Friday, March 31, 2006

Good point

Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the constitution. You didn't place your hand on the constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

—Maryland state senator candidate Jamie Raskin, testifying March 1 at a legislative hearing on a proposed marriage discrimination amendment, answering state senator Nancy Jacob's question about whether "God's law" forbids same-sex marriage

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I am SO unphotogenic

I am amazed how I can take three different photos on three consecutive days and each photo will look completely different from the others. This is one reason I shy away from cameras and photo opportunities. I think the only photo I have ever liked is the one I took my first year in college for my college i.d. Crazy, right? Anyways, I have a new photo in my profile on here. I just thought I oughta write something on here for those of you who'll see it and go, "Who's THAT guy?"

Incredible Sound This Has

...I love talking like Yoda.

Anyways, I bought this iHome player for my iPod and, Oh Mah Gawd, it is so wonderful! The sound is crisp and clear and the price is very affordable. I paid $99 from Radio Shack and am very satisfied with it. I keep it next to my desk.

A man simply must have his tunes at work, right?

This would be a GREAT idea

I found this reply to a posting from someone commenting on a pastor's hesitancy to condemn gay folks, or at least, his hesitancy to blanket all gay folks as hell bound.

The poster is quoting something the pastor had said earlier and I think anyone who is going to talk about the gay issue ought to at least check this list and see if he or she has done his homework around the gay issue, rather than simply spewing his or her anti-gay opinions or bigotry.

Here it is:

[Brian] Mclaren [a leader in the Emergent Church movement], at a Christian gay forum last year suggested a proposal on how we can “solve” the homosexuality issue within Christianity: No one is allowed to talk about it unless they have enough points:

10 if you have considered and studied the relevant biblical passages
10 if you have actually read the six passages aboud homosexuality in the bible
20 if you have read other passages that might affect the way you read those six passages
5 if you have read one or more books that reinforce the position you already hold
25 if you have read one or more books arguing the opposite position
10 if you have spent three hours reading websites showing a variety of views
50 for every friend you have who’s been through an ex-gay ministry
50 for every friend who’s been through an ex-gay ministry that didn’t work
50 for every friend who’s gay and in a long-term committed relationship
50 for every friend who’s gay and not in a committed relationship
50 for every parent you’ve listened to whose child is gay
When you have 3,000 points, you can speak on the issue.

Whether or not you actually acquire all the points, the "point" here is we all need to be more aware of the gay discussion than simply knowing 'what the Bible says'.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Star Struck?

As crazy as this may seem, I hardly ever recognize movie stars in New York City. As I have often told my friends, I just don't watch enough tv or go to the movies enough. Still, I ran into one star last week while shopping in the West Village.

While I was in that Oscar Wilde bookstore that I wrote about earlier, a man walked into the store and suddenly I had an epiphany. Pointing like a crazy man, I said, "Holy Cow, I know that guy!" The guy turns to my pointing finger. Remember, I am 6ft 9in tall and the store is small and quaint in size. I think I scared him.

But then, I said, "Nah, it couldn't be him" (I was talking with a friend who had accompanied me to the store). And then he opened his mouth and said, "Hi my name is Steve Hayes." And like a screaming teenage fan, I said, "Oh mah Gawd, it IS you!" I don't know if I squealed but later, after being embarrassed, I may have.

We talked for a few minutes and I told him how much I loved his supporting role in the 1999 movie, Trick. The movie is a cute comedy about two guys who, instead of hooking up, become boyfriends amidst Tori Spelling's incredibly annoying and jealous friend of Christian Campbell's character. It's a sweet story. Steve Haye's character is as a mentor to Campbell as well as part of a touching scene between Hayes and his onscreen boyfriend.

Anyways, it was a nice experience. Truth be told, I think I have only met and/or recognized about 3 actors in my 10-years in NYC. I saw Tony Randall run from a taxi to the Lincoln Center fountain when I first arrived in the city (and before he later died). I literally ran into Carol Channing in a the street. Upon running into her, she looked up at me and said in that voice everyone loves to immitate, "Oh my gawwwed, you're so taaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll!" The way she drew out the word, "tall" was hilarious. And now, I have met Steve Hayes, who no one really knows.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Review: Setting the Lawn on Fire

Last week, I happened into the Oscar Wilde Bookstore over on Christopher Street in NYC. The bookstore is the world's oldest gay and lesbian bookstore. It is a nice and quaint little shop with a bajillion new and used books.

While I was there, I found the book, Setting the Lawn on Fire. I had been wanting to read it; it has been getting really good reviews. And, seeing how I am enmessed in Lenten books and sermon preparation, I needed something more fun to read.

The book is written by Mack Friedman, this is his first work of fiction. What I liked about the book may not be exactly what the author intended. It's the way he tells his stories--his use of vocabulary and imagination. The author found a way to almost rhyme the consonates, something I haven't found since my Hebrew classes in seminary. He is poetic and funny. And, every once in awhile, very sad.

I don't know if I would necessarily recommend this book to everyone- but I found his style addictive. I couldn't wait to get home from work to read it. The content of the book, however, seemed a bit disturbing in places. It was kind of like my first reaction to Running with Scissors, by Augusten Burroughs. There are places where you think the author should be telling more of his story to a therapist than writing about it in a book. But then, some of my friends have said the same thing about some of my own stories and blog entries. :)

Food for Thought

A friend sent this great article about the consternation one man feels that many Christian fundamentalists put the sin of homosexuality as the chief of all sins instead of considering that sins such as pride, nationalism, and materialism may be more dangerous to the Christian soul. This is a good article and is good 'food for thought' for those who are wrestling with the all things gay.

The Squawk of the Evangelical Chicken Hawk

By Paul Campos
Mar 22, 2006, 04:51

Fifty years ago, the conservative Christian writer C.S. Lewis devoted a couple of chapters of his autobiography to describing the exclusive English public (meaning private) school he attended as a teenager. "Wyvern," as Lewis calls it, is portrayed as a cesspool of worldly ambition, where the struggle to get ahead all but overwhelms ordinary human decency, let alone any serious ethical standards.

"Spiritually speaking," Lewis writes, "the deadly thing was that school life was a life almost wholly dominated by the social struggle; to get on, to arrive, or, having reached the top, to remain there, was the absorbing preoccupation. And from it, at school as in the world, all sorts of meanness flow; the sycophancy that courts those higher in the scale, the cultivation of those whom it is well to know, the speedy abandonment of friendships that will not help on the upward path, the readiness to join the cry against the unpopular, the secret motive in almost every action."

Lewis also describes, largely in passing, the English public school tradition by which socially powerful older boys enter into sexual liaisons with younger boys, who thereby acquire a status similar to that of courtesans. At one point, Lewis addresses why he has so little to say about this practice, and indeed why he doesn't even bother to condemn it: "What Christian, in a society so worldly and cruel as that of Wyvern, would pick out the carnal sins for special reprobation? Cruelty is surely more evil than lust and the World at least as dangerous as the Flesh. The real reason for all the pother (about homosexuality) is, in my opinion, neither Christian nor ethical. We attack this vice not because it is the worst but because it is, by adult standards, the most disreputable and unmentionable, and happens also to be a crime in English law. The World will lead you only to Hell; but sodomy may lead you to jail and create a scandal, and lose you your job. The World, to do it justice, seldom does that."

Much has changed since Lewis wrote; but one thing that has not is the veritable obsession many Christian conservatives seem to have with homosexuality. As Lewis points out, this obsession has no sound basis in Christian ethics or theology. It is true that Christian morality has traditionally condemned homosexual behavior. But it is, on this view, no different from fornication, or promiscuity, which are also considered perversions of sexual passion, and which draw relatively little attention from contemporary moralists.

Furthermore, as Lewis notes, Christian theology considers lust to be a less dangerous vice than worldly ambition or (especially) spiritual pride. So why are so many Christian conservatives focused on the putative threat that the widespread acceptance of homosexuality presents to the spiritual health of society, as opposed to, say, the threat posed by the widespread acceptance of materialism, or the fanning of nationalistic passions?

It has been pointed out that it is more difficult for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. And surely few vices could be more dangerous to a Christian's soul than to indulge in the delusion that his nation is morally superior to other countries (contemporary nationalism is little more than spiritual pride on a grand political scale). For heterosexual Christians in particular, it is easier and far more pleasant to condemn homosexuality than to consider whether the lust for fame and fortune, or for the destruction of one's enemies, might be more fruitful topics on which to focus one's attentions.

To preen oneself on having resisted temptations one has never felt is no different than taking credit for victories over enemies one has never faced. It is the squawk of the chicken hawk raised to the status of a theological principle.

You can also read the article by going here:

(Paul Campos is a law professor at the University of Colorado and can be reached at

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lent is one heck of a busy season!

I am sure you may have noticed my lack of posting. I guess being a solo pastor is a whole lot more consuming than I thought it would be. One of the things that has kept me so busy is our Lenten Season Meditation Series. For those of you back in New York who are wondering what I have been up to, here is what we have done and will do throughout Lent.

Meeting every Wednesday night, I have been introducing the congregation to various meditation exercises aimed at personal and spiritual introspection. With Lent being a time of self-examination, I figured it'd be super to offer ways in which the congregation might explore such a pursuit. So far, we have had an introduction to Zen Buddhist meditation, led by a friend who is a Zen Buddhist monk (or something like that). The church folks loved it!

Then we have an evening of meditation and song. Using the meditation techniques of our Zen Buddhist to quiet ourselves, I then played several musical instruments, some clanging and others more soothing to point out how our bodies react to sound. We began with a loud and annoying tamborine, followed by drums, and ending with a rain stick.

Then, quieting ourselves, we witnessed how our bodies reacted to music. I first used a song from Enya, then a song from a pan flutist (yes, I do have and own a cd of Zamfir, but don't tell anyone, okay?), and then we listed to a gospel song by Elvis Presley. Everyone noticed how our bodies and minds responded to each instrument and song.

Tomorrow night we are going to participate in a prayer Labyrinth that I was able to borrow from Sister Georgette in Jersey City. It is a 7-circuit labyrinth and we will walk it while praying to ourselves and for one another.

Next week we'll have a journaling and meditation session where we will engage in a guided meditation that we will then write down what we "saw" during our journey. We'll do this several times and then hand out exercises for the group to take home.

Finally, on our last Lenten Wednesday, we'll have a Taize worship service. In the service, we'll sing prayerful chants, offer up our prayers for one another, and reflect on the entire Lenten series.

One of my challenges throughout this season is that with many of the meditations, I haven't been as familiar with the activities as one might think when preparing for them. So, I have spent a lot of time learning, studying, and reading about each meditation and finding ways to incorporate them into my own spiritual journey.

Have any of you, who read this blog, done any of the above meditations? If so, I'd love to hear about them- you can respond to this entry and let others know of your experiences too.

Pure Joy

A friend just emailed me this wonderful movie clip with the subject "Pure Joy". In it, the guy is juggling to a set of songs. The juggling is amazing and mesmerizing at the same time. I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to turn on (or up) your pc speakers.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Name Suggestion

Dear reader(s) of my blog-

While I realize that my readership tends to be sporatic on here (which is fine, esp since lately my posting have been a bit lame, although that is about to change), the time has come for me to create and develop a different blog for my church website which will be mostly religious and churchy in nature (and devoid of anything too controversial). I want to have something for the church folk to respond to, esp as my topics will be both sermon related as well as spiritually prodful (is that a word?). I will still keep this site and will not link it to the church website (at their request, mind you since they've seen some of my less than interesting posts on here).

So, I am going to have two blogs. And this is where I need your help. What on earth do I call the blog? I would like something funny sounding and yet not too funny that is sounds too goofy. For instance, I could play on my nickname "Bo" and have something like "Bo's Bodacious Blog" with as the url (if its available). What do you think about that? Do you have any (serious) recommendations?

I'll post the winning name on here. (I'll do so even if no one really cares that I do so). ;)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Another interesting internet find...

According to Yahoo's news, this brief bio explains this legal tender:

A rare $10,000 bill similar to this one provided by the US Treasury is getting a new home. The bill _ one of 15 large-denomination bills at a Chase Bank branch in Green Bay _ was shipped to the bank's corporate archives in New York for safe keeping. The $10,000 bill bears the likeness of Salmon P. Chase, for whom the bank was named. Chase was a U.S. senator who served as treasury secretary under President Lincoln.

Voodoo Doll Toothpick Holder

Now this is a hilarious housewarming gift, especially if the person you're giving it to has just recently broken up with a girlfriend/boyfriend.

To read more about it, go here. While there, also check out the voodoo doll knife set. No really, I am serious... they have that too. :)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Praise the Lord and Pass the Petition

by Ira Chernus

Tuesday 28 February 2006

If you are waiting for a religious left to emerge to offset the power of the religious right, it may already be in your own neighborhood at a local church or synagogue. I stumbled across a branch of the religious left quite by accident recently, in Texas of all places, though the folks I met would say I was guided to them by the Lord.

On a weekend in mid-February, nearly 200 Evangelical Lutherans from all over the country came to Fort Worth for the Congregation-Based Organizing Strategy Summit or CBOSS. They talked, planned, and prayed about community organizing. They shared stories about what they had already accomplished through faith and hard political work.

They had demanded action from public officials and corporate leaders in their communities, and they were proud of their victories. Among the local triumphs some of them claimed were: affordable housing for thousands of families; guaranteed access to health insurance for all children; treatment centers instead of prisons for criminals; a new community center where a meth house used to be; free day-care centers; water and sewer lines for 150,000 rural poor who had none before; laws requiring public contractors to pay a living wage; surveillance cameras in police cars - to watch the police themselves.

Go here to read the rest of the article.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Now this is interesting...

I found this while surfing online just now and found it to be quite profound:

More what, more why, more where. It is always nice to explore but if you keep wanting more of what you don't have then more often than not what you already have will be no more. Don't Take it for granted.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006