Straight Lines Move Around Me

Today we have another reaction to the DOMA decision by the United States Supreme Court. Brittany, a masculine-of-center lesbian poet with a background in psychology, shares her perspective on the events through poetry that sings like a hymn, uplifts like a prayer, and breathes like a meditation. The beauty of her words gives us all some wisdom and love upon which we can focus. 

straight lines move around me
unphased,
though in my heart
i feel so much has changed,
so much progress has been made
so much is left to attain
yet to stiff lines
this is another ordinary day
another hustle bustle
through which they must work,
while the air i breathe
has turned vibrant
vivid rainbow hues abound
cacophony has turned to music
my feet move lightly
bearing no heavy load,
my shoulders have dropped
the dead weight of despondency
as they rose so high
in pride with new purpose
turning to face forward
with unobstructed momentum
closer to making manifest
what,
as inherently right,
should not even have to happen

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Uncomfortable? Please Don’t Be.

Today Jenni offers us another perspective on the recent political events in the United States, and adds a plea for wisdom and love in our treatment of all people, and faith in our belief in God.

By: Jenni Taylor

Prop 8 has been shut down, married gay couples will now have legal rights, and abortion clinics will remain open in Texas for the time being.

Some of you out there are freaking out a little. Maybe even a lot.

This post is for you.

I want to say, I love you. To my family and friends that have been struggling with the moral implications of these decisions, I respect and love you so much for wanting to do what is right and hold to your convictions. Abortion and gay marriage have been the hot moral topics for a long time now, and with these decisions in the past few days, I understand why your head is spinning.

But if you are uncomfortable, please don’t be.

If there’s anything I know, it’s that God’s fingerprints are prints of love. We see them in the stars, in hugs, in families, in loving relationships. Trust with me that his fingerprints are all over the place right now, giving purpose, life and love to everything he touches. He touched you, didn’t he?

A wise person once told me, “Love God. Love people.” In the chaos of trying to know what is wrong and what is right, I go back to those solid wise words, and the world isn’t such a confusing place after all. To me, the beauty of all these recent politics is that we are one step closer to a life with less fear and more love, a life where loving people and teaching others to love people just got easier.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 35, 37-39

Doomsday for DOMA

As citizens of the United States, both Jenni and Autumn are very aware of the two major decision issued by the Supreme Court of the United States today. For those of you who are less familiar, it goes something like this… The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, was unconstitutional and therefore must be overturned. The Supreme Court of the United States also ruled on California’s Proposition 8, in short, that same-sex marriage is still legal in the state of California. Currently there 12 of the 50 states in the United States allow same-sex marriage. Many places of worship are now able to offer all the people of their congregation federal rights with their marriage blessings. 

We will be posting several different perspectives on these rulings (including yours if you want to submit)  in the coming days and weeks. We look forward to hearing from people world-wide on these historic decisions, but as always, hateful speech will not be tolerated, diversity of opinion, however, is always welcome.  Here to kick us off with his perspective on today’s events is Nate Litz, a good Jewish boy from Saint Louis, Missouri.

Today’s Supreme Court of the United States rulings on California’s Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act are a true victory for not only LGBTQ rights but also basic Human rights.  I hope that these progressive rulings and the media coverage of them has brought to light the mistreatment of minority groups in America. Unfortunately, a good deal of this mistreatment has been under the disguise of religion. I think that using religion as a way to demonize any group of people is absurd.  I believe religion in its simplest form is about love and gratitude. It is about being thankful for the lives we live (where, how, with whom) and being thankful to the deity (whatever that may be) that provided life and love for us.  By discriminating against those with whom we disagree, we bastardize that love.  We as a culture, a society, and a world must ALL work together to better ourselves and the nations in which we live.  Congratulations to those who fought tooth and nail for this victory.  Today is a day to celebrate.

Doing It

By: Jenni Taylor

I have had so many opportunities to live, work and visit very exciting places. It is hardly ever planned and usually just comes together. People sometimes ask me how I do the things I do, because it tends to look effortless and simplistic. But nothing could be further from the truth. Each wonderful journey has been preceded, or even accompanied by intense amounts of pain and sacrifice. The kind that is personal, the kind that maybe wouldn’t be such a big deal to anyone else but it is to me. I have cried more than I’d like to admit over things that were hard or difficult or just plain lonely.

But my God, has it been worth it. The places I’m able to go, the people I am able to meet. My life is blessed in ways that I cannot even begin to understand. Since I was 7 or 8 years old, I decided I wanted to change the world. No one tells you how lonely and difficult it is, but they don’t tell you how truly amazing it is either.

Wise Woman

By: Jenni Taylor

I imagine Sophia, a regal lady liberty look alike, with a crown of stars and symbolic thingamajigs in her outstretched hands, long life on the left and riches and honor on the right. Then I imagine her as just Sophie, the tall, nondescript aunt that lets the nephews and nieces scour the pockets of her big brown overcoat for toys and treats, or maybe silver and gold and rubies in this case. Proverbs says she is a tree of life, and I imagine her as an old southern tree, her roots spread out and her branches giving green goodness to the birds and squirrels and children brave enough to climb. I picture myself hugging that tree, letting Sophia’s bark warm under my skin, and figure if God ever got married it would be to her, Sophia the tree, and they would be one with the earth and sky. I suppose they already are, in a way, married and connected and one.

When Solomon was a little boy, God came to him and asked him what he wanted. More than anything, Solomon said, he wanted to be wise. God was so impressed with Solomon he decided to give him wisdom along with all the things he could have asked for and didn’t- riches, glory, and honor.

Wisdom is worth it. Not only should we be searching after her, but she is actively looking for us as well. Proverbs tells us she is in the streets, calling after us. Solomon wanted her. So do I. She’s not something you claim as your own, or use for the sake of using, or any of the other things we tend to do to good women on this seemingly god-forsaken planet. Sophia is not owned, she is given, and given through herself. Nothing is required of her, and yet she requires everything of us. For to be wise, we learn humility, love, patience and strength. We learn to wait and listen, and know her pockets go deeper than we could have ever imagined.

Sophia Sighting: Iquitos

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Location: Iquitos, Peru

By: Jenni Taylor

I rediscovered this picture in my files the other day. This was taken in January of 2012, while the city of Iquitos experienced its worst flooding in the last 100 years. One particular neighborhood was completely submerged. People cut doorways into their roofs and laid down new floorboards three feet or so away from the rooftop. Entire families lived in the rafters, cooking, cleaning, and sleeping there for months as they waited for the waters to recede. The man in the baseball cap is tall and lanky. He crawled into a small roof space where the other man had been cooking soup over a small stove. He offered him some bags of rice, and then asked if there was anything he could pray for. The man said yes, and asked for prayer for his health, as the flooding had caused a rise in the mosquito population and more and more people were dying of dengue fever. The two men stayed crouched in the roof space and prayed together.

I found Sophia here not only because of the connection between strangers, but the wisdom to offer prayer after asking first. People’s needs might be different than what you expect, and reaching out to make a connection on their terms is truly wise. Everyone needs something, and while you may not be able to offer it to them, listening to someone’s needs and agreeing to hope with them is one of the most powerful things you can do.

A Prayer for the Traveler

By: Autumn Elizabeth

Dear God of the mountains and the roads,

Please be with me as I travel. I as journey from one place to another allow me to hear your voice.

Let my journey be a blessing to those I meet and let me see the God in each and every one I encounter.

Bless me with the ability to feel your presence strongly when I am afraid, or when the road is rough.

Give me the confidence to know that even when I cannot feel your presence, that I am always enfolded in the love of the universe.

Amen.

As Big as the Universe

By: Jenni Taylor

Let’s play the I want game.

Okay, he said.
I want to reach the stars and feel them glow in my hand. I want to blow through my window curtains like the wind and separate into tiny particles all over the world.
Want me to throw your dust out the window after you die? he said.
I guess that’s the closest I’ll get.

Let’s play the I want game.
Fine, he said.
I want to be bigger than the earth. I want to see the tiny specks of people from where I am, floating above them, and to see the puzzle pieces of their lives laid out in a beautiful, sad picture. I want to float and be big, so big, big enough to hug the universe.
And who will hug you? he said.
You’ll have to be there with me, and be a little bit bigger than I am.

Let’s play the I want game.
Alright, he said.
I want everyone to be happy. I want people to stop being cruel to each other. I want the meanness to be sucked right out of the bullies in every playground and government office. I want children to smile and grandmas to sit in nice rocking chairs. I want tears to go away forever and ever.
I know, he said.

Let’s play the I want game, he said.
Okay.
I want all the sad things in this world to make you cry, cry so hard your tears water your own roots and make you grow, grow, grow- bigger than the universe. I want those tears to make you hug the world the way you want to. I want those tears to make you hold the stars with wonder and give hugs the size of time. And when you get that big, your smile will grow so bright it will light up the milky way.

Really? I said.
Yes.
Okay. Hug me.