Sunday, July 23, 2017

Love Lifted Me



  1. I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
    Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
    But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
    From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
    • Refrain:
      Love lifted me!
      Love lifted me!
      When nothing else could help,
      Love lifted me!
  2. All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling,
    In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
    Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
    Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.
  3. Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves,
    He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves;
    He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
    He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Astronomy



Stellafane. Your first question is probably: what the hell is Stellafane? Stellafane (Latin for shrine to the stars) is the name of the clubhouse built by the Springfield Telescope Makers club of Springfield, Vermont in the early 1920s, and has since come to refer to the club's land and buildings on the summit of Breezy Hill. It also refers to the Stellafane Convention, a gathering of amateur telescope makers and amateur astronomers (star party) held every year at that location. The Springfield Telescope Makers grew out of a class on how to make telescopes that was started by Russell W. Porter in Springfield, Vermont in August 12, 1920. The members of this small group decided to form a club and held their first meeting on December 7, 1923.

The reason I mention Stellafane is because I am going to the convention today. Porter was an alumni of the university that I work for. They are the curators of some Porter material that my Museum would like to borrow. Porter built some great telescopes such as the Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California. Porter was a pretty fascinating guy as an artist, an Artic explorer, and a telescope builder. So I'm going to Stellafane to help borrow some of the artifacts they have about Porter. It should be an interesting day. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Morning Coffee



If only he'd bring me coffee in the morning...I might actually want to get up, then again I might want to stay in bed.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Will



Has anyone watched Will? Will is an American drama television series about the (fictional) life of William Shakespeare in his early 20s. The series was ordered for a first season containing 10 episodes, on May 18, 2016, and premiered on TNT on July 10, 2017.

While the show is fictional, there are certain things true about it. There is a real debate over whether Shakespeare was a closet Catholic or not. Also, it shows Christopher Marlowe as being gay, which history says he probably was. Marlowe is played marvelously by Jamie Campbell Bower.



I am also quite fond of Mattias Inwood's character, Richard Burbage. He has a magnificent butt that is shown off quite well in episode two. Also, Colm Meaney is in the show and as a Star Trek fan, I love him.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Better Life



A Better Life

 

Randall Mann


after Julio Cortázar

 

It’s silly to think

fourteen years ago

I turned thirty.

 

How I made it that far

I’ll never know.

In this city of hills,

 

if there was a hill

I was over it. Then.

(In queer years,

 

years

are more than.)

Soon it will be fifteen

 

since the day I turned thirty.

It’s so remote.

I didn’t think I’d make it

 

to fourteen years ago.

Fear lives in the chest

like results.

 

You say my gray, it makes

me look extinguished;

you make me cringe.

 

I haven’t cracked

the spines of certain paperbacks,

or learned a sense of direction,

 

even with a slick device.

But the spleen doesn’t ask twice,

and soon it will be fifteen years

 

since I turned thirty.

Which may not sound like a lot.

Which sounds like the hinge

 

of a better life:

It is, and it is not.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday



It's Monday and quite honestly, I have nothing to say. I'm writing this just before the season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones. I love this show. But other than that, I have nothing.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Gay Christian Life



Lewis is a 19 year old gay man who just came out to his family. He's also a Christian in a very Christian family. Lewis started a new blog called "A Gay Christian Life." He hasn't been too encouraged to write a lot because he hasn't gotten many hits, but let me assure you that his story is worth reading. He has two posts up so far, one about coming out and the other about a meeting with his pastor. It's a story that is familiar to a lot of our coming outs, both the ups and downs of it. So please go check out Lewis's blog "A Gay Christian Life."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Research, Day 2



I read so many old letters yesterday that by the end of the day, my eyes were crossed. People had such bad handwriting. Some had beautiful handwriting but most did not. Today, is going to be no different. I will still be reading letters, hopefully though the later they are in time, the more often they are typed. Hopefully more will be typed than not. We also haven't found what we are looking for, but maybe something will turn up.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Research



Today will be a day of research. Thankfully, I won't have to drive far. Traffic was horrible yesterday. At one point I had two cars merging into my lane where I was occupying said lane. Luckily, I squeezed on through and managed to avoid a wreck. With so much traffic plus the rain, and accident would have been a major disaster. All I have to do today is drive into Providence (11 minutes from the hotel). Hopefully traffic will be better.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rhode Island



Unless something changes in the morning, I will be spending the next few days in Rhode Island. It seems that my boss needs an extra pair of eyes to help with research at the historical society in Providence. So, I will be spending the next two days plowing through old letters and documents, and essentially looking for a needle in a haystack.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bed in Summer



Bed In Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

-Robert Louis Stevenson    






Thank you, Susan, for another great suggestion.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Invention of "Heterosexuality"



The 1901 Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defined heterosexuality as an “abnormal or perverted appetite toward the opposite sex.” More than two decades later, in 1923, Merriam Webster’s dictionary similarly defined it as “morbid sexual passion for one of the opposite sex.” It wasn’t until 1934 that heterosexuality was graced with the meaning we’re familiar with today: “manifestation of sexual passion for one of the opposite sex; normal sexuality.”


If the above paragraph interests you, which it did me (thanks Susan for sending me this), then it's well worth your while to read the whole article by Brandon Ambrosino:


You can find the article here: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170315-the-invention-of-heterosexuality

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Just a Closer Walk




Just a Closer Walk with Thee

I am weak but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Thro' this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

When my feeble life is o'er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o'er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.


In this song, we acknowledge our human inability to live righteously, but we also express awareness of the grace and strength that God gives us in our daily walk. Even such an esteemed saint as the apostle Paul acknowledged his need for this grace: “But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” … For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, 10b ESV)

This song is one of my all time favorite hymns.  Though I was raised in the church of Christ, my mother was raised a Baptist.  She and her sister played the piano and the organ at their church growing up.  Mama always loved to sit and play hymns at the piano in our living room.  More frequently than any other song, mama would play "Just a Closer Walk with Thee."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Moment of Zen: River Boys



During my vacation home, I got to spend nearly the whole week on the river. While sights like this aren't exactly common, there is still a lot of eye candy to be had.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Back to Work



Now that I'm back in Vermont, I have to return to work today. At least it is Friday. I only have to work one day this week. It should be a day of catching up on things I missed while I was out the last week. It shouldn't be a lot of stuff. I'll get my coffee in the morning and then get to working on whatever needs to be done.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Back in Vermont



I finally made it back to my apartment around 12:30 am. Isabella sure was happy to see me.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Back to Vermont



I fly back to Vermont today. It's been good to be home, and to be honest, I'm not looking forward to returning to Vermont. However, I am looking forward to seeing Isabella. I've had a coworker taking care of her, but I'm ready to have her back. Otherwise, it will be back to the same old routine at work. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth!



Yesterday, Daddy and I were out riding on the boat when we came across a kid, he was probably 18, whose jet ski had broken down. Daddy offered to pull him back to his friends. There's a sandbar where they all congregate. The kid was tall, very tan, with dark hair and very handsome. He had a nice butt too. Anyway, his friends showed up to help pull him back so we didn't take him very far. His friends were cute too.


Happy Fourth of July!

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Busy Day



We went out on my parents' new boat yesterday. It was a lot of fun, but there were a lot of trees and limbs floating down the river because of all the rain they've had. Today will be a busy day because we will be getting ready for the big BBQ tomorrow. Mama and I will make cakes and pies for dessert and do some other prep work for tomorrow. Tonight, I'm going out to eat with some friends of mine. We should have lots of fun catching up.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Homecoming



Mark 5:19 - Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

One of the reasons that I decided to come home this week was because the ladies at my home church have been begging for me to come home. I've also been homesick. I may live in Vermont, but home will always be where my family is. I have been blessed by the job that I have and the friends that I've made, especially those who are most supportive. It's not easy being away from home, but it's what I must do for now. We must be thankful for what God does for us.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Down to the Studs



HGTV recently aired a pilot for a potential new show called Down to the Studs, which would star husbands PJ and Thomas; a couple that refer to themselves, somewhat artlessly though appropriately, as the “Property Lovers."

In order to ramp up interest in the show, PJ and Thomas have been pleading with their Instagram followers — did we mention the shared Instagram account? — to support the show by using the hashtag #HGTVDowntotheStuds

“PLEASE SHARE and TAG HGTV*** YALL,” they wrote. 

“Here’s our news that we’ve been keeping secret for a year and a half! We can finally tell you!!! We have a pilot premiering TOMORROW on HGTV called Down to the Studs! This is a HUGE step for the LGBTQ community! But guys, we need your help!” 

So far, there’s been no news about whether or not the series is being picked up, so you’re encouraged to hashtag your little heart out if you happen to like the pilot, which was really good.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Home



By the time this blog posts this morning, I will in the air on my way home. My parents know I am coming home, but the rest of my family doesn't know. It's going to be a big surprise. July 4th has always been a big holiday for my family and we will have a big BBQ on that day. I'm really looking forward to it.

Being home also means that I have limited internet access. I will do my best to post, but if I don't, don't worry. It just means that I didn't have internet access.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Stonewall


Something unremarkable happened on June 27, 1969 in New York's Greenwich Village, an event which had occurred a thousand times before across the U.S. over the decades. The police raided a gay bar. The events that followed marked the beginnings of the Gay Rights Movement.  


The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when people in the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

For more information about the beginnings of the Gay Rights Movement in the United States and the Stonewall Riots, please check out my series of post on Stonewall.

HAPPY GAY PRIDE!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Knoxville, Tennessee



Knoxville, Tennessee

by Nikki Giovanni, 1943


I always like summer

best

you can eat fresh corn

from daddy's garden

and okra

and greens

and cabbage

and lots of

barbecue

and buttermilk

and homemade ice-cream

at the church picnic

and listen to

gospel music

outside

at the church

homecoming

and go to the mountains with

your grandmother

and go barefooted

and be warm

all the time

not only when you go to bed

and sleep

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Picture Says It All



My new gym doesn't have locker rooms, but I wish it did.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Rainbow



Rainbow Christ Prayer: LGBT Flag Reveals The Queer Christ

By REV. KITTREDGE CHERRY
Colors of the rainbow flag reveal the many faces of the queer Christ in the following Rainbow Christ Prayer I wrote with gay theologian Patrick S. Cheng
Rainbow flags were flying around the world in June for LGBT Pride Month. Rainbows are also an important symbol in many religious traditions. The Rainbow Christ Prayer honors the spiritual values of the LGBT movement. 
The prayer matches the colors of the rainbow flag with the seven models of the queer Christ from Patrick’s book From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ.
Let us pray... 
Rainbow Christ, you embody all the colors of the world. Rainbows serve as bridges between different realms: heaven and earth, east and west, queer and non-queer. Inspire us to remember the values expressed in the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
Red is for life, the root of spirit. Living and Self-Loving Christ, you are our Root. Free us from shame and grant us the grace of healthy pride so we can follow our own inner light. With the red stripe in the rainbow, we give thanks that God created us just the way we are.
Orange is for sexuality, the fire of spirit. Erotic Christ, you are our Fire, the Word made flesh. Free us from exploitation and grant us the grace of mutual relationships. With the orange stripe in the rainbow, kindle a fire of passion in us.
Yellow is for self-esteem, the core of spirit. Out Christ, you are our Core. Free us from closets of secrecy and give us the guts and grace to come out. With the yellow stripe in the rainbow, build our confidence.
Green is for love, the heart of spirit. Transgressive Outlaw Christ, you are our Heart, breaking rules out of love. In a world obsessed with purity, you touch the sick and eat with outcasts. Free us from conformity and grant us the grace of deviance. With the green stripe in the rainbow, fill our hearts with untamed compassion for all beings.
Blue is for self-expression, the voice of spirit. Liberator Christ, you are our Voice, speaking out against all forms of oppression. Free us from apathy and grant us the grace of activism. With the blue stripe in the rainbow, motivate us to call for justice.
Violet is for vision, the wisdom of spirit. Interconnected Christ, you are our Wisdom, creating and sustaining the universe. Free us from isolation and grant us the grace of interdependence. With the violet stripe in the rainbow, connect us with others and with the whole creation.
Rainbow colors come together to make one light, the crown of universal consciousness. Hybrid and All-Encompassing Christ, you are our Crown, both human and divine. Free us from rigid categories and grant us the grace of interwoven identities. With the rainbow, lead us beyond black-and-white thinking to experience the whole spectrum of life.
Rainbow Christ, you light up the world. You make rainbows as a promise to support all life on earth. In the rainbow space, we can see all the hidden connections between sexualities, genders and races. Like the rainbow, may we embody all the colors of the world! Amen.
I got the idea for the Rainbow Christ Prayer as I reflected on Patrick Cheng's models of the queer Christ. Patrick and I each spent years developing the ideas expressed in the Rainbow Christ Prayer. It incorporates rainbow symbolism from queer culture, from Christian tradition and from the Buddhist/Hindu concept of chakras, the seven colored energy centers of the human body. The prayer is ideal for use when lighting candles in a rainbow candle holder.
The Rainbow Christ Prayer has been welcomed and used by many progressive Christian communities, but denounced as blasphemy by conservatives at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
I first wrote about linking the colors of the rainbow flag to queer spirituality in my 2009 reflection on Bridge of Light, a winter holiday honoring LGBT culture. Meanwhile Patrick was working on his models of the queer Christ based on LGBT experience. In 2010 he presented five models of the queer Christ in his essay Rethinking Sin and Grace for LGBT People at the Jesus in Love Blog.
In a moment of inspiration I realized Patrick’s various queer Christ models matched the colors of the rainbow flag. 
Patrick and I joined forces and the Rainbow Christ Prayer was born. With wonderful synchronicity, Patrick had already added two more queer Christ models, so he now had seven models to match the seven principles from Bridge of Light. He wrote a detailed explanation of all seven models in his book From Sin to Amazing Grace published in spring 2012 by Seabury Books.
Gay spirituality author Joe Perez also helped lay the groundwork for this prayer in 2004 when he founded the interfaith and omni-denominational winter ritual known as Bridge of Light. People celebrate Bridge of Light by lighting candles, one for every color of the rainbow flag. Each color corresponds to a universal spiritual principle that is expressed in LGBT history and culture. I worked with Joe to revise the Bridge of Light guidelines based on my on own meditations on the chakras and their connections to the colors of the rainbow flag.
The symbolism of the rainbow resonates far beyond the LGBT flag. 
In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the rainbow stands for God’s promise to support all life on earth. It plays an important role in the story of Noah’s Ark. After the flood, God places a rainbow in the sky, saying, "Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." (Genesis 9:15-16).
Lastly, in the Book of Revelation, a rainbow encircles the throne of Christ in Heaven.
Originally published on Jesus In Love; Image via Andrew Craig Williams

Friday, June 23, 2017

Keep It Real



Last night I watched "Is Genesis History?" which my boss recommended. The program tries to prove that Genesis is literal history. It attempts to convince the viewer to believe that yom (י֔וֹם) means a literal day not a period of time. Yom can mean either. It also tries to say that the Grand Canyon was created by the Great Flood of Noah. I just don't buy it. If Genesis is literal than mankind is only 6,000 years old, but we know from science that mankind has been around for much longer. I believe that Genesis is allegorical. All I have to say to the filmmakers is the same thing on the guy's shirt above--keep it real.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Disappointment



I had a major interview set for this week. It was with a world celebrity who happened to get a graduate degree from my school. I can't say who she is, but know that this was going to be a big interview. To be honest, I was a bit nervous. Disappointingly, she's had to cancel our interview due to some unforeseen issues. She didn't cancel it completely, but it just won't be in person or this week. We will have to do the interview by phone in a few weeks. The phone isn't the best option because the sound quality is not as good, but it's better than nothing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer



Today is the first day of summer. The picture above is the epitome of summer for me. Sitting with a friend by the pool eating a juicy watermelon. Yum. Celebrate summer. If it wasn't so hot, it would be my favorite season.

Last night, I had Chinese for supper. My fortune cookie was a little naughty if you take it a certain way. It said, "Love is like a sweet peach, good to the last drop." Am I the only one who sees something dirty in this, or is it just my mind in the gutter? 

By the way, the "divided peach" is a term for homosexuality in China.  Mizi Xia was the favorite of Duke Ling of Wei (534-493 BCE). One day Mizi Xia bit into a peach and finding it sweet, he stopped eating it and offered it to the ruler. The ruler was moved by his 'considerate behavior'. From hence came these expressions for homosexuality: "a preference for the leftover peach", and "the love of the divided peach."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sonnet 18



Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? (Sonnet 18)

By William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate. 
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, 
And summer's lease hath all too short a date. 
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, 
And often is his gold complexion dimmed; 
And every fair from fair sometime declines, 
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed; 
But thy eternal summer shall not fade, 
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, 
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, 
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st. 
      So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, 
     So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Summer begins tomorrow.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Unproductive Weekend



For most of the weekend, I suffered from a major headache. It meant that a lot of things I'd planned to do, did not get done. I did a little bit of the housecleaning I'd planned to do, but not enough. It was also very hot this weekend which hampers me from doing much besides sit in front of the fans. Most Vermonters don't believe in air conditioning, and thus my apartment doesn't have one. I'd planned to go get an air cooling system, similar to an air conditioner but not quite one, however, my headache prevented me from making that trip to Burlington. Hopefully, this week will be more productive.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

We Shall Overcome



We shall overcome,

We shall overcome,

We shall overcome, some day.


Oh, deep in my heart,

I do believe

We shall overcome, some day.


We'll walk hand in hand,

We'll walk hand in hand,

We'll walk hand in hand, some day.


Oh, deep in my heart,

I do believe

We shall overcome, some day.


We shall live in peace,

We shall live in peace,

We shall live in peace, some day.


Oh, deep in my heart,

I do believe

We shall overcome, some day.


We are not afraid,

We are not afraid,

We are not afraid, TODAY


Oh, deep in my heart,

I do believe

We shall overcome, some day.


The whole wide world around

The whole wide world around

The whole wide world around some day


Oh, deep in my heart,

I do believe

We shall overcome, some day.


"We Shall Overcome" is a gospel song which became a protest song and a key anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. The song is most commonly attributed as having descended lyrically from "I'll Overcome Some Day", a hymn by Charles Albert Tindley that was first published in 1900.


A couple of the usual haters appeared at Knoxville Pride yesterday afternoon to wave their anti-LGBT banners and shout abuse. Not having it was the touring Washington Gay Men’s Chorus, who encircled the haters to deliver a rousing rendition of We Shall Overcome. 


Thanks to Joe.My.God for the part about Knoxville Pride.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Whitman Sampler



Walt Whitman would have turned 198 years old last month had he not succumbed to bronchial pneumonia way back in 1892.


To mark the occasion, Whitman superfan Hugh Ryan at Broadly has been poring over what appears to be a series of seven nude black and white photographs of a man who bears a striking resemblance to the great American poet.


The photos, labeled simply “Old Man,” were taken 141 years ago by famed artist and photographer Thomas Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916). They depict a slender man (with just a slight ponch) with a long white beard fully naked from several different angles: full-on, in profile, and from behind.


Ryan sent the photos to several different Walt Whitman experts to get their opinions.


Karen Karbiener, a Whitman scholar and professor at NYU, replied to Ryan’s inquiry by saying:


The size fits. He was six feet tall, never had a gut, was always in reasonably good shape even when he was older… I haven’t seen a lot of 80-year-old men naked, but presumably this is good shape for an 80-year-old man!

Not just that, Karbiener said, but Whitman was one of the most photographed men of the 19th century, and he also wasn’t shy about things like sex and nudity, as anyone whose read Leaves of Grass knows.


“I don’t think Walt would have any shame about posing for these,” she hypothesized. “Especially for Eakins. There was a mutual affection and respect there.”


Eakins and Whitman met around 1887 and bonded, no doubt, over their mutual affection for younger gentlemen.

Ryan also approached Ed Folsom, a Whitman scholar and co-director of the Walt Whitman Archive online, about the photos.


Folsom wasn’t sure if the man in the photo was Whitman, so he submitted them to a neurologist. His hope was that the neurologist would find physical evidence of the strokes and other health problems Whitman suffered in the years when this photo was taken. (Whitman had his first of several strokes in 1873.)


The results? Inconclusive.


In his investigation, Ryan concludes:


Whitman would have been 198 years old today; were he still alive, perhaps that photo would grace his Grindr profile. Some might consider it indecorous to commemorate one of America’s literary treasures with an investigation into his penis, but it’s oddly fitting for Whitman. This was a man who loved puzzles, new technology, and—yes—penises. He reveled in the body, and in thumbing his nose at Victorian morality. Sharing this photo, whether or not it is actually of Whitman himself, is perhaps the most Whitman-ic way we could celebrate his birthday.