Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Contemplating Death

Hey everyone, I've been a bit shaken up today after my partner came home and told me that she almost died in a traffic accident last night. Construction had traffic stopped on the interstate around 10 p.m. last night when a tractor-trailer crested the hill at a high rate of speed heading right for my partner's car. She said the truck slammed on his brakes and fish-tailed down the hill before finally coming to a stop off the road right beside her car.

I held her a little tighter after she told me this - terrified that my night could have been very different with police showing up at my door instead of my love.

I've had trouble letting it go today, running the scene over and over in my head of how devastated I would be today if that trucker had been unable to avoid a collision. Surely she would have died or been seriously injured.

I've said before I'm not afraid to die and I still think that about myself - but what of those I love? I realize I'm terrified of them dying - especially my partner. Not just because my life would be devastated without her, but because of the legal fights that could possibly follow despite our wills, powers of attorney or body disposition papers.

How do you all cope? Have you lost loved ones before?

My partner watched her husband die a few years back and still misses the man she considered her best friend (even though she knew all along she was a lesbian - she still loved him a great deal). I just don't know how I would go on if my partner died suddenly.

Not to be a downer, but this has just been bugging me all day. I can't wait to get home tonight and hug her again and again and again. All we have is the present moment and I want to make all of them with her very special so I don't regret anything if the unthinkable should occur.

Love now, friends, because it's the only time we have to do it.

Hope I die before I get old ... um ...

Well, I don't think this is what Pete Townshend had it mind when he wrote My Generation, but then I remember, Pete could be one of the geezers in this video. It's a hoot. Check the old lady doing the Pete windmill and oh, the destruction at the end!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's Log!

Here's a blast from the past. I don't know why, but this song was in my head this morning, so I had to go out and find it.

It's log,
It's log,
It's big, it's heavy, it's wood!

Everyone loves a log ...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Sermon

To celebrate Earth Day, I would like to reprise my sermon entitled: Becoming Hafta Farmers

An excerpt:

The Earth is alive, and like any live thing it needs care and tending for it to grow and thrive. We human beings have been falling down on the job - and mainly because we don't truly understand our job. I was taught that human beings have "dominion" over the earth - and when we say "dominion" we mean that we have ultimate power over what happens on the earth. That means we can bend nature to our will through clear cutting forests if we want to - it doesn't matter if we destroy habitats of rare species. We have dominion. That means we can pollute the air just as much as we want to. It doesn't matter that we're raising the temperature of the planet. It doesn't matter that we're polluting at such a pace that we're poisoning ourselves. We have dominion! And besides this isn't our home anyway - we have our true home in heaven. And at this pace we'll see it fairly soon!

Read the whole thing!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pre-order your copy of Bulletproof Faith today!

Hey everyone, my new book Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians is now available for pre-order. It comes out in mid-September, but it's never too soon to get those orders in.

As GLBT people of faith, we are constantly under assault. Whether we hear "Love the sinner, hate the sin" or it's equivalent, "God Hates Fags!" we are told both in church and society that we are somehow inferior. How can we defend the hope that is within us without losing our cool?

My book helps our community reclaim the spiritual self that criticism from society and religion has led many of us to surrender. Instead of focusing on apologetics or giving advice on how to better debate our opponents, this book is a guide on being Christian and gay - not by having the best apologetic or proof-text but by shoring up the inner life and one's self-esteem as one who is loved by God regardless of what others have to say on the subject. Bulletproof Faith empowers readers to withstand even the most aggressive assaults without fear, doubt, or anger.

Here's what Archbishop Desmond Tutu had to say about the book:

"Gay and lesbian Christians are constantly demoralized and told they are not children of God. In Bulletproof Faith, Chellew-Hodge reassures gays and lesbians that God loves them just as they were created and teaches them how to stand strong, with compassion and gentleness, against those who condemn them."

Amazon is running a discount for those who pre-order the book. It's due out in September from Jossey-Bass. Use this link to order and Whosoever will get a little kickback from Amazon.

It's not too early to start planning for a tour to support the release of the book.

I've already set up a reading and book signing in Knoxville, Tennessee for the weekend of October 18-19, thanks to Rev. Ray Neal at MCC Knoxville. I'll be doing a workshop, book signing and preaching that Sunday. I hope you'll join us there.

If you're not close to Knoxville and want me to come to your area, please contact me at so we can begin making arrangements now. The cost is simply travel expenses and lodging (I'm always willing to stay with host families to save costs) and a love offering for Whosoever taken up during the workshop or during Sunday service.

Let's spread the word that God's unconditional love covers us all, regardless of sexual orientation. This is Good News that our community is still very hungry to hear.

I look forward to hearing from you and visiting your area soon!

Now, go - pre-order!

Friday, April 11, 2008

New Language, Same Message

It was pointed out to me that Desmond Tutu may be behind the curve in apologizing to gay and lesbian people. (The suggestion was tongue-in-cheek, but let's explore it anyway.) A couple of weeks ago the pastor of a Baptist church in a town where I spent a few years as a child, Sugar Hill, Georgia (about 40 miles north of Atlanta), used his sermon to apologize to everyone from gays and lesbians to pro-choicers.

You can hear the full sermon here, after fast forwarding through some garish praise music:

While I applaud the change in tone at the Sugar Hill church, it's clear that their message is the same - gay and lesbian people are sinners who need to repent. This kind of talk from churches is a direct result of the Barna Group research I posted yesterday in the Tutu post. Younger people see the church as homophobic and judgmental. This pastor is doing his best to change the face of evangelical Christians. Good for him.

However, don't be drawn by the sweet words - the underlying message remains the same: God hates fags. I suspect (and please, I'd love to be wrong) that an openly gay couple would still not be welcome in this church and not accepted as a couple. They would love the sinners, but still encourage them to turn from their "sin."

Desmond Tutu, on the other hand, has made a bold and courageous move, not just to change the tone used against GLBT people, but the message as well. Tutu has said before that if God is homophobic, he would not worship that God. For Tutu, God's acceptance of gay and lesbian people *just as they are* is a given. For the church in Sugar Hill? Not so much.

It's nice to hear a softer tone from the evangelicals, but don't be fooled. They haven't changed their stripes. Meet the new evangelicals, same as the old evangelicals.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tutu to Church: Focus on Real Problems

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is an amazing man. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him while I attended seminary and he was a guest lecturer at Emory's Candler School of Theology. What a gracious and gentle soul.

It comes as no shock to me that he is a staunch support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. In San Francisco, CA, last night, Tutu apologized to GLBT people on behalf of the church:

In his 30-minute address, Archbishop Tutu said that for his part it was impossible to keep quiet “when people were frequently hounded...vilified, molested and even killed as targets of homophobia...for something they did not choose—their sexual orientation.” In the face of this ongoing persecution, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient praised LGBTI people for being “compassionate, caring, self-sacrificing and refusing to be embittered.” He spoke critically of his Church, apologizing for the way it has ostracized LGBTI people, and for making them feel as if God had made a mistake by creating them to be who they are. “How sad it is,” he said, “That the Church should be so obsessed with this particular issue of human sexuality when God's children are facing massive problems--poverty, disease, corruption, conflict...”

That's the true message to the church - stop obsessing about the sex lives of some human beings on the planet and start worrying about the things that affect all of us. The church is so like society - always ready to pounce on the seemingly salacious and treat it like a dog treats a bone. Sex sells and sadly, the church believes it can only get people's attention by focusing on someone else's sexuality. The church, thanks to Augustine, has never really had a good, honest, cleansing talk about sexuality, so it remains something whispered about, speculated about and demeaned as "dirty" somehow. But, with humans, if it's dirty, then we're extremely interested in hearing about it, dreaming about it, and as Tutu rightly points out, obsessing about it.

It's a shame that the church believes it can only be relevant in the lives of people by titillating them with tales of sex or creating an "us" v. "them" mentality when it comes to GLBT people. The reason the church is falling into irrelevance is just this obsession with sex and condemnation. If the church truly cared about the predicament of humankind and really sought to bring about God's realm in this world it would be hard a work like Tutu, focusing on poverty, disease, corruption, conflict and more.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Christian: Born that Way?

Gay scientists discover the "Christianity gene." Another mystery solved.