter, and I guess that’s my motivation to love on them in the simplest of ways by active listening to their stories.

~Nathanael~