Saturday, November 27, 2010

Love's Final Victory

If supreme power lies on the side of supreme love, then none of us [my emphasis], whether Christian, Muslim, or atheist, need fear that the One who loved us into existence in the first place might wantonly abandon us in the end. Nor need we worry that an honest mistake in theology will somehow jeopardize our future. For if a perfectly loving Creator does exist, then he knows us from the inside out far better than we know ourselves; he appreciates the ambiguities, the confusions, and the perplexities we face far better than we do; and he understands the historical and cultural factors that shape our beliefs far better than any historian does. Such a Creator--so loving, intimate, and wise--would know how to work with us in infinitely complex ways, how to shatter our illusions and transform our thinking when necessary, and how best to reveal himself to us in the end.

For though our present choices cannot alter our final destiny, they most assuredly can affect our chances for happiness in the present and in the near term future; and though our glorious inheritance cannot elude us forever, it most assuredly can elude us for a lifetime, or perhaps even several lifetimes. So our choices do have very real consequences in our lives; indeed, these consequences are one of the means by which God will transform us in the end and thereby secure our final destiny. When we finally weary of our own selfishness, petty jealousies, and lust for power; when we learn at last, perhaps through bitter experience, that these lead only to ruin and cannot bring enduring happiness, that nothing short of union with God and reconciliation with others will satisfy our deepest yearnings; when we discover that the Hound of Heaven has finally closed off every alternative to such a union, we shall then, each of us, finally embrace the destiny that is ours.

Thomas Talbott, The Inescapable Love of God (Universal Publishers: USA, 1999), p. 218.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I just finished reading The Commitment by Dan Savage. It's a humorous memoir that chronicles Dan and his partner Terry's decision to marry, or not to marry, taking into account the strong opinions of their six year-old son, D.J.

I've thought about gay marriage quite a bit recently because it's in the news and because Joe Solmonese frequents my inbox with persuasive emails about how I should be a better gay. I have always considered myself to be a traditional gay man. That is, I envisioned myself falling in love with the man of my dreams, getting married, and then adopting 2-4 children. I believe that we deserve equal rights, including the right to marry. Anything less is injustice.

But Savage makes this point:

"We also weren't sure we were prepared to sacrifice the one thing gay relationships have always had over straight relationships: their quiet dignity. Straight couples that want their relationships to be taken seriously have always had to jump through the marital hoop, but not gay couples...Unlike heterosexuals, we had to do the hard work of building a life together in order to be taken seriously, something we did without any legal entanglements or incentives...when our relationships were taken seriously it was by virtue of their duration..."

I had never thought about the issue this way before. Savage is right. There is a quiet dignity about lasting same-sex relationships. That is evident in the couples I know from church and elsewhere.

I'm pretty sure I still want to be married someday (and not some dumbed-down version, like civil unions). But I'm only pretty sure. I'm not certain.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


About a month ago, I started working the night shift in the ICU. I did nights in New York, but started working days when I moved to Austin. A change in jobs was necessary, so I left my 8a-4:30p, M-F job and got this new gig in ICU. The job is busy/stress-filled if anything, but that's another post for another time.

Switching to the night shift has brought back a flood of old patterns. It takes me right back to living in New York and working my nights in ICU there. You see, working the night shift wreaks havoc on the sleep-wake cycle. Even on my nights off, my sleep schedule is messed up and so I'm up most of the night, wishing I was asleep like Abel and the dogs. I've taken to sleeping by myself so my tossing and turning and book-light won't disturb the rest of the house. Laying alone in my bed, staring at the ceiling, I feel exactly like I used to in New York. It's eerily familiar.

When I was living in Queens, on nights that I couldn't sleep I would read or watch TV til about 5am, then walk to the diner near my house and enjoy breakfast with the construction workers and delivery drivers. The diner was teeming with life at 5am.

So this morning, I decided to re-instate my diner tradition. I made the fifteen minute drive (not fifteen minute walk) to the 24 diner in search of waffles and eggs and a cup of decaf. To my surprise, there was one other person in the diner. One! And he was a (gay!) student who was immersed in his omelette and textbooks. Not hardly the construction worker-type I anticipated

The upside of being awake all night, if there is one, is that I have more time to read, contemplate, and reminisce. And time to think about blogging again. Here's to all of that, and to finding a prescription for Ambien.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Thoughts on God(s)

I've been thinking a lot lately about the enormity of the universe. I mean, one million Earths could fit inside the sun. One million! That's how small we are. Earth lies 91.4 million miles from the sun. Think on that. The planets are tens of millions of miles apart from each other. And that's just our known solar system. Who knows what else is out there in the universe? There's got to be other stuff; other life.

I think that when we were taught that God is the God of the universe, they were actually meaning he was the God of Earth. Right? All we learn about the existence of God is from the Bible, written by human beings, who lived on Earth. And they didn't live here all that long ago, considering how long Earth has been around. The story of Jesus is compelling. But again, it's the story of a man, who lived on Earth. Nowhere else. And this guy Jesus is God's only son? His only progeny? That seems unlikely if God is so big and is god of the entire universe.

If there are other forms of (intelligent) life somewhere in the cosmos, who is the god of them? Is it our God? And what about their salvation? Could our God have other sons (or daughters) who are tied up in the salvation of other intelligent life? Or are their other gods who are omnipresent over other parts of the solar system?

What I'm saying is that it's not all as simple as I've been lead to believe. I say my prayers, but I confess when I say them that I don't know where God is and if he is only the god of Earth or the whole universe or what?

I hear people say that God knows no bounds and is everywhere and isn't confined to time and space. I guess. I've never doubted how big God is until recently. Is it possible that the whole universe is too big, too immense, for just one god? I'm wondering...

Going on, what is heaven? And who is it for? For human beings on planet Earth? Or for all forms of intelligent life (capable of reason) who inherit salvation? Or is it something mentioned in the Bible, a human book of faith, to give us hope for something after we die?

I don't know, folks. I just don't know. I'll still keep saying prayers and going to church on occassion, but I've got some serious questions. Let me know if you've got answers.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Since I've moved to Austin, when I make it to church, I go to University Baptist Church. It's a lovely, open and affirming community of faith. A couple of weeks ago, Abel, Casey, Michael and me were fortunate to attend an interfaith pride service at UBC. I intended to blog about it, but Casey is more eloquent than I, so I encourage you to read her post about the service.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear New York,

Dear New York,

As I prepare to leave ye for the Lone Star State, an expression of my gratitude is in order.

When I arrived in a Penske moving truck some six and a half years ago, you welcomed me, as you welcome every other twenty-something who wants a piece of the NYC life. My time with you has been valuable. I will leave your five boroughs a changed man. Thank you...

  • Thank you for showing me that diversity is essential.
  • Thank you for toughening my skin. I curse more than I used to.
  • Thank you for teaching me a new meaning of the word "fresh". I am fresh.
  • Thank you for showing me that people of God do not look a particular way or seek you in a particular place.
  • Thank you for providing an atmosphere where I can understand who I wholly am.
  • Thank you for introducing me to learned, compassionate friends.
  • Thank you for CCfB (see previous two thank yous).
  • Thank you for Manhattan Church.
  • Thank you for Praise Team.
  • Thank you for your nurses, doctors, and hospital staff who have shown me how to care for the sick.
  • Thank you for Calvary.
  • Thank you for Bellevue.
  • Thank you for 24-hour bodegas.
  • Thank you for Nectar Coffe Shop.
  • Thank you for Paul, Casey, Caleb, Jeremy, Shaun, Seth, LeRoy, Jeff, and Tulio who provided companionship as roommates and taught me things about life.
  • Thank you for Chelsea. Next to Disneyworld, it's the happiest place on Earth.
  • Thank you for Brooklyn, and then Queens.
  • Thank you for weekend trips.
  • Thank you for the Chrysler Building and the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Thank you for the good people at Dunkin' Donuts on 28th and 3rd.
  • Thank you for oxtail, spinach pie, perogies, and Brooklyn Lager, which I had never tried before we met.
  • Thank you for Broadway.

To the people who I have known and loved here, I hope to see you down the road.

To my family who I have been away from for the last seven years, I'm coming home. See you soon for dinner.