April 2, 2009
I can use the power that God gives me in no way except in the interest of the individual and the community.
"It's just sex and politics."
"Maybe it was, but now it's much more."
''What — the Black party, wig contests and Gay Pride parades?"
"Look — we've got a lot of our rights now. Any new ones reflect lifestyle shifts. Like Gay marriage and Transgender rights."
"You're talking about Europe and parts of Latin and North America. In most of Africa and Asia — and areas right here in the US — horrible things still happen to LGBT people."
"Thanks for pointing that out. We've still got lots of work to do in the political realm."
"Don't forget Christian Science. Listen to this — it's a good treatment from Science and Health: 'One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, "Love thy neighbor as thyself;"annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed' (S&H 340: 23-29)."
"I was looking at the March 23rd issue of New York Magazine and they had two very touching articles about famous Gay people. One was about Valentino and his lover of 47 years, Giancarlo Giammetti, who says at the end 'Words cannot express what's between Valentino and me.'
"Then, there's an article on Arthur Laurents who wrote the book for 'West Side Story' which he's directing — at 92! They bring his lover of some 5o years, Tom Hatcher, into the picture. It was wonderful to see these cultural icons talking openly about the great love partnerships of their lives in a mainstream magazine."
"Did you see the review of the movie 'I Love You Man'? It's about hetero man to man love. It's a 'bromance'."
"Great! The next agitating minority has arrived."
"The point I wanted to make about Valentino and Laurents—plus Bernstein and Robbins and so many more — is that back when you couldn't really be 'out' publicly, there was some pretty important cultural activity being created by Gay people. Do we have the same level of art now, with all our rights?"
"Should we go back to the danger and sadness and angst for the sake of art?"
"I guess Nigeria and Saudi Arabia can now take the cultural lead!"
"There's still plenty of momentum in Gay people to create. It's no big deal — it's like 'By the way, I'm Gay'."
"Well, I wonder if some sports star or movie idol could say that without an uproar. It may be fighting their homo demons that drove them to stardom! Anyway I take your point for many places and professions — it's a bit of delightful additional info about the person. Kind of cuddly."
"It was great to see 'Milk' and get carried back to the 70's, the sexual revolution and political activism."
"Couldn't you see Craig Rodwell breathing through Harvey? I mean the whole emphasis on coming out, letting people know us and working with them on the issues."
"Craig wasn't really interested in politics, was he?""Well, he followed developments but politics wasn't his primary focus. He wanted people's attitudes to change — Gay people and non-Gay. Craig's involvement with the Gay movement and with Harvey is how Christian Science got in on the ground floor of Gay liberation."
"Ah, the 70's! But the 80's were so different. The AIDS crisis was everything. Backroom sex, bars, baths, discos — all 70's culture—receded and finally fell away. But there were organizations helping the stricken get care and drugs."
"Don't overlook the upsurge in plays, books, poetry, movies. Culture was rampant — all that backroom energy had to go somewhere."
"Emergence and this group were founded in the 80's."
"That's an interesting point. Our earlier New York group was a 70's phenomenon and very much given to activism. Prickly appearances at churches, marches for various liberal causes. The group coalesced—I guess that's the word — over the decade and came to fruition in publishing the pamphlet 'Gay People In Christian Science?' and conducting a demonstration at The Mother Church in 1980."
"Where does that leave us today?"
"You mean the group or the community?"
"Both.""We're increasingly part of the mainstream. But I still feel a lot more comfortable talking about Gay related issues among my peers."
"There are many problems facing the world today. Insularity in any community isn't an option anymore. We all have to pull together. If you look at the topics we take on or the work at the Emergence conferences, they're mostly general interest."
"Where are we going?"
"I saw Karen Armstrong on Bill Moyers talking about the need for religions to update the old myths and legends. We can't keep repeating archaic interpretations of Scripture — fresh insight and practice are essential."
"Maybe take that into the sexual field too. Revisioning of prevalent fantasies."
"Good luck on that!"
"It's possible. As Gay culture evolves and the broader culture does too, why wouldn't sexual drives morph to reflect?"
"Fine. Keep us posted."
"You know our community has gone into recovery in a big way. There are 12 Step meetings for every addiction — including alcohol, drugs and sex. It's a big part of our culture today."
"And it's always a search for God according to the founder of AA, Bill Wilson. If Gay people are getting more involved in a search for God, perhaps they're returning to an archetypal role of priest or shaman."
"Remember when words like ' marriage', 'family' and 'children' were used to exclude Gay people from the regular culture? Now that we're participating, the Right sounds silly proclaiming their ownership of these icons."
"Maybe one of the keys to Gay culture is that we're getting involved everywhere and bringing our own unique vision to the old myths and practices."
"Anyone who's been to an Emegence conference or one of our meetings knows what we've brought to Christian Science."
"Just looking through any list of weekly activities in our Gay community you see we are everywhere — in religion, the arts, business, the helping professions."
"I feel pretty comfortable being 'out' even in places where there's no overt Gay presence. A Gay testimony at church is still dodgy, but I've done them. Then there's the gym..."
"What's with the gym? That's Gay Mecca."
"Maybe your gym, but mine is kind of repressed. One of my yoga teachers keeps outing me, bless her heart."
"Truth can't be repressed!"
"We need to end soon but I just wanted to note we didn't come up with a lot of quotes from Mrs. Eddy. Did we get any Science out of this?"
"Quotes aren't everything. I think the place of Gay people as a kind of newly arrived and acknowledged yeast in the cultural mixture is the height of unfolding demonstration in Science."
"What'd she say about yeast — here's the quote: 'In all mortal forms of thought, dust is dignified as the natural status of men and things, and modes of material motion are honored with the name of laws. This continues until the leaven of Spirit changes the whole of mortal thought, as yeast changes the chemical properties of meal' (S&H 118: 20-25).
"If we need a topic, I've got one."
"I don't have the word exactly but it's an area I'd like to work on. I'm caught up in a lot of resentment and other negativity right now over what an ex is doing with his new boyfriend."
"So — like how to handle negativity in Science?"
"Yes — like that."
"I've got something that needs handling too. I've gotten into an obsession with a man at my gym. I need some clarity — and divine Love really — in my approach."
"How about 'Releasing Negative Feelings'?"
"How would you go about that in Science?"
"I suppose we'll find out in the next two sessions."
"Let's start with the 'Rule for Motives and Acts' from the Church Manual. Here — let me read it: Neither animosity nor mere personal attachment should impel the motives or acts of the members of The Mother Church. In Science, divine Love alone governs man; and a Christian Scientist reflects the sweet amenities of Love, in rebuking sin, in true brotherliness, charitableness, and forgiveness. The members of this Church should daily watch and pray to be delivered from all evil, from prophesying, judging, condemning, counseling, influencing or being influenced erroneously."