Thursday, August 22, 2013
In the past few decades it’s become increasingly important to be politically correct. It seems to be crucial for organizations and those of us in the public eye, but even as individuals it can to be a problem if we use the wrong term in some circles. Just how politically correct should we be?
I’ve talked about my dear friend, Melissa, on other occasions. Her ethnic background is Bahamian and Irish. An older white man once approached her in line at a store and told her she was “very beautiful for a black girl.” Melissa was speechless. I don’t recall that she answered him at all, but by the time she got to the car she was livid. It was a situation that has all sorts of innuendos, as well as some real gems of realizations. Melissa was faced with a backhanded compliment from one point of view, but in thinking about it in another way she was able to open up a whole new concept to this man. The exchange was tragic, impactful, irritating and amazing all at once. Life can be that way.
I chose to share this with you because our prejudice and biases can so easily slip into our lives and daily conversation. I don’t particularly care to be referred to as “that gay guy who wears the bright shirts on Sunday,” but there you have it. I went out to lunch with my friend, Simon, the other day wearing a bright turquoise shirt and black jeans. Simon, who incidentally is straight, had on black slacks and the brightest hot pink shirt I think I’ve ever seen. Either one of us could have been accused of being battery-operated. The only thing our shirts didn’t do was blink on and off. Would he have been described as that “straight guy who wears bright shirts?” I think not, but you get the point. So if he wears color he’s daring and out there? But if I do it is it just because I’m gay? (I guess not since I have plenty of gay male friends who favor earth tones, and that doesn’t make them straight!)
Ernest Holmes taught us to acknowledge the situation without sugar-coating it. He then went on to show us how to see the Truth that the situation, meaning an undesirable situation or attitude, need not continue. If we are constantly calling attention to our differences through politically correct speech that amplifies our dissimilarities then aren’t we still looking at the differences?
So how do we change our perceptions of ourselves and others? One way was suggested by Morgan Freeman. If you follow our Center on Facebook you’ll remember his quote and picture that I posted last week. He said, “How do we stop racism? Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.” (http://www.facebook.com/cslcv/)
I think we have to temper this with the understanding that we still need out gay people who aren’t afraid to say they’re gay (even if they may mean being arrested at the Sochi Games in 2014), as well as successful black men providing alternatives to negative stereotypes. And, there are plenty of other groups who want to be perceived more for who they are than what people expect them to be. Again, it comes with balance and really acknowledging the situation. It makes sense to ask ourselves, What will increase our experience of love, of peace, of tolerance and of acceptance? Just how attached are we to our labels that make us special and different while screaming for equality?
Forgive me for throwing an awful lot at you this week. It’s one of those blogs that I hope will make you think about the complexity of the society we’ve created. I’m a minister, counselor and teacher. I suppose if you need to know if I’m having a relationship with a male, a female, both or neither, then I’m sure that will come up. Otherwise, is it really relevant? It may be to some people, but more and more it makes no difference to me one way or the other. I used to say I’m not a gay minister; I’m a minister who’s gay. I needed you to understand how they are two different things. I don’t feel that way anymore.
I think I’ll just start being “just me” more and more and more without adjectives. If you want to know something about me just ask. I’ll probably tell you, or let you know I don’t think it’s any of your business. Be prepared for either and you will be neither offended nor disappointed. Along with my newly found identity, how about if I stop referring to you as my Asian friend, or my younger lover, or my retired minister, or my aging mother, or my what-the-heck-else. How about if I see you as the amazing, unique, dynamic and precious Light that you are? You can do the same for me, if you want!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,Terry
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
When we take responsibility for our life, I mean ALL of our life, we can easily slip into judging ourselves or wondering why we caused the current hot mess we’ve once again gotten ourselves stuck in. That’s when one of our well-meaning friends may say, “Don’t worry about it. It’s all good!”
Seriously? It’s all “good?” Tell that to the person who’s just been raped. Tell that to the person whose son has just been killed by a drunk driver. Tell that to the child whose beloved pet has just died. It’s not kind, it’s not loving and beyond that IT IS NOT TRUE! This kind of “everything is just wonderful” is what I call “pink cloud metaphysics.” Basically the person is so damn metaphysically high they are no earthly good to themselves or anyone else.
The co-founder of the Unity movement, Myrtle Fillmore, was told by doctors there was nothing to be done for her and she would die from her illness. But Myrtle heard a lecture on the power of prayer and how changing her thinking could impact her life. She began to study metaphysical principles in earnest, absorbing all she could read. She spent over two years sitting in a chair every day until she was well. She prayed and talked to Jesus, whom she visualized across from her in the empty chair. She lived many, many more years, much to the surprise of her doctors.
Now, if her condition, tuberculosis, was “all good” then why didn’t she just accept it and die like she was expected to? Today why do we treat or pray for anything if “it’s all good?” Why don’t WE just accept the disease, tragedy or problem as the way things are and go on the best we can?
That’s because it really isn’t “all good.” It never has been. Sure, somewhere down the road we often find a blessing in the most awful circumstances, or see how something good came out of loss. But the situation isn’t “good” or “bad” and this is why: It simply “is.”
We decide what is bad and good in our lives. Situations are simply there and then we label them. Some people seem to think that making everything “good” will make it all better. It doesn’t. It ignores the pain we are going through. It relegates our feelings to being wrong. It does, however, accomplish one thing. It allows the person saying it to ignore the facts and maintain some kind of holier-than-thou attitude because they think this makes them spiritual.
Ernest Holmes never allowed the facts to outweigh the Truth of any situation. When we say “It’s all good” what we are really saying is, “I don’t want to face the facts” or “I don’t know how to fix this.” When painful situations occur our job is to lovingly support the person through the experience, or allow ourselves to be supported. Rather than having a plastered-on Cheshire Cat grin, why not simply ask the person how we can support them? There is nothing for us to fix anyway. We are here to love one another and know the Truth. That Truth states that we can change our experience should we choose to do so.
In Religious Science we do not deny the condition. We acknowledge the situation, deny the necessity of it to continue and move to the Truth and healing. Ignoring the facts doesn’t make them go away, but neither does dwelling on them. In Truth, as Dr. Holmes once said, there is really nothing to be healed, only something to be revealed. Allow Spirit to move through you and reveal the Truth of whatever situation is currently vexing you. Then, in assured expectation, know that you are at peace. If you find you can use some assistance, please contact the Center. Our newly licensed practitioner, Sharri Johnson (Grandma Sharri) and I will be happy to support you through spiritual mind treatment!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Friday, August 09, 2013
There seems to be quite a bit of “muddy water” going around. According to some people in our news media all Muslims are terrorists; yet according to a recent report, most acts of terror in America were perpetuated by white, racist organizations who claim to be Christians. The issue of Russia’s recent laws against gays and lesbians has caused enormous controversy with regard to the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014; while the International Olympic Committee is being criticized for reminding our gay and lesbian athletes that any political statement (e.g., waving a rainbow flag) is prohibited until IOC regulations (the punishment being ousted from the Games), some of the warnings are no different from those given in 2008 for the Beijing Games due to possibly upsetting the Chinese goverment.
People are still arguing both sides of the Zimmerman case…well, at least some people. Many of us have gone on to the next “issue-du-jour” because new upsets are ever so more juicy and intriguing than some problems we been droning over for weeks. Wow…talk about a can of worms! So what’s a religious scientist like myself to do?!?
The answer, of course, is easy. That’s one of the benefits and joys of our teaching – the answer to every question is the same: Treat. Yep, good, old fashion Science of Mind prayer treatment that does one very, very special thing. No, it’s not a plea to an invisible old man in the sky who might (IF he’s not having a bad hair day) grant our wish. No, it is quite the opposite. Our treatments do NOTHING to God, or the Universe or Spirit, if you prefer.
Treatment changes our consciousness, our perception of the apparent problem, injustice or inequity. Doing that moves us toward understanding in solution. The answers may present choices we don’t want to make. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad I didn’t have to be on the jury for George Zimmerman, given all the facts that were reported by the media in spite of so much other very different information that was never revealed or used in the courtroom. At the same time I empathize with the plight of gay men and women athletes who have trained for years and given up any semblance of a personal or social life and now must decide whether to risk arrest or worse just to compete in the Winter Games.
These events (and so, so many more … I left out all the wars, women’s rights, global warming, gun control…etc, etc, etc) can do one of two things. They can put us in a state of immobility or reaction due to fear, anger, outrage or terror. Or, they can be an opportunity for healing and positive action. For that to happen we must first clean out our own consciousness. Scripture encourages us to take the rafter out of our own eye before attempting to remove the splinter from our brother’s eye. My spiritual grandmother, Helen, says it another way: “You can’t get clean water out of a polluted pipe.”
We have the power to make a difference, but pointing our fingers at others is not going to do anything except perhaps make us feel justified in our high-bustle and self-righteous indignation. Let’s make Grandma Helen happy and make sure worrying about all the problems in the world isn’t just a good excuse for ignoring what we really need to do: Give our own pipes a good cleaning out.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,