Scripture & Prayer, 20200211

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Call to Prayer

Psalm 68:19-23 (ESV)

19 Blessed be the Lord,
    who daily bears us up;
    God is our salvation.
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
    and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies,
    the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.
22 The Lord said,
    “I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,

23 that you may strike your feet in their blood,
    that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”

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Scripture & Prayer, 20200128

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Call to Prayer

Psalm 3:1-6 (ESV)

O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    “There is no salvation for him in God.” 

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. 

I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.

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Bible Study #1: 1 Peter 1

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Call to Prayer

James 5:13-16, ESV

Is anyone among you suffering?
Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful?
Let him sing praise.
Is anyone among you sick?
Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. 
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

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St. Aelred Liturgy 2020

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A COLLECT

Reader: Loving God, you have lived among us and you have called us friends. Inspire us through the life of your servant Aelred to create relationships that show forth the intimate embrace of sacred love. Grant that the witness of our loving relationships may draw all people into the embrace of your unbounded love, through Jesus Christ, who loved as we love.
People: Amen.


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Gay Celibacy and Relational Capital

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I have a public service announcement for all the celigaybies* out there:

I suspect that at least some of my readers wrestle with how to keep their families and manage those family members’ expectations of them. I suspect also that there are many for whom the reasons they choose celibacy are cloudy sometimes. I resonate with that very deeply; I’m simply trying to turn on some fans to disperse the smoke so that others might see clearly.

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A Fulfilled Life

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“The task we have to face is the same, whether we are married or single: To live a fulfilled life in spite of many unfulfilled desires.” —Walter Trobisch

Recently, I finished reading the book Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love, by Dr. Laura A. Smit (Baker, 2005). She is giving me a lot to chew on as I think about my own journey of crushes, love, loss, and friendship.

One section which stands out to me addresses whether to tell someone you love them. Dr. Smit says:

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Gay Exhaustion

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Folks often ask me how I’m doing. It’s a safe way of starting a conversation that won’t stall out in small talk about the weather or degenerate into a shouting match about politics.

More often than not, I tell people that I’m tired. There are multiple reasons I’m tired these days. Anxiety causes sleep to be inferior. Also, anyone with as many friendships as I find myself having has a lot of relational strain to deal with because people are people and I’m me. If you know me in person and we haven’t had it out yet, relax. We will.

The type of tired I’m thinking about today is “gay exhaustion.” This is something I find working in tandem with all the other anxiety in my life. Here’s what I think it looks like:

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Gay Respectability

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I’ve been thinking a lot about gay respectability lately, due to a friend posting a meme in a Facebook group, asking folks to deconstruct it. Here’s the meme:

I think there’s a few things wrong with this, but let’s first give this the most charitable reading possible: “I want to be friends with someone who is pleasant to be with and talk to. I want to know the person behind the presentation.”

I think that’s a fine thing to want. The friends I have are folks with whom I can be vulnerable and they can be vulnerable with me. One friend works out a lot but isn’t some kind of self-absorbed muscle queen. Another friend is very introverted but isn’t self-absorbed.

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National Coming Out Day, 2018

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I grew up in a home where anything related to coming out was met with a sneer. “Why do they have to force their sexual depravity on us?” was a common refrain in discussions. From the time that I began actually dealing with the fact that my sexual attractions and my experience of the world just didn’t fit the narrative which my friends and relatives seemed all-too-comfortable in, I weighed the options of coming out.

For years, I refused. My freshman year of college, I was asked point-blank by a friend in marching band: “Are you gay?” I told him no. I had reasons, of course. Being a conservative Christian, I wasn’t actually gay because I wasn’t sleeping with men. I was same-sex attracted and was attempting to be free from the curse thereof through prayer, accountability, and just plain perseverance.

There is nothing at all wrong with any of those three things. It was, for me, a misguided attempt to grapple with reality as I found it.

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