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Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine Cathedral’

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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A group of PozAttitudes men are going to the Christmas Concert. RJ has suggested that we carpool. Meet at Georgie’s Alibi parking lot at 6:00 PM in front of Poverello if you want to carpool down to MCC Church for this FREE concert.

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This Saturday 12-11-2010, there is a FREE Holiday concert at MCC Church, 1480 SW 9th Ave (just south of Davie Blvd and east of I-95). Concert starts at 7:00 PM and we’re going as a group. Did I mention that this was FREE???

Come join us
-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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Ok, I admit it. Mostly I go to church to be with my friends. And BTW, 13 of us were there today. We’re taking up TWO pews now. I like the music and the sermons are sometimes inspiring, but most of the time they don’t jolt me awake. I usually can multi-task through them while planning the rest of my day. Maybe I should have finished my Dunkin Donuts coffee, but I wasn’t ready for the message this morning. Praying for Discomfort, anger, tears and foolishness is not my idea of serentity and peacefulness. There I was, sitting there half-drozy in half-coffee awake mode (they made me throw the other half away before I could come into church) and all of a sudden I hear “May God bless us with a restless discomfort………….” Huh??? Then I heard “May God bless us with holy anger………” Oh please, leave me be. Praying for tears and foolishness followed. Don’t make me think…on Sunday Morning at that. So I reached for the printed version to find out what we were supposed to be praying for.

“May God bless us with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that we may seek truth bodly and love deep within our hearts.

“May God bless us with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among people.

“May God bless us with the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that we may reach out our hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

“May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we really CAN make a difference in this world, so that we are able to do what other claim cannot be done.”

Ok, let’s be honest here. This is not your typical mass. To me those are not spiritual or religious words, those are political calls to action and issues I struggle with every day.

I’m good on the foolishness, I’ve got plenty for the whole group. Using it to believe I can change things sounds like the same call to arms Robert Kennedy made when he said “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Was he just being foolish?

Anger is a tricky one. There is good anger that motivates and bad anger that debilitates. Kind of like Good Cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Which is the good one, HDL or LDL? I keep getting the two confused.

Tears are there too. I do care about people in need. But actually reaching out a hand and helping sometimes takes work.

But the first one really is the one that got me thinking; restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships. I may have to take that one to my therapy session this week. That’s the one I really want to ponder.

All four of those prayer requests can be related to HIV and how we deal with HIV. Think about it. There might be a topic in there someplace. Have a good Sunday and a good week everyone.

Peace
-Steve

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Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner and Service
Thursday November 25, 2010 at 10:30AM
Sunshine Cathedral MCC:
1480 SW 9th Avenue, Ft Lauderdale (just south of Davie Blvd).

Please join your Cathedral family for a service of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 25 at 10:30am in the Walt Lawrence & Stephen Lewis Center for Worship and the Arts. There will be a potluck dinner immediately following the service in the Social Hall. Please bring your favorite Thanksgiving side dish to share.

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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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