Today's Mighty Oak


Currently, it’s storming, and I’m doing what I can to ignore the thunder and lightning.  This was one of those days where I didn’t have anything planned and so it became just a super busy day running all over the place.  Had the weather cooperated, I had hoped to spend an evening on the deck, and while the storm system should pass, it’s ridiculously hot today, so I’ll most likely be staying inside.

However, I will make mention of one of the stops today, on my way to a friend’s, I swung by my local bar since they opened early for the World Cup final!

The outside patio was packed as well.  For how early in the day it was, it was great to see such a big turnout of people into the game.  The crowd seemed split between France and Croatia (I was rooting for France since a friend moved to Paris and they have better LGBT rights than Croatia), but all in all, just a neat way to spend some time, especially with how small soccer’s fandom is here in the states as compared to the big four.

A few more things here, then back to the grind for the week.  Hoping to try out some new gyms since mine will be closing, so hopefully I can find a new home!



This week was the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.  Every three years, a bicameral legislative body (House of Bishops and House of Deputies, made up of priests and laypeople) get together and make decisions about the church.  This year, aside from big news about the diocese of Cuba (we welcomed them fully into the church, yay!), there was also forward movement about same sex matrimony.

Basically, even though we’ve had provisional rites for same-sex matrimony (written by my now retired Rector), Bishops were able to refuse them to be performed in their diocese and they were basically in a ‘trail period.’

Now, the wheel of the church grind slowly, but this week at the General Convention, things at least started to move:

This sets the stage for creation of new liturgical texts to respond to the needs of Episcopalians across the church while continuing to use the Book of Common Prayer that was adopted in 1979.

Resolution A068 originally called for the start of a process that would lead to a fully revised prayer book in 2030. The bishops instead adopted a plan for “liturgical and prayer book revision for the future of God’s mission through the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.”

The bishops’ amended resolution calls for bishops to engage worshipping communities in their dioceses in experimentation and creation of alternative liturgical texts that they will submit to a new Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision to be appointed by the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.

It also says that liturgical revision will utilize inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity, and will incorporate understanding, appreciation and care of God’s creation.

One line in the bishop’s proposal prompted questions in the House of Deputies. The resolution “memorializes” the 1979 Book of Common Prayer “as a prayer book of the church preserving the psalter, liturgies, the Lambeth Quadrilateral, Historic Documents, and [its] Trinitarian Formularies.”

Here’s some more of the nitty gritty of what will actually happen:

The resolution now calls for creation of a Task Force on Liturgical Prayer Book Revision to be made up of 10 lay people, 10 clergy and 10 bishops, appointed by the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies. The members ought to reflect “the expertise, gender, age, theology, regional, and ethnic diversity of the church.”

This task force is to work with the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons to give the 2021 General Convention proposed revisions to the constitution and canons for more flexibility in liturgical choices.

  • Liturgical revision will utilize inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity; and will incorporate understanding, appreciation and care of God’s creation;
  • Bishops are to engage worshiping communities in their diocese in experimentation and creation of alternative texts;
  • Every diocese is to create a liturgical commission to collect these diocesan resources and share with the proposed task force; and
  • All materials are to be professionally translated into English, Spanish, French and Haitian Creole.

So things are starting to move, and it was a compromise.  Bishops themselves can opt out of the same-sex matrimony, but any person will be able to call upon a different bishop for ‘oversight,’ finally opening this sacrament to every single person in the church.

It’s also slow going, but as someone pointed out, when the next version of the Book of Common Prayer comes out (slated for 2030), which is pretty much the defining document of our church (and also responsible for what most people think of when they think of the church for the wording used in marriages and funerals), it may (hopefully will) include the more gender neutral language.  It’s a long process, but it’s progress.

Interestingly, there was a separate Resolution that provide an apology for those who were hurt by the wording of a hymn that was included:

offers this apology in recognition of the pain our liturgical language may at times inflict.

The same could, and should be said of sacraments that for decades, excluded the same sex couples in the church.  But, progress is progress, and we’re making good, forward progress, even if it’s not as quickly that I’d like.  It’s more progress than I actually expected to see, for that, I can be thankful.

All my best,

Mike



Yesterday it was announced that the magazine/journal “Hello Mr.” will publish one final issue before shuttering their doors.

Over and over again, through six years and their soon to be published tenth issue, “Hello Mr.” provided the widest breadth of queer writers and I was always impressed with the quality of the writing.  Combine that with innovative photo spreads and entertaining layout, and it was always something I looked forward to.

From their announcement:

From the start, Hello Mr. was a space to understand each other better through a deeper understanding of ourselves. But I was determined to create something bigger than that. With the support and validation from this community, we built a platform to showcase new stories on a global stage. We may not have “rebranded gay,” but we exposed some flaws in the existing models, and opened the door for queer people to demand more, by showing them how.

Whether you contributed or consumed it, the content we produced, issue after issue, amounted to something truly powerful. I can’t thank you enough for believing in it unconditionally. The world we live in today is a very different place than the one that originally afforded me the space to subvert gay media through a branding exercise. “Marriage can wait” meant something different in 2012 than it does now. After six dedicated years pushing our queer stories forward, I’ve learned a few things about my place in this conversation. When I came out a decade ago, for instance, I could have never imagined that my visibility, the thing I feared most, would become such a powerful form of activism.

It’s certainly a sad day, but also a time to look back on what they were able to produce an where we are now as compared to 2012.  The world has changed, and the world continues to change.  I’m happy to have been along for the ride as a dedicated reader.

Looking back helps move us forward. Decades of various kinds of activism paved a way for me to make the most of the chance I was given. Now, it’s up to you to continue defining the future you want to live in. You already know what’s possible, so trust yourself and manifest that shit already! I’ll be seeing you.

Back issues are available at hellomrmag.com, I’d suggest anyone looking for some amazing writing to check it out.

All my best,

Mike



Yesterday’s writing was the podcast page, if you haven’t noticed, I finally go that up and running!

So, reading through all the news that came across my feed today, the world is a mess.  More than normal.  That probably won’t change in the near future.  So instead today, I’m just going to leave you with something to make you happy.  A youtuber who I love put together this amazing medley of music from Super Mario.  This is also a great reminder how astonishingly beautiful the music from Super Mario Galaxy is:

 



We’re a third of the way through the month already!  I’ve been enjoying writing every day, and really enjoyed the more free-form blogging over the weekend (as well as the time to work on the site a bit), so I’m certainly glad I’m doing this.  However, if other NaNoWriMo projects are any indication, this is where it starts to get hard!

Anyway, first up today, it’s illegal for the Pride flag to be displayed in Russia.  But these World Cup fans have found a way around that!

The Governor of Maine has vetoed a ban on gay ‘conversion therapy torture.’  No word on if the state legislature will overrule him.

Various LGBT groups have come together to help stop the SCOTUS pick.  If he’s confirmed, we will most likely lose any kind of discrimination protection and will probably lose marriage equality as well (in addition to legal and safe abortion, contraception, voting rights and the list goes on and on).

The trailer for OITNB has arrived:

 



Let’s take a moment and talk local politics.

Last month, an East Pittsburgh police officer shot and killed (and thankfully is being charged, although we’ll see what comes of that) an unarmed 17 year old boy.  Since then, protests have rocked the area (I’ve been detoured many times due to said protests, and honestly, that minor inconvenience is nothing compared to a parent waking up without their son, so I’ll deal).

In the wake of this, a challenger decided to run against the sitting District Attorney.  This is great news, our current DA has a less than stellar record with charging police for crimes.  But as it turns out, the person running thinks that being queer is a sin.  His half-hearted apology does nothing to change the fact that if he were to be the DA, he would be viewing a large class of citizens as ‘sinful’ and would treat us differently.

DA’s are really important (and as a quick side note, I like to think that since the Batman Begins trilogy, we understand the role of a DA better.  Or maybe the over abundance of Law and Order’s.  Either way, I’m glad that we as a society at least better understand what kind of a role the DA plays and how important they are), and we need to make sure that who we elect treats everyone equally under the law.

While we’re talking about politics: are you registered to vote?  Seriously, you have to vote.

When women, queers, POC, immigrants, religious and economic minorities urged you to vote for Hillary because our lives depended on it, you could hide behind your privilege. Are you listening to us now?

Click here to register to vote, and do it now!



I’ll do another ‘blog’ type of writing today, perhaps that is what my weekend writing will become (this month is all about getting in the writing habit and see what I like and what I don’t, so why not experiment a bit).

This morning got up and ran a beautiful (although maybe slightly pollen filled) run through Schenley Park before heading to yoga at Phipps.  After that, four of us went to the Pirates pride game!

Two of us hit up the tailgate party beforehand, which included a donation drive for a new homeless shelter for queer youth.  While we only make up about 4-10 percent of the population (numbers vary), queer youth are 40% of homeless youth on the street, because they are thrown out of their homes simply for how they were born.  I was hoping to see the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence there, as they’re doing a ton of work for Proud Haven, but I’m sure they need a break, so I hope they could enjoy the game outside of face!

The game was fun (I got wings, saw the pierogie race), and we even won!  Headed to Local afterwards to grab a drink and let the traffic die down…and then we got lost in the parking garage, so that was a fun adventure!  Check out the photos from the day here.

Back to the grind tomorrow, and it’s shaping up to be a very busy week!



My goal for Camp NaNoWriMo has been to get back into the habit of writing each day.  I’m sure it won’t be something I will keep up in August and September, as I’ll be putting in more miles to train for the GAP Trail Relay, but not only do I love NaNoWriMo, I also love the people I’m sharing a virtual cabin with for camp.

So far this month, I’ve been able to get just about caught up on my RSS feeds, have done some neglected work on my website (although still have lots to go, but the month is young!) and generally enjoyed getting back into this habit.

Today, while I had plans to wake up early and go running, my body had other ideas.  And that’s okay, when I did wake up, even though the temperature was great, I had no desire to drive to the park to go run long. So hopefully tomorrow I’ll go early to yoga and get a loop or two in before stretching (and then going to the Pittsburgh Pirates Pride game).

So instead, I was super productive around the house today.  Lots of laundry, brewing beer, some baking, weeding and some great self care: right now I’m sitting on my deck, enjoying the beautiful weather and clear blue sky, sitting under my new deck umbrella with an iced coffee and listening to some podcasts on a little bluetooth speaker.  Really, just a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

And writing this has been fun, a ltitle different than my normal writing: an actual blog!  I’ll be walking down the street to a friend’s for game night later, but for now, enjoying this space is exactly want I want to be doing.

Edit: Still working on a good way to add posts from my phone (with pictures), but I’ll keep working on that this month!  Hopefully you enjoy the view from my deck though!



A short one today, dare I say that I’m just about caught up (on one source of blogging)!

First up, some karma: three lions killed rhino poachers.

New York has unveiled the first of a series of LGBT monuments that will be going up around the city.  I’m hoping to see some of them when I’m there in December if I have time!

Currently the only gay male athlete in the five major sports, Collin Martin, got a standing ovation for his entrance into his first game since coming out publicly.

And finally, this amazing quote from one of the survivors of the shooting at the Capital Gazette:

I don’t know what I want right now but I’m gonna need more than a couple days of news coverage and thoughts and prayers. Thanks for your prayers but I couldn’t give a f*ck about them if there’s nothing else,” she told the unfazed CNN host.



Today I took some time and did a little bit of writing and a lot of cleanup on my portfolio here on the site.  I still need to go through and add quite a bit, but at least what I had (months ago) migrated over from my old Joomla site, are now in working order.

The catalyst for finally doing some work on this is that I’d like to do some volunteer work with an amazing organization called Get Her Elected.  They team up with progressive, female candidates around the country and help find pro bono work for them: everything from simple data entry and using online text banking tools, to policy analysis, graphic and web design and coaching on fundraising and volunteer recruitment.

I figured I’d like to throw my hat in the ring in the future, so I better get my online presence a little bit beefed up, plus, it’s something I’ve been neglecting for a while, so this is a great excuse to get things where I’d rather they be.

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