Came across this wonderful, inspiring seven minute video chronicling the advances in Gay Rights over the past fifty years. Deeply moving to see these historical events compressed into such a short time frame, particularly in light of the recent ruling in California on Prop 8.
I've been in a silent place for the past several weeks (months) as personal events have turned my own life around - for the better one hopes. Not much inspiration for blogging, though I have been following the news at some of my favorite blogs, as well as the bi-monthly newsletter from Bishop Richard Mickley of One Spirit Diocese. Bishop Mickley heads the sub diocese of One Spirit in the Philippines and his primary focus is ministry to the LGBT community there, though his newsletter does contain news from around the world. I've been associated with One Spirit for the past year as an alternative Catholic community independent from Rome.
Lots of interesting developments lately, not least the recent ruling in California on Prop 8 and recent polling showing an increase in support of gay marriage by Catholics, 52% in favor up from 46% from a poll in 2010. What this clearly shows is that not only do Catholic leaders not lead the faithful in their opinions, they also act as a sign of contradiction, suggesting to discerning Catholics in the pews that their fanatical opinions are simply countersigns to the movements of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the more strident the pronouncements from the hierarchy, the more confident lay Catholics can be that the Spirit is not speaking through their leaders' stridency. That is to say, the Holy Spirit is not dependent upon official leaders for the dissemination of wisdom and apparently not very impressed by them either - or to put it another way the Spirit of the humble carpenter, who had no official mandate as a religious teacher, does not want us to be so impressed by the trappings of religious power. The Spirit does not work primarily through hierarchy, but in more hidden and humble ways, among the little folk, the outcasts, the obscure, the rejected, the unclean, the marginalized. "My ways are not your ways, says the Lord." Indeed. It seems we need to be constantly reminded of the all too human propensity to create false idols out of fallible, finite, limited and historically conditioned religious structures. Meanwhile, the Spirit of Love and Tolerance moves through the world in silent, hidden ways, overturning the pretensions of power both secular and religious. The message to be learned is that echoed by Thomas Merton = in the face of leadership both secular and religious the first response of the conscientious Christian must be one of cautious, critical mistrust. The Spirit simply does not lead that way, much as we might prefer to project our insecurities upon self proclaimed infallible leaders.
On another note, I just finished watching gay playwright Kevin Elyot's BBC film, Clapham Junction -
'36 hours in the lives of a number of gay men in Clapham, South London'.
And yet again on another note, I recently returned from the great Marian shrine of Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland, which houses the miraculous icon of the Black Madonna, probably the most famous icon in all of Christendom, both East and West. A deeply prayerful weekend, in which I felt enveloped in silence, and specially blessed by the mournful Compassionate Madonna, who as always, blesses and affirms for me the grace and the gift of being gay.