Thursday, December 27, 2007
Polls-R-Us: A poll here, a poll there, a poll everywhere...Those damn polls that keep asking us stuff. Yes, this forum was on the poll bandwagon this year and if you participated wonderful. If not, well we needed your imput. In our last outing, I wanted to discern what the readers wanted from this forum and if we were providing it. Bless those few souls who took the time to speak there two cents by telling me that our coverage is basically, "thank you,very much," doing a bull's eye for those who subcribe or click in. I was pleasantly surprised, but appreciated knowing that the many hours it takes to produce this weblog is resonating across the board. As usual, I implore you dear readers to share your thoughts with our next poll, or suggest a poll question to us.
Admiring Who?: According the latest USA Today/ Gallup poll of the most admired folks in the land, believe it or not, Hillary Clinton comes out on top along side President Bush. For the record, I was not among the those polled and I would really like to know how this random method is done. Neverthless, the list is populated by talk queen, Ms. O. Winfrey, Billy Graham, Barack Obama, Al Gore, Queen Elizabeth, Mike Huckabee, Angelia Jolie and a host of other notables. Who did you admire for 2007? Share it with us and we will post some of the findings in 08.
Calling Out the Dirty Laundry: I wanted to share this Editoral from our online partner, KuttingEdge composed by Doug S. Cooper. I found it quite interesting and thought provoking about another religious faction that is causing a stir in the land. I'm not sure if this movie is slated to show in the area, but we will be highlighting the variety of issues at the intersection of religion and gayness.
Over the last couple of decades Dr. Bobby Jones’ name has become synonymous with black gospel music and its terrible reputation as an incubator of homosexuality.” ~ Gay Christian Movement Watch
Well there you have it. Dr. Bobby Jones is being called on the carpet by some Christians for his appearance in the movie, ‘Dirty Laundry’. The group, Gay Christian Movement Watch, is calling on Christians to boycott Bobby Jones (pictured) for appearing in a movie that affirms a gay lifestyle (even though the movie is really about a black family learning to love each other in spite of their many differences). But not only is Bobby Jones on notice, black gospel music as a whole is being called down front.
Now I don’t know too much about Bobby Jones. But from what I’ve gathered from friends and from reading about him, he does seem to take an affirming stand when it comes to embracing gays and lesbians, and this bothers some. However, Dr. Bobby Jones is not the only black minister who has taken such a stand. Michael Eric Dyson, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Joe Lowery, Desmond Tutu, Peter Gomes, Carlton Pearson, Calvin Butts, and the list goes on, are all black ministers who hold a view of God that is affirming of homosexuals. There is even an annual conference addressing homophobia in the black church that has been attended by some of these ministers. It’s called The Black Church Summit.
But what perplexes me about this whole mess is:
1). Why is the Gay Christian Movement Watch so disturbed by gays and lesbians being viewed in a positive light? As a gay man, living my life really should have no residual effect on them unless they allow the mess that they-- or others before them-- conjured in their own heads to vex them; and 2). Why would people who profess the love of their religious founder, Jesus the Christ, have problems with people like Bobby Jones, who seeks to live the love Jesus set forth?
If I recall, Love is supposed to be the ultimate task we’ve been given to endure on this earth. Therefore, it would seem odd to fight against those who teach love and understanding simply for the sake of disrupting and destroying the lives of those who pose no threat, but do not share your belief.In the end, all of this leads me to wonder whose sin is this really?
Coming up, Our final post for 2007 will feature a recap of snapshots of the last 12 months. Please stay in the loop with a subscription or make us a favorite. Stay locked in for 2008, it's going to be a doosey! Tell everybody you know!!!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Go to your County Clerk’s Office no later than close of business on January 7 to ensure that you will be able to cast your vote in the primary on Tuesday, February 5, 2008.
To find the address and phone number for your County Clerk, go to http://www.arcounties.org/counties.
Join us for an Iowa Caucus Watch Party with call-in reports via speaker phone from national political pundits, journalists and representatives from the campaigns of leading candidates in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Arkansas figures to be a major storyline in Iowa with former Governor Mike Huckabee and former First Lady, now New York Senator Hillary Clinton, leading the pack in each party. TVs will be tuned to the major news networks as caucus results come in, and Clinton School student James Mitchell will be on the ground in Iowa, giving live reports and providing election night commentary on the Clinton School Blog.
When: Thursday, January 3, 2008
*Reserve your seats by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 501.683.5239.
The primary goal of NBHAAD is to motivate African Americans to get tested and know their HIV status; get educated about the transmission modes of HIV/AIDS; get involved in their local community; and get treated if they are currently living with HIV or are newly diagnosed.
NBHAAD dates back to 1999, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) funded five national non-profit organizations known then as the Community Capacity Building Coalition (CCBC). On February 23, 2001, the CCBC organized the first annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The date was changed to February 7 the following year (2002) and is now recognized on February 7th of each year.Today, there are seven organizations that work in partnership with the CDC to ensure the success of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Alliances for Quality Education; Healthy Black Communities, Inc.; Jackson State University - Mississippi Urban Research Center; My Brother's Keeper, Inc.; National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors; National Black Alcoholism & Addictions Council; and National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.
It is hoped that NBHAAD will continue to build the capacity of community based organizations (CBOs) as well as community stake holders to increase awareness, prevent HIV and get those who need treatment into care. Back to Top
Currently, NBHAAD is directed, planned and organized by a group known as the Strategic Leadership Council who partners with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mobilize communities and address specific issues in regards to local epidemics and best practices that are science based and will influence the course of HIV in Black communities across the country.
Initially, the founding body held quarterly meetings to discuss activities, trainings, and/or events that each organization was doing around the country. The concept was to have a day to recognize the devastation of HIV/AIDS and to promote testing, education and involvement within African-American communities.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Yeah I said it: On Meet The Press, Rudy Giuliani (pictured) was asked if he agreed with Mike Huckabee that homosexuality was an "aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle" Giuliani: "No, I don’t believe it’s sinful. My moral views on this come from the Catholic Church. I believe that homosexuality, heterosexuality, as a way of somebody leads their life isn’t sinful. It’s the acts—it’s the various acts that people perform that are sinful, not the orientation that they have.”
HOLY FIRE Crotches!: It seems that James Stabile,(pictured) has decided that his "puirty seige" by fire which allegedly cured him of his homosexuality has decided it was his lack of meds for his bipolar condition and a few drinks that caused him to loose his desire for men. Back in November, Stabile told Pat Robertson's outfit, The 700 Club of his experience with local evangelist slash "fire thrower," Joe Oden outside a Dallas nightclub, who said,"He just barely touched me, and he said, ‘Fire!’ And I remember staggering backward, and I thought I was, like, tripping on acid,...” “It was the weirdest thing ever. … I didn’t feel the desire to be with men like I had felt before.”But once this so-called miracle had been performed, Mr. Stabile was whisked away to Pure Life Ministries in Kentucky where he was to be further emancipated and reprogrammed after paying his $2100.00 entry fee plus another $150.00 weekly. However, "camp straight" didn't work out and Stabile is back over the rainbow at home with his parents, Rev. J. Stabile and wife Suzanne. The folks at The 700 Club have "no comment," and Pure Life Residential Center didn't return any of the "fees." I guess it was a case of mission impossible on Cedar Springs.
Deposit Slip, Please: Dr. Ron Paul ain't afraid to say it's allabout the benjamins , baby! His one day 6 Million dollar haul may also have included a nefarious $500.00 contribution from Don Black, leader of Stormfront, a white supremecist group. Sources have quoted a spokesman for Paul saying, "If someone with small ideologies happens to contribute money to Ron, thinking he can influence Ron in any way, he's wasted his money. Ron is going to take the money and try to spread the message of freedom." I guess his campagin needs all the cash they can get to keep that Blimp floating in Iowa.
Deconstructing MSM: Just when I thought I had heard it all, I realize that there's just going to be more everything about living the life and all that comes with it. Enter this new approach using musing from noted zoologist, researcher and authority,
Desmond Morris, who became a bestselling author by applying zoology to explain human behaviour, has now utilized the techniques to put forward an explanation for homosexuality. In his latest book, The Naked Man, he concludes that men are “made gay” because they retain infantile or juvenile characteristics into adulthood – a phenomenon known as neoteny. According to this theory, gay men also tend to be more inventive and creative than heterosexuals because they are more likely to retain the mental agility and playfulness of childhood. “Gays have in general made a disproportionately greater contribution to life than nongays,” said Morris, who is also a noted artist. “The creative gay has very much advanced Planet Earth.”“The playfulness of childhood is continued with certain people into adulthood. This is very much a positive. Adult playfulness means that certain people, often a fairly large proportion of them gay, are more inventive and curious than heterosexuals.” For the record I'm not endosing his viewpoint, just wanted to offer you something to wrap your mind around. The book will be available in January 08 from bookselling sources for around $48.00.
Here we Grow again: Well, what can I say, we just can't sit still or stay the same. So stay tuned for more changes to our format, updates to our look and more savvy content for the GLBTQ community and beyond. We are looking for serious contributors, artist, musicians, writers, and photographers to join us in delivering Arkansas' best destination for news, video, podcasting, and just plain old stuff. If you've got the goods, then share it with us first. Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Wooden hearts are given out to artists, school children, community activists, and anyone else who would like to participate. If you are interested in donating your talents, we will supply you with the heart and necessary paperwork to get you started.
Then it’s your turn, you can paint it, burn it, weld it, mosaic it, collage it, work in your favorite medium. You can turn it upside down, add things to it or around it, we just need to see the shape somewhere in the piece when you are done.
You can view past samples of corazons created for this event by going to our website: http://www.artisticrevolution.org/ and clicking on CAR Events.
When you have completed your creation, contact us and drop it off at the CAR office located at 800 Scott St., Little Rock (inside the First Presbyterian Church). Deadline for completed work to be back at the CAR office is January 31, 2008.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Politically Speaking: In a previous post I mentioned my letter writing to our Capitol Hill represenatives about the controversial ENDA measure and was seeking others who expressed there sentiments to the body politic. One intrepid reader informed me that he had received a response via a letter on the matter from Rep. Vic Snyder.(D) I appreciated knowing that I wasn't alone and hopefully there were many of you who notified your Rep with your viewpoint not only about this measure but, all legislation that affects us all. I actually had a chance to personally meet with Rep Snyder(pictured) while being escorted by DC Activist Mike on a Capitol Hill Rally concerning AIDS Funding. Mr. Snyder has a notable voting record in legislation related to GLBTQ issues. This letter is unedited except for personal information. Thanks R.R. for keeping it real and of course, Onpoint!
December 13, 2007
Dear Mr. Ramsey:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007.Representative Barney Frank introduced H.R.2015 on April 24, 2007. If passed, this legislation would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Concerns over specific language in this bill prompted Representative Frank to introduce two new bills on September 27, 2007. H.R.3685 prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, while H.R.3686 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Furthermore, H.R.3685 and H.R.3686 have broader religious exemptions than H.R.2015, making this legislation inapplicable to all religious organizations.On November 7, 2007, the House passed H.R.3685 passed the House by a vote of 235 to 184. H.R.3686 is currently in the House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee. It is still unclear if this bill will come before the House during the 110th Congress. Thank you again for contacting me. Your views have been helpful.
Member of Congress
Stonewall Recounts 07: Closing out 2007, the Stonewall Democrats have announced that the group will not meet during December,but will return in January 17 at 6 p.m. with a membership drive and electing new officers. According to a news release the caucus group listed it's accomplishments and goals for 2007. They are as follows:
STONEWALL DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS
Was recognized as a Caucus of the Arkansas Democratic Party
Joined and participated in the grassroots political organization Citizen's First Congress
Hosted an Arkansas Legislative Luncheon, attended by over 30 legislators to meet SDC members
Helped defeat AR SB959 (to ban gay foster parents) by educating legislative and state leaders
helped with voter registration – get out the vote events
held successful fun events:
Annual Yard Sale
Night at Weekend Theater
Presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Aimee Berry for her work to defeat SB959
co-sponsored Capital City PRIDE
Presented a 'Friend of the Community' award to Senator Jim Argue for his work to defeat SB959
Sponsored a full table at the Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
co-sponsored the JCCA CommUNITY Walk
Presented a Holiday donation to the 'Feed the Hungry' in Little Rock
Joined with other organizations to create a coalition to oppose the proposed 2008 ballot initiative to ban 'unmarried cohabitating' foster or adoptive parents in Arkansas
THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES : Umoja (Unity)To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Nia (Purpose)To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kuumba (Creativity)To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Imani (Faith)To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
FOUNDER'S 2007 MESSAGE"Kwanzaa and the Seven Principles : Creating a Shared Good in the World"by Kwanzaa founder Dr. Maulana Karenga The Founder's Welcome
As an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Given the profound significance Kwanzaa has for African Americans and indeed, the world African community, it is imperative that an authoritative source and site be made available to give an accurate and expansive account of its origins, concepts, values, symbols and practice.
Moreover, given the continued rapid growth of Kwanzaa and the parallel expanded discussion of it and related issues, an authoritative source which aids in both framing and informing the discussion is likewise of the greatest importance. Therefore, the central interest of this website is to provide information which reveals and reaffirms the integrity, beauty and expansive meaning of the holiday and thus aids in our approaching it with the depth of thought, dignity, and sense of specialness it deserves.
The holiday, then will of necessity, be engaged as an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people's culture. It is within this understanding, then, that the Organization Us, the founding organization of Kwanzaa and the authoritative keeper of the tradition, has established and maintains this website.
Dr. Maulana KarengaCreator of KwanzaaChair, The Organization UsChair, The National Association of Kawaida Organizations (NAKO)
HAVE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE YET?? IF NOT, WHY NOT...DO IT TODAY! GO TO VOTEPULASKI.NET FOR MORE INFORMATION
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
- Broken Government: Congress has returned from it's turkey day vacation with a plate full of issues that most likely won't be acted upon before there Christmas vacation. Talk about gridlock and do-nothing? I though when the Democrats were ushered into power that stuff was suppose to happen in the first 100 days? Well we're well past that and I'm scratching my head going ,"huh?" To be honest stuff did happen in those first 100 days, lots of the same stuff that was happening before. Such as those dastardly earmarks, partisian bickering, lot's of White House spin and disinformation. Just today we hear that Iran's nuclear capablities were allegedly frozen, some 4 years ago. All the time the decider, President Bush said his World War 3 rhetoric still holds because he was just informed about this new intelligence assessment. You don't say, Mr. Bush.
- Customer Service, Please: "Attention K-Mart, Sears, Target, Wal Mart, and any retail shoppers,... on isle "anywhere" there's no one to help you...that is all." Yeah I said it, poor customer service is simply become the norm in the shopping experience. I see it everyday and everywhere. No smiles, no greetings, no come back and see us, almost no- Can I help you and most certainly, no Thank you's. Here are few nuggets to prove my case. I was in RUE 21 in Alcoa Exchange last week, I walked through most of the store and not once did the clerk stop talking to her friend to ask me if I needed anything. I overheard the female clerk sharing with her friend there plans for the weekend, who they would see and how much fun it was going to be. As I left the store, she was still talking as other customers milled around. At Pei Wei restuarant, the cashier was so "stonefaced" that I though maybe a wok had hit her in the head, not to mention the surly server who "silently" brought our entrees and meandered off in a daze. If you've got a favorite feel free to share it with me. I got a million of em for ya.
- Obssesed Cell phone users: Can you hear me now??, the damn answer is hell yes and everyone else on the planet. Who are these people talking too in the grocery store, toliet, gas station and walking down the street. Have we become so needy to reach out an touch, that we can't stop gabbing about mindless B.S. It seems that the airline industry is tinkering with allowing calls on certain flights. Can you imagine a "talking tube" of people while sitting on the tarmac. As for me, I've reliquished my land line and have gone celluar in my home, meanwhile limiting my yacking publically.
Let's Get the Huckster: It's smackdown time in the political arena and the bulls eye is none other than surging Mike Huckabee. It seems that the honeymoon is over, as the attack pit bulls are sharpening their teeth for some huck ass. From the media pundits to those "swift boat" types, they've all got questions for the former Guv and he's got some splainin to do. Such as that Dummond guy who was released then went on to kill again. How about them AIDS "quarantine" statements?, Did you violate some Arkansas Ethics and had to pay a $1000 fine? Didn't you raise some taxes? You get the picture. Everythings going to be thrown in, including the kitchen sink. Huckabee is talking as fast as he can to anyone who will listen. Including Jeannie White( Ryan White's Mother) about his AIDS education then and now. However as I remember, I think that Mrs. White was in Arkansas on several occassions while he was in office and didnt' seem to want to talk to him about his statements, why now? Let's close with this vintage Huck nugget ( circa 1992):
The Philadelphia Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the seventh-largest chapter of the organization, will be tossed from the Beaux Arts building, a place they have called home since 1928, for refusing to denounce the organization’s ban on homosexuality.
The city owns the half-acre of land where the building stands and is bound by laws against discrimination.
“You cannot be in a city-owned facility being subsidized by the taxpayers and not have language in your lease that talks about non-discrimination,” City Councilman Darrell Clarke told The New York Times Thursday. “Negotiations are over.”
The Boy Scouts have maintained that homosexuality would be inconsistent with their stated values. They could have legally stayed in the building if they paid an annual rent of $200,000 per year; however they said that would cut into their summer-camp funds for needy children.
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Monday, December 10, 2007
“The way of living out, and perceiving, Christmas unfortunately quite often suffers from a materialistic mentality,” Benedict said.
In conclusion while addressing English-speaking pilgrims, the pope said he was praying that the approaching Christmas celebration “will fill your hearts with redeeming hope.” His words are certainly something to ponder and consider. In previous post, I challenged each you to perform a December random act of kindness and in case you can't think of one, I will be highlighting some possibilities throughout my post until the end of the year. But don't fret, we will still be giving you updates, links, breaking news, commentary and much more for the GLBTQ community and beyond. With all that said, Happy Hanukkah as we press on into the season!
A Random Act of Kindness No.1: A few years ago there was a wonderful song called, "That's What friends are For," that resonated with me personally and many around the world. The words, "in good times and bad times, Ill be on your side... that what friends are for," are most poignant and bear out my special request to you readers to attend a evening of sharing December 14, at Sidetracks, 8 p.m. in the Upstairs Bar. This evening will be devoted to assisting Mickey Osborne and his 15 year old son, Colton in a time of need. Mickey has developed severe health issues that have left him debilitated and facing uncertainty during this holiday season. Organizers will collect can goods, gift cards, new toys, and any direct assistance to help offset his accumulating expenses. More information will be on the Sidetracks Yahoo boards or E- contact: Moorebuffy@hotmail.com for additional details.
Fundraisers A-GO-Go: It's been another round of fundraising for the Arkansas AIDS Foundation and some of the numbers are in. The Bachelor Auction, held December 1, which featured area hunks and a hunkette took in $1350.00. Babes in Toyland, held at DSRA last Saturday reportedly reaped another $500.00 despite another low community attendance for events of this nature. As a part of my "random acts" I 've participated in two recent AAF fundraisers and have been puzzled at the lack of support when this projects is held at DSRA. I've been on the hunt for answers and discovered that perhaps more advance notice as well as, community folks broadening their scope would be beneficial. The "boys who were the gals" still went tour De force led by AAF Development coordinator, "Cherity," Lady Champagne, Diva Dinnery, Gigi Galore, Marvella, Miss Lana, Crystal Love and the DSRA Royalty Team. Also, let me give a special shout out to Mary Kay Arden who had "my back" at the after party at Sidetracks. The girl just can't help it, she just loves to have fun!! Hat's off to all for a job well done. Next up: AAF holiday fundraiser at Backstreet, December 16, 10 p.m. or for more info: http://www.backstreetdanceclub.com/ (editor note: I checked the Backstreet website and didn't see a listing for this event, call AAF 501.376.6299 or the club 501.666.6900) Don't forget to tell them you read it here first!
Politically Speaking: Just when you thought that I couldn't burn the candle from the middle, my face was in the place for the Pulaski County Democratic Committee, Democratic Women and VIP Christmas party at the Governors Mansion, December 8. Accompanied by my life mate, I schmoozed, hob nobbed, mingled and people watched at the annual event hosted by Gov. Beebe and Ginger Beebe. The Mansion was ablaze with Christmas lights, interesting decorations and smartly accented from the entry way to the ballroom. I wasn't sure about security, so I didn't take my trusty camera but later realized that things weren't so tight that I couldn't have had it in tow. (Darn!)After a warm welcome from party services coordinator, Amy Kelley, others I saw in attendance were Pulaski County Chairperson, Joyce Elliot, Rep. Kathy Webb (pictured), political commentator, Jay Barth, DPA Executive Director, Bruce Sinclair, PUCO Circut Clerk, Pat O'Brien, volunteer extraordinaire Mrs. Debbi Murphy and other democratic party movers and shakers. To my delight and surprise, First Lady Beebe, while circulating stopped to engage me about my attire. She commented that I looked great in my holiday red jacket and hoped that both of us was enjoying the evening. Chalk one up for this slave to fashion. Meanwhile, in an effort to put my self in the "call to action" mode that I often mention, I've registered to be an elector for the Special State Convention, as we prepare to haggled over who will be official delegates to the national convention in Denver in 08. I will keep you posted on the in's and out of this process as well as how you may be able to help me take it to the next level.
Reading and Voting: Staying in the loop within the busy framework of life can be trying, but I want to call you attention to the December 11, Special election to enhance library services and sources. I have always voted in the affirmative for these mileages because they offer opportunities to narrow the digital divide with additional computer services and open materials to enrich your mind. I know this first hand, due to the fact that I got the chance to access computer labs across the city, long before I ever owned a PC or the Internet. I will never forget that experience or how it assisted me in crossing the threshold to grasp information globally. Take the time and vote, "YES" to the library millage.
The 31st Annual Legislative Conference of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators will meet in Little Rock December 12 - 16. In an invitation to NBCSL members, Arkansas Senator Irma Hunter Brown stated the following.
For over thirty years, NBCSL has been the leader in providing access and opportunity for its members and identifying the needs of African-American state legislators and their constituents. Today, our programs and initiatives addressing topics ranging from education and health awareness to economic development and international relations are accomplishing their goals. The conference will include public policy sessions, critical workshops and unprecedented keynote speakers including Little Rock Nine member Ernest Green, former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders and former President Bill Clinton
ARE YOU REGISTERED YET!!! Do it TODAY. For more information go to http://www.votepulaski.net/
Friday, December 07, 2007
Help Wanted: Got stories, information,updates, or need to a place to express your self...well the comment section is open and ready for your two cents. Let's hear from you today!!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Transforming Pain To Power: The C. Mark Ealy Way
TRANSFORMING PAIN TO POWER:
THE C. MARK EALY WAY
By Wyatt O’Brian Evans
“I suppose my writing is different than that of a lot of people because ‘I do not own the words.’ The words come through me, not from me. I only write when I’m inspired by the Holy Spirit. The purpose of all my writing is to help people on their spiritual journey. “
Those rather weighty words provide keen insight into C. Mark Ealy, author of the new book, The Making of a Preacher: Naked in the Pulpit. Largely autobiographical, it’s the saga of a minister (“Larry”) who “bares all in his journey to find truth.”
After overcoming nearly impossible odds—growing up poverty-stricken and hopeless, being trapped in an all-Black ghetto in South Central Los Angeles (L.A.)--Ealy become an ordained Baptist minister. Over the past 27 years, he has held major positions of leadership in the secular and church worlds. Currently, Ealy serves as a consultant for various churches. And, he is the founder of The Institute for Living, an organization whose mission is to assist individuals in their spiritual growth.
Naked in the Pulpit is the story of “Larry,” the youngest of four children, who grew up in abject poverty. “We were evicted from our apartments three times while I was growing up,” Larry says. “Our electricity was cut off several times because we hadn’t paid the bill. One morning as mother was preparing to bake a pan of biscuits—that was the only food left in the house—the man came from the gas company to cut off our gas because the bill was past due. When mother asked if he could wait just 20 minutes so we could have some food, he replied that he had other houses to get to, and therefore couldn’t be concerned about our problems. Needless to say, I sobbed. I went to the refrigerator and scraped up the last one-half teaspoon of mayonnaise—it was the last drop of food in the house. As soon as I ate it, I fell across the bed because I was so weak.”
EVANS/TRANSFORMING PAIN TO POWER 2
Larry states that his father’s decision to quit his post office job threw the family into financial dire straits. His father “had a revelation that God wanted him to leave all these ‘worldly’ pursuits and become a preacher. What we experienced as children was a father who didn’t work. He spent his days going to the barbershop and preaching there all day to anyone who would listen.”
Larry continues, “Periodically, he would leave and go on ‘journeys.’ These were events where he would merely take off from home and go walking out into the wilderness or the desert. He would be gone from one week to a month. Upon his return, he would tell us many stories about his exploits out in the desert or the wilderness.”
Meanwhile, Larry says, his mother worked as a maid for whites. Unable to earn enough for two adults and four children to survive, the family was on welfare for most of his childhood. Consequently, “we were all mad at our poverty-stricken life—and at a father whose life choices had left us in emotional and physical pain.”
Larry adds, “Although I achieved financial success—two Cadillacs in the garage of my suburban home—I was not able to sustain my success, long-term. I suppose the reason was that my internal image didn’t fit the external trappings.”
Regarding his dad, Larry explains, “my relationship with my father is, as best I can tell, the most significant factor in the shaping of my adult behavior. The tremendous emotional abuse that I experienced from my father has negatively impacted all of my adult relationships. He was a father who sent conflicted messages. While verbalizing love and even adoration for his children on the one hand, at the same time he was cold, distant, hostile, and extremely harsh (whatever we did, it was never quite good enough).”
Larry says, “A failed marriage and three children with whom my relationship has been very strained are only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath are tremendous amounts of sexual confusion and bewilderment.” He confesses that one of the major struggles of his life continues to be reconciling his faith and sexual desires.
“Who is God?” is a subject Larry ponders. He states, “The ‘God’ I grew up with was very powerful—all powerful—very mean, very judgmental, standing ready to punish us whenever we disobeyed (which is much of the time). I’m really struggling now to be in relationship with a new God: one who loves me ‘unconditionally.’ “
Larry examines the age-old question, “Is it Wrong to be Gay?” and doesn’t let the church “off the hook.” He asserts, “The church must remember its core mission of rescue and recovery—not judgment and condemnation. In fulfillment of that mission, the church’s role is to help the individual walk in the Spirit.”
EVANS/TRANSFORMING PAIN TO POWER 3
In Naked in the Pulpit, Ealy paints an affecting, vivid portrait of pain, heartbreak, disillusionment, and sexual confusion. His writing style is immediate. It flows exceptionally well, and is quite accessible. It draws you in and keeps you there. The reader feels that he is actually sitting across the table and having a “heart-to-heart” with “Larry.”
Naked is not a “pity party.” Far from it. It’s a story full of hope, and the burning desire and courage to understand one’s self—and therefore, to beat the odds. This tome teaches without being “preachy,” and is a “heapin’ helpin’” of common sense.
Ealy revealed, “I will say that I entered adulthood with severe emotional scars because of my childhood. The essence of the book is about transforming pain into power.”
While growing up in the greater Watts community, Ealy certainly had his share of pain, as well as despair and helplessness. He experienced first hand the explosive, large-scale Watts Riots, which began on August 11, 1965 and lasted for six days. As a result, of the 34 people officially reported killed, 28 were African-American. Also according to “official” records, 1,032 people were injured and 4,000 people arrested. Six hundred buildings were either damaged or destroyed, and an estimated $35 million (nearly $220 million in 2006 dollars) in damage was caused.
“My sister actually saw the event that triggered the riots,” Ealy claims. “A lady who was 8-9 months pregnant was getting out of her car at a shopping center in the Watts area. She had parked her car. Apparently there was some altercation between her and a white lady over the parking space. The police went into the passenger seat of the car and got her husband out and handcuffed him—although he was doing absolutely nothing! They then proceeded to beat the black lady who was pregnant.”
He added, “My neighborhood became a military zone. We had an apartment on Pacific Coast Highway (one of the busiest streets in Southern California). It was incredible to me to look out the window and see no cars riding up and down the street. Instead, U.S. Marshals were posted on each corner with their rifles drawn!”
The author had strong words on the role of the church in people’s lives. “My passion is simply to bring the church as corporate body back to the core value of its CEO—Jesus, the Christ—who articulated the core principles in Luke 4:18. The church has a capacity to care for people at the soul level. No other institution public or private, profit or non-profit, social service or commerce—can do the church’s work in human lives. If the church doesn’t do it, it goes lacking, and people suffer. And people are suffering. People are wandering without clarity and without purpose because the church doesn’t really care.”
EVANS/TRANSFORMING PAIN TO POWER 4
Ealy’s Institute for Living embodies his “passion for building new infrastructures of rescue and recovery until everyone is safe in the harbor.” He explained, “I have had what we call material success, but now I have a passion to focus away from success and towards real ministry. So in order to pursue my ministry appropriately, I have to find new indicators of success, such as: How have I helped reduce the number of deacons molesting young boys? How can I create a culture where men from the pulpit to the door can be honest about their same-sex attraction? Can I create a safe place for young boys who feel a same-sex attraction to come and express their feelings and receive appropriate guidance?”
Ealy believes that the Black church does indeed practice and promote homophobia. “There is almost nothing worse that one can declare than to declare that he/she is homosexual in the Black church,” he stated.
Same-sex attraction, he continued, “is a highly-charged issue around which people are deeply polarized. Therefore, it represents a template for us to construct a new infrastructure that gets people interacting in new ways. God is love. That is the essence of what church is.”
According to Ealy, “Naked in the Pulpit is the toughest of all my books (he’s currently writing eight others) because it is the closest to me personally. In it I model what I am teaching: the necessity of getting naked with one’s self, with others and with God in order to be whole.” (You can visit Mr. Ealy at http://www.theinstituteforliving.com/.)
Wyatt O’Brian Evans is a journalist and author whose bylines have appeared in print publications including the Washington Post, the Washington (Gay) Blade, and American Politics magazine. He also writes for the on-line infotainment sites qbliss.net and imperiousent.com. As well, Mr. Evans created and penned a popular African-American/gay/erotic serial, the “Black and the Beautiful.” His upcoming novel is entitled “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart.”