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Archive for the ‘Spituality’ Category

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The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida’s Christmas concert, Heaven and Nature Sing, will be broadcast on WLRN television: December 22nd @ 9PM, December 24th @ 8PM and December 25th @ 7PM.

If you missed their highly entertaining and amazing performances that were sold out recently, here’s your chance to enjoy the magic. Comcast is channels 17 (regular) and 487 (digital).

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THE GAY MEN’S CHORUS OF SOUTH FLORIDA is having a concert on Friday, December 13th.  The Concert is at the Sunshine Cathedral and begins at 8 PM. This concert on Dec. 13 is being designated as our FRIDAY NIGHT EVENT FOR THE GROUP.
 
The link to buy tickets is: www.gmcsf.org.   
Individual tickets are $35 . Individual tickets go on sale this SUNDAY October 20th.  Until that time, only season’s tickets are available.
 
 
Heaven and Nature Sing – December 13, 14, 20, 21, 2013 
Join the men of the chorus for what has become one of Broward County’s musical holiday traditions. Listen to the powerful sounds of one hundred fifty male voices performing some of your holiday favorites, beautiful and inspiring selections from the classical Christmas repertoire. Be entertained as the chorus makes the Yuletide “gay” as only they can. A musical treat sure to put even Scrooge in the holiday mood!  chorus

 

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Thought for the Day

The only thing you ever have control of is your current thinking.  You current thought, the one you are thinking now, is totally under your control.

Louise Hay

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When:  Saturday May 5, 2012

Time: 2:00-3:00 PM

Where:  MCC Sunshine Cathedral

1480 SW 9th Avenue

Ft Lauderdale

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When:  Saturday May 5, 2012

Time: 2:00-3:00 PM

Where:  MCC Sunshine Cathedral

1480 SW 9th Avenue

Ft Lauderdale

 

 

 

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Where can you go on Sunday morning to hear a call to action, a quote by Martin Luther King, a chorus singing The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha, a live version of The Rose, and a final quote by Harvey Fierstein

Sunday morning??? Where can you go on Friday or Saturday night to hear a performance like that? 15 of us attended service at MCC this Sunday. We started by standing and saluting our own singing Elf aka Kevin and then listened to one of the most rousing calls to service I’ve ever heard. If you’re looking to find inspiration and camraderie in a gay and HIV friendly….. actually friendly isn’t the right word. The pastor at MCC is gay and HIV positive. He doesn’t just tolerate us or even just accept us, he embraces us because he’s one of us.

“Yesterday a congressional representative from Arizona was shot. In fact, 18 people in Tucson were shot. At least 1/3 of them died. There is so much hatred, so much intolerance in our society. We have work to do.

In Broward County, there are people who don’t have enough to eat. We have work to do.

Our environment is assaulted by greed and apathy every day. We have work to do.

LBGT and questioning teens continue to fear they have no place to turn, nowhere to be accepted and affirmed, and they continue in desperation to face isolation, abuse, and even self-harm. We have work to do.

Even in our own community, misogyny rears its ugly head, racism (including the ways people are eroticized for their race) remains largely unaddressed, and tragic ignorance about gender identity and bisexuality remains almost epidemic. We have work to do.

Addiction ravishes our community and decades into the crisis, people are still contracting HIV. We have more work to do.

Marriage equality is not a universal reality in this country. We have work to do.

Same-gender loving people in Jamaica, Nigeria, and Uganda risk death every single day simply for being who they are We have work to do.

MLK said “How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a [human]-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an ‘I-it’ relationship for an ‘I-thou’ relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and awful.”

Harvey Fierstein: “I do believe we’re all connected. I do believe in positive energy. I do believe in the power of prayer. I do believe in putting good out into the world. And I believe in taking care of one another.”

Come join us some Sunday. We go to the 10:30 service and sit up front on the left side.
-Steve

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We had 15 guys at MCC this past Sunday. We occupied two full pews, up front on the left side. The sermon this Sunday was about Joy vs Happiness.

“Let us not confuse joy with happiness. We deserve to be happy and we tend to thrive better when we are happy. When we are happy, we treat others better, we believe in ourselves more, we don’t begrudge others their good fortune, we tend to be kinder and more generous. Happiness is wonderful and I wish you lots of it.

Happiness is a condition, and like all conditions, comes and goes. But joy is a state of being that isn’t dependent on what is happening to or around us.

George Bernard Shaw said this about joy: “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

Saint Oprah says that joy is “a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace, a connection to what matters.”

Don’t be surprised if you see Joy vs Happiness come up as a future topic.

-Steve

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We got a good turnout at MCC this morning, but I was late because I got a little distracted by the yard sale across the street. Let me tell you, I got some great deals.

But the message this morning was right-on. Here are the parts I especially liked:

We tend to project onto others what we really believe about ourselves; which is why theologian Howard Thurman said “every judgment is a self-judgment.” Or as one thinker put it, “We are never more discontented with others than we are with ourselves” (Henri Frederic Arnier).

When we are unkind or unfair, that is a reflection of our own insecurities and self-doubts, just as when people are unkind or unfair to us, that is much more about them than about us. To change our unattractive habits, we must recognize them for the errors they are, and then develop new habits of appreciating and loving ourselves; as we learn to love ourselves more, love is what we will more often transfer onto others, and love is what we more often will attract.

Now, let’s be real for a minute. To have peace within, we have to stop looking for, creating, and perpetuating conflict. Our schools, our businesses, our government, our relationships, our churches…the level of perpetual fault finding, complaining and attacking has reached toxic levels in our society. We can’t fix the world, but we can work on us and show the world what is possible. We have to break the habit of complaining; we have to move beyond pessimism and perpetual unhappiness. Those are only habits, and habits can be broken and replaced with new habits. This new season of a new liturgical year is a perfect time to embrace a new way of thinking and speaking and relating…it’s a perfect time to embrace a more peaceful way of being. I need that; maybe you do too.

If we think of P.E.A.C.E. as meaning People Everywhere Are Created Equal, then we’ll see our mission as affirming that message and sharing it boldly and indefatigably. That’s why we marched on Wilton Drive on World AIDS Day…people living with HIV are created equal to everyone else and they need to know that. That’s why we continue to hope for, work for, and demand marriage equality. That’s why we confront racism and sexism, even in our own community and even in our own hearts. People Everywhere Are Created Equal; we need to believe that about ourselves, and we need to believe that about all people.

Gays and Lesbians, Heterosexuals and Bisexuals, Transgender folk and Muslims and Jews and Christians and Hindus and Agnostics and Buddhists, people from every nation, men and women, People Everywhere Are Created Equal.

Another point made during the sermon that I liked, was to remember to keep the main thing the main thing. How many times I forget that!!!

Have a Happy Sunday

-Steve

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Sunday is my day for spirituality, a time to reflect and work on my inner peace. But upon arriving at MCC this morning, my friends made me aware of new allegations coming out of the Catholic Church. This time it’s the Catholic Church in Belgium.

The last year has not been kind to the Catholic Church in Belgium. There has been widespread anger that Belgium’s bishops have failed to apologise and begged for more time to deal with an independent report that uncovered sex abuse over the last four decades, committed by at least 91 priests, other clergy or church workers in every congregation in Belgium. Let me repeat that, EVERY congregation. This is not some anomaly. At least 475 victims have been found, 13 of whom committed suicide. This in a country much smaller than Florida. The senior cleric responsible for rooting out these sex abusers, has further inflamed outrage by confessing that financial concerns over litigation stopped an official apology.

But that’s not what my friends were talking about. The newly appointed Archbishop of Brussels, Andre-Joseph Leonard has declared that people afflicted with AIDS are receiving “a sort of immanent justice” for their sexual practices. Leonard’s spokesman has tried to clear this up; “Let’s be clear, Leonard is here speaking about victims who got AIDS as the result of a promiscuous lifestyle. He is not speaking, for example, about babies who are born with the virus”.

Well, that cleared it up for me. I can just see Jesus sorting out the lepers into naughty and nice lists. Or was that Santa Claus? Children are innocent victims and everyone else needs to take responsibilty for their deeds. Everyone that is, except the Catholic Church. When these innocent children become victims of sexual abuse by church clergy, the church shuns responsibility. For the church, material possessions trump responsibility. The church cannot apologise, because it might cost them money. Does that sound Christ-like to you? And those 91 priests were not the only criminals involved in this situation. Everyone who covered up these sexual abuses over the last four decades was an accomplice. I might even argue that covering it up was worse than the actual crime because it perpetuated it and allowed more children to become victoms of this corrupt misguided institution. Everyone, without exception, and that goes all the way to the top.

Leonard seems to not live in the 21st century. He seems to have even missed the 20th century too. He seems to live an exalted life which exempts the church and church members from responsibility. That just doesn’t work when your congregation is literate. Catholics through out Europe are becoming increasingly indifferent to their religion. I see that in our group too and its not limitied to the Catholic church. I see it in most organized religions. They’ve marginalized their own people with rules they never even lived by.

Leonard has drawn fire for earlier comments on homosexuality, which he described as “abnormal” behavior resulting from “an imperfecty developed stage of human sexuality which contradicts its inner logic. Homosexuals have encountered a blockage in their normal psychological development, rendering them abnormal”. And yet as a member of the church hierarchy, he supports celibacy.

Lenny, let me explain something. I was born homosexual. Loving someone of the same sex isn’t abnormal. Trying to live my life with a woman I have no desire for would be abnormal. Trying to change me into something I’m not would be abnormal. And trying to be celibate is abnormal. Celibacy contradicts one’s inner logic and blocks normal psychological development. Supressing human sexuality is abnormal. Suppressing desires as strong as sexuality causes people to do abnormal things, like abuse innocent children instead of having normal relationships with other adults.

If you’re trying to make a point that promiscuity spreads AIDS, then promote monogamy and allow us to get married. No, don’t just “allow us to get married”, encourage us to get married, and marry the person of our dreams and desires so they we can build loving relations instead of trying to turn us into something different than the person God created.

I’ve heard your cries before. From a Republican Senator from Idaho who got caught tap dancing in a Men’s room. From a Religious leader in Colorado who got caught buying crystal meth from a male prostitute. From a conservative anti-Gay crusader here in Florida who got caught traveling through Europe with a young rent-boy. Me thinks thou dost protest too much.

The sad part about all this is how this turns people away from spirituality. The LIFE program has identified spirituality as a cofactor in HIV survival rates. There is a difference between spirituality and religion. The difficulty is finding a religion that supports your spiritual needs and not letting people like this discourage and mislead you. There are organizations out there that don’t believe or practice these hate-filled messages. If you need spirituality, I encourage you to take the time to find one that meets your needs.

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Progressive Positive Practical

I go to the MCC church for many reasons. There is the social aspect, a place to go on Sunday morning to be with friends I like very much.

I go for the music. The music is diverse and fantastic every Sunday, although some Sundays are better than others. Today was one of those Sundays when the music was absolutely Spectacular. Elena Correia performed an aria from La Traviatta that was outstanding and received a standing ovation.

But mostly I go for the message. Spirituality is a cofactor integral to my health. I could get spirituality at any number of the gay-friendly progressive churches. But the sermon today is why I go to the MCC.

The Reverend Durrell Watkins is an HIV Pozitive Gay man, just like me. His sermon today was titled The Magic of a Grateful Heart. This is what moved me:

“I’ve seen people survive amazingly difficult health challenges, seemingly because they were more grateful for the possibilities that existed than they were discouraged by the disease, or they were more grateful for the medical treatments available to them than they were troubled by their discomfort, or they were more grateful for one more day of life than they were afraid of an uncertain future. The power of gratitude sustained them and sometimes transformed their experience.

I’ve even known people who were grateful for their disease, because they said it helped them wake up, to know what mattered, to be more present to the people in their lives, and even to take better care of themselves. Whether or not the disease shortened their lives, it did cause them to be more mindful, more loving, more grateful, more intentional, and therefore more alive for as long as they lived. Gratitude can work miracles.
……Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. Feel it and express it. Express it with your words, your actions, your giving. Release the power of gratitude by expressing it”

Let me restate my first paragraph. I go to the MCC church for many reasons. There is the social aspect, a place to go on Sunday morning to be with friends I love very much.

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