Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ken Mehlman Gay Revelation Mark a Shift in GOP?

Mehlman is Latest Former George W. Bush Administration Official to Support Same-Sex Marriage

Six years ago Ken Mehlman was running the re-election campaign of a president who sought a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Now he's the nation's most prominent openly gay Republican and the latest member of the George W. Bush administration to support extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians.Mehlman has been working as a fundraiser and strategist for the American Foundation for Equal Rights -- a group that supports same-sex marriage and is suing to overturn California's Proposition 8."In the context of doing that, some questions had come up and I wanted to answer the questions honestly," Mehlman told ABC News following his decision to reveal his sexual orientation in an interview with The Atlantic."When I was at the RNC I hadn't come to terms with it, I hadn't accepted it," he said. "My family and my friends found out about this in the last several months."
Mehlman joins former Vice President Dick Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush, and Bush administration Solicitor General Ted Olson in supporting same-sex marriage.
But whether Mehlman's high-profile outing and support for gay marriage will trigger a broader shift within the GOP is far from certain. The party's official 2008 platform still calls for a constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman.
And some of the early possible contenders for the Republican nomination in 2012 – including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee – all oppose gay marriage.
"I accepted his decision," former RNC chair Ed Gillespie said on "Good Morning America." "We agreed to disagree on the issue of same-sex marriage. But proponents of same-sex marriage within the Republican Party have gained an effective advocate."
Still, Mehlman's outing and newfound support for gay marriage rights is drawing criticism from some corners because of his history of opposing gay rights while simultaneously leading a double life.
"Ken Mehlman was going to low-profile gay parties. Ken Mehlman was dating men. Ken Mehlman was going to a predominantly gay gym. Ken Mehlman was living the life of a gay man, albeit deeply in the closet. He knew who he was," said liberal gay blogger Mike Rogers, who outed Mehlman years ago online.
"It was on the backs of the very people who Ken Mehlman now wants to be welcomed into as a community that he built his political career," he said.

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Fantasies and Fun Sex

Posted: 30 Aug 2010 04:08 AM PDT
20500 Jack and Matt are both buttoned-down businessmen and have been together for ten years.They’ve been inseparable since Jack picked Matt up one night after cruising him for hours at the dance bar they frequent. The seduction was hot: eye contact led to physical contact, then making out in a dark corner before heading to John’s apartment. It was such a trigger for them that they recreate it several times a year, 

One of them gets to the club and buys a drink and waits. The other arrives soon after.They begin a seduction in full view of the other patrons of the bar. They get all over one another, enjoying the attention they attract – who have no idea that this game is one these guys have been acting out for years. These guys have found that erotic games and role-playing can be great ways to juice up their sex life.

We all play roles. A role is a just pattern of behavior we act out in exchanges with others. Roles involve playing parts or conducting yourself in certain ways. We do this all the time at work, with relatives and in other situations – usually without even thinking about it. Sometimes, though, roles are conscious. We chose a role because we have found it turns us on, or it turns on our partners.

We gay men take sex so seriously that a guy’s status as a top or a bottom can seem like a defining characteristic.  

That can be liberating if it means that we recognize what turns us on, but it can also be suffocating. Who says a guy who mostly plays top never wants his butt tempted? Why do some bottoms feel like the top always has to make the first move? Going against type can be a big turn on and a great way to making sex boring.
Going against type can be exciting in other ways, too. Lots of guys who are aggressive decision makers at the office want someone else to call the shots in bed. Richard is a partner in a successful law firm, and you wouldn’t want to mess with him in the courtroom. In the bedroom, however, Richard is much more likely to be tied up and on his knees. He’s at his most aroused when he’s bound and gagged and looking up at the guy who is going to manhandle him this evening.

Who’s doing the manhandling? Meet Jeff, a nurse who is kindhearted and gentle while caring for patients at the hospital where he works. His bedside manner with this boyfriend is very different. Jeff is an aggressive and selfish sex pig, and Richard couldn’t be happier.

It’s hard to say why something turns us on. Maybe we’ve forgotten the gym teacher who turned us on when we were going through puberty, but wearing jockstraps still gets us going. Or someone asked us to go along with his fantasy one time, and we discovered we were pretty good at it. Or maybe it’s simply a way of balancing out the serious and responsible parts of ourselves with a role that feels out of character. No need to dissect it; maybe it’s enough to know that we want it.

Exploring fantasies does take a bit of guts. Joe is certainly not a shy guy, but he’s easily embarrassed when it comes to talking sex. “Talking about my fantasies isn’t easy,” he said. “For one thing, the other guy might get critical. It makes me feel exposed – like he’ll have something on me if I tell him what turns me on.” He realized this made little sense; how was he supposed to get his needs met if he didn’t let his partner know what turned him on? “I took a chance with Barry and asked him about tying me up. Nothing too kinky, but being tied and blindfolded has always been a fantasy.
“You know what happened?” he went on. “He told me his fantasies, too. It was f*cking hot. We decided to make the weekend ‘Let’s Make Our Fantasies Real’ weekend. Barry got totally turned on, we got closer as a couple, and I haven’t cum like that in at least three years!”

Some fantasies are variations on what you’re already doing – just a change of costume, say. Other fantasies involve a bit more risk. A desire for sex outdoors isn’t unusual, but unless you are sure you’re in a private place, you run some risk if you’re not careful.
If your fantasies are a bit wilder, remember to be careful. Safe, sane and consensual are the bywords of the leather community, and they apply to other folks as well. Protect your physical safety. Don’t take stupid risks. And don’t violate anyone else, either.

Take a look at the roles you play as a lover. Are you always the aggressive guy, or do you wait for the other man to make the first move? Are you quiet and reserved in the sack, or do people all over the neighborhood know when you’ve gotten laid? What would happen if you tried something different next time?
Roles can be great fun as long as we don’t take them too seriously. If a role starts to seem like part of our identity – and you can’t imagine doing anything outside of your routine – you may be well on your way to sexual boredom.
Check out how willing you are to try new things, or to talk about turn-ons with a prospective partner. Being open to suggestions helps turns sex into a creative act.

Single guys who always cruise the same bar in the same way are well on their way to getting stuck in a rut. So are couples where each person is sure he knows exactly what the lovemaking will look like before it even starts.
Remember: As long as you aren’t laughing at the other guy, giggling is OK. Giggles may become moans and sighs the second time around.
John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. - www.bodymindsoul.org.

again, muchas gracias, Miguel. . . . .at GAYTWOGETHER.COM

Monday, August 30, 2010

to Gary Kelly





WOW. . . .we have visitors to Justin Dunes by some 729 people!  From 10 different countries.  Imagine that?!
Goes beyond my wildest. . . .LOL  See the potential community for sharing. . . . ;-)

Pageviews by Countries
United States  
Brazi l             
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Thanks, Everyone. . . .and a thousands welcomes !                   
                                   Justin  O'Shea


Saturday I left late morning on a rather spontaneous 'road trip' to a birthday party.  One of the guys in our therapy support group on campus invited me to go with him to a friend's birthday party at Rockville, MD.

Sure!  Why not?  So we joined the south-bound traffic of the weekend vacationers/mall shoppers/ beach goers who all thought they would 'beat the rest of the rush'.  Of course we were all wrong.
Aside from a couple of slowdowns due to a couple accidents we moved right along. . .except as we approached and drove thru Maryland.  Apparently they are quite fond of toll boths as we passed thru and paid the toll four times. . .in the amount of I 95 passing along the Maryland shoreline.  Of course we had to pay the tunnel  toll for our passage under a portion of Chesapeake Bay.

Eventually we were on the beltline around DC heading to western Rockville, MD.  I learned an amazing bit of trivia:  there are more Asians than whites in Rockville!

We arrived a bit early for the 4 o'clock party but we weren't quite alone either.  Soon guests of all 'styles' began arriving.  Our host and birthday boy and his partner have a great variety of friends.
A number of them were younger [anywhere between 25 and 39 or so] Gasians [gay Asians] with their somewhat older Caucasian BFs/Partners.  Hard to tell the ages of Gasians anyway, as they remain younger-looking and cuter than their western counterparts.  I'd say a number of then looked to be my age.  One I thought was about my age was actually 39!  Keeeuuute.  hahahahaha

Nice guys and a good time with a great supper and even better birthday cake and ice cream.  I have a passion for ice cream which very often goes unsatisfied; occasionally I splurge.  ;-)

Lots of interesting conversations about all matters of consequence. . . .chatting about FOX's Beck huge " evangelical reclaim American honor to honor our fallen service personnel. . .with a few ideas stolen as cover-up for racism from Martin Luther King, Jr. . . .etc .etc. etc. .. " which we watched abit of on the suppertime TV news.  Then on to the party.  Rather mild and sedate. . . gratefully. . .and Ben and I hugged the birthdayboy "Good bye and thanks". . .and headed off to our friends home some miles away where we were guests overnight. 

I had a great night's sleep in a comfortable temperature controlled home. . .We all went out to breakfast and then head home, North, back to Campus.  We did manage to beat the going home traffic from all the East Coast malls, beaches and cassinos  and got back to campus at a very reasonable hour.

It was a fun, unexpected break.  Ben is a good travelling companion, and being in the same degree program in psychology, and long time members of our gay therapy/psych support group we had much to chatter about.  Made for a fast trip.

Today I met with Section 1 of the Intro Psych class I shall be working with this year.  The prof for whom I am TA and under whose supervision I work made the open intro to the psych program, explaining aims, goals, requirements, etc etc.  Then he introduced me as their instructor and work associate and turned it over to me to "pimp" the program and material we would be delving into this semester.  There are about 35-40 [I didn't count] young men and women signed up.  And fresh out of high school, man! do they kook young!  Did I look like them a few years back?  hahahaa  The two work sections I have are 2 among about 7 groups enrolled in the psych program as beginners.  The smaller groups works well for inter-personal growth and sharing.  Of course there are regular lectures for the  entire group.

So we are off.  I meet with the #2 group tomorrow.  Off n running. . .Yeeehaaaaaw.  And later this week I shall begin plans for heading home asap to "Cape Caaawwwddd and the Islands" for the long Labor Day weekend.

Caio, duuudes and duuudettes. . .


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Legal Comments of Prop8

Dear Justin--

     The Prop 8 litigation is taking an interesting turn.  The 9th Circuit has specifically requested that the litigants brief it on the issue of the Defendants' standing to appeal.  Standing to bring an action is very important in the law, because the courts cannot as a matter of policy grant persons the right to bring suit against someone unless they legitimately and logically have something at stake in the litigation.  None of the named defendants, starting with Schwarzenegger and Brown, wanted to defend it, even though it is the governor's job to enforce the laws and the attorney general's job to defend them.  Instead, they palmed the defense over to the christian rightist group that lead the fight for Prop 8.  Unfortunately, that group's status as merely a proponent of legislation is, in my judgment, not likely to confer standing to sue, which in this situation is peculiarly left in the hands of the elected officials charged with enforcing the law.  Apparently the trial judge requested that the standing issue be briefed, but the plaintiffs and the defendants refused to submit arguments on the issue, probably because the plaintiffs wanted a decision from a forum more prestigous than a U.S. District Court, and the defendants because they knew they were on shaky ground.  I predict the 9th Circuit will deny the appeal because of the standing issue.  That is not the victory on the merits which the plaintiff's seek from the appellate courts, but it will have the effect of making gay marriage legal in California.
~~  J  ~~

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"You make me SICK!"

Is Your LTR or Marriage Toxic?

A bad marriage may strain your health, as well as your relationship. Find out how to start mending it.
By Joanna Broder
WebMD Feature
You may have heard that married people tend to have better physical and psychological health, compared to singles.
But here's the fine print: People in unhappy marriages don't seem to get those benefits. In fact, their rocky relationship may make them less healthy.
For instance, a 2005 study showed that staying in an unsatisfying marriage may raise stress and worsen health. A later study showed that people in close, negative relationships are more likely to get heart disease.

That doesn't prove that a good marriage makes you healthy, or that a bad marriage makes you sick. But there's no question -- a bad marriage isn't good for you.
When Anastasia (last name withheld for privacy) married her first husband, she found him to be considerate of her feelings and supportive of her career as a budding recording artist. But things changed over time.

When she became pregnant, he refused to cook her the pasta and potatoes she craved because, as she recalls him putting it, the two foods didn't go together. She also says he once let go of their infant daughter's stroller from atop a hill, thinking it was funny. (Their baby was unharmed.)
Anastasia found that trying to express her feelings to the man who had vowed to love and cherish her became a continual exercise in frustration. He was usually dismissive, telling her not to take things so seriously. 

“I think the repressed anger and ... just my point of view not being validated, accepted... I think it kind of ruined my health, really,” she says.

Consider the Stress

"If you’re in a bad marriage, don’t underestimate the stress that you are carrying around,” says Sharon Rivkin, MA, MFT, a marriage and family therapist in Santa Rosa, Calif.
She says that if your day-to-day relationship is full of stress, fighting, or the silent treatment, "you are compromising your health every day.”

Some couples cannot make it, Rivkin says, like if one partner lacks empathy or is physically abusive to the other one. But she says there is hope for most couples, even if they have years of hurt and resentment.
Here are five of the most common bad marriage habits -- and how to work on them.

Keeping It All Inside

Every couple faces challenges, says Susan Heitler, PhD, a Denver psychologist who specializes in marriage and family therapy, but if you don’t talk about your problems, marital tension and the distance between you will only grow. 

Joy (last name withheld for privacy) recalls how she avoided conflict with her ex-husband, a recovering alcoholic, in part to protect his sobriety. “You almost walk on eggshells around somebody,” she says. “You want to make sure they’re OK and not wanting to drink and you don’t want to stress them out and you don’t want to start fights.” The strained communication ultimately led her to become depressed.
People who grew up in families that communicated well about problems “speak the language of cooperation naturally,” Heitler says. But many people don't learn those skills as youngsters and need tools for talking about sensitive issues in a safe way. 

Work on it: Improve your communication skills. Heitler, author of The Power of Two: Secrets of a Strong & Loving Marriage, suggests turning to books on communication, marriage education courses, or web sites for help. Marriage counselors are another good option, but Heitler says not all of them teach effective communication skills, so look for one who does.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

LOVE. . at First Sight ???

Posted: 27 Aug 2010 04:07 AM PDT
GAYTWOGETHER-100808-1w The poets speak of love at first sight. But can you really fall in love with someone you meet once? And if you do fall in love so soon, can you trust your feelings? Will they last?
Let me recap the debate that rages over this. Some say no. Love at first sight is mere animal lust masquerading as deep soul connection by those who need to justify their attraction. Why would anyone trust that? "It's a notion dreamed up by Hollywood romantics who like to air-brush the random happenstance of life until it looks like perfect, sweet destiny," says Californian Bill, 42. "Instant sparks and intense feelings are lust, or maybe puppy love. But they're not real love that comes from time, trust, and respect."
Others believe in the fate and romance of instant love. It happened to them, so it must be true. If love at first sight continues past the first year into the first decade, then who's to argue? "I met my boyfriend eight years ago and we fell in love instantly," says New Yorker Alan, 29. "Our meeting was fate. Our love hasn't changed, just grown."
Lovers may disagree, but what do the experts say? Can they help decode the mystery of what happens when you think you're falling in love with someone right off the bat (I call this the "Jerry-Maguire-you-had-me-at-hello" phenomenon)?
True love: Can it happen in half a second?
In his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell presents evidence that humans have a built-in pre-rational ability to size people up instantaneously, which could lead to feelings of love. "When you meet someone for the first time, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions," says Gladwell. He claims that "those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good."GAYTWOGETHER-042208-ptt
What's more, some scientists support the theory that love at first sight is real. But they stop short of predicting relationship success based on initial reactions. Anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D., author of Why We Love, studied the brain to understand what makes attraction such a fiery emotion. Her findings indicate that, just by a person seeing or meeting another, our human brains can experience a chemical reaction which may swiftly lead to romance. And Dr Lucy Brown, a neurologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York agrees with Dr. Fisher that love at first sight is a real phenomenon, but claims that other non-visual or chemical aspects of a person, such as mannerisms, voice, personality and social status, usually must come into play if lust is to evolve into love.
Letting the nay-sayers have their say...
So, if science supports love at first sight as a valid kickoff in the game of love, then why is there such objection to the notion? A few possible reasons include our tendencies to:
  • Feel gun shy--and with good reason. As the song goes, "Love hurts." The older we get, the more we experience disappointment in relationships. As a result, we become more cautious in our approach to love, and therefore, limited in how open we are to love at first sight. How can you trust something that once caused you pain?
  • Mistakenly equate love at first sight with successful long-term love. In Love at First Sight: The Stories and Science Behind Instant Attraction, author Earl Naumann, Ph.D., examined the possible psychological and biological explanations for love at first sight. He found that "love at first sight triggers" are shallow: physical appearance, personality traits and career potential are the top three. Since long-term relationships require compatibility, common interests and shared goals, love at first sight never guarantees love's longer-term success.
So while science doesn't yet have a definitive answer, maybe it's best to adopt the following attitude: "Understanding the brain remains one of the great scientific frontiers," says physics professor and USA Today science expert James Trefil. "And even though it may cost me my scientific union card to say so, if we never learn any more about love at first sight, it will be fine with me. Some things are just made to be enjoyed."
Maybe we should just treat love at first sight as a welcome hint. Give it a shot, whether it's an explosion of neurotransmitters or the undertow-like emotional pull of fate. Appreciate the feelings, which are a gift. But don't confuse the fast fire of love at first sight with the slow burning flame of a real relationship.
I never thought I'd quote Ronald Reagan, but his famous comment, "Trust, but verify," takes on a new meaning in this context. In romantic terms, it translates to "Believe with an open heart, but act with a cautious one."
Dave Singleton is the author of The MANdates: 25 Rules for Successful Gay Dating, and Behind Every Great Woman is a Fabulous Gay Man (Advice from a Guy Who Gives it to Y
Courtesy of Happen magazine, www.happenmag.com

Once again. . .many thanks to Michael @ gaytwogether.com

Free Condoms Now Available To First Graders In Provincetown, MA Share: Email Story Twitter Facebook Stumbleupon Add to Any by TheCameraObscura | June 24, 2010 at 12:26 am

  Hi GENTS. . . . .I posted a bit on this earlier. . .Now that a few more have got their feet wet posting here, I put this up again, and fuller coverage, to see how you'd weigh into this. . .for 1st Graders???????   Justin

Condom distribution policy starting in elementary school at Provincetown, Mass.

Tuesday, June 22nd 2010, 3:48 PM
A school committee in Provincetown, Mass. has adopted a condom policy beginning as early as elementary school.
A school committee in Provincetown, Mass. has adopted a condom policy beginning as early as elementary school.

Take our Poll

Condoms for kids

Do you approve of Provincetown's policy of distributing condoms beginning in elementary school?

Sex education starts early, especially if you go to elementary school in Provincetown, Mass.
That’s because the school committee has unanimously adopted a condom distribution policy beginning as early as first grade.
According to the Provincetown Banner, the program requires that students speak to a school nurse or trained counselor before receiving condoms.
The committee also directed school leaders not to honor demands from parents who object to their kids receiving protection.
Some members on the committee were wary because the program requires that students speak to school officials first.
But Beth Singer, the school’s superintendent, said she wanted to guarantee younger students get information on how to use condoms because there is no age limit.
“We’re talking about younger kids,” said Singer. “They have questions they need answered on how to use them, when to use them.”


dxp2718 (not verified)
at 04:55 on June 24th, 2010
(Unlubricated) condoms make really great water balloons.
Albert Milliron
I guess it is the conservative in me... but I think that circumventing parents is dead wrong.  IN America it takes a parents signature to get a Tattoo or ears pierced but one can get an Abortion (in some states) or grab a few condoms.  It is poor policy.
Vereena Kasten
Cathlene Noble
How dare any school think that is it okay to overstep the wishes of parents. The job of a school is to educate children not to raise them. Better be glad I am not one of those parents. I'd not only pull my kids out of that school, I'd pack up and move out of that effing town. I call for all parents of those kids to have a staged sick day, keep all your kids home from school to send a message to the school board.
OMG, what do a 1st grader need with the condom!? This is sending them a wrong messages. We are teaching them its ok to have sex at a young age as long as you use a condom. Plus theres a possibilitie the condom will break and cause you to get pregnant or the STD. Yeah it good that they are having sex ed at the very young age, but shouldnt we encourage kids to wait until marriage to have sex. What are we teaching them about morals and self-respect? Im disappointed in the messages these authority figures are sending to our youth.
Ya, such a programme will reduce the number of 1st graders having unprotected sex.

Before posting a "report", it would be helpful to have more direct knowledge of the situation. The policy is not as was picked up and spread by the media. While there was no age or grade level specified in the school committee policy, there was no intention of promoting this to elementary school students. Talk radio has jumped on the story, like playing telephone, exaggerating it with every re-telling. Get the facts before spreading third-hand stories. The school committee will be revising the policy to make the age-appropriate specifications clear.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

School Days. . . . . . School Daze. . . .

Good Morning Everyone. . . . . . .It is 63*f, with 88% humidity.  Wouldj'all like a slice of the mush pie? Please. .  . . Please. . . be my guest.  Today the color blue is much preferable to black.  Nature has given us enough dark shades.

Yesterday's pounding surf has quieted down quite a lot.  It was awesome. . . standing out in the dunes, in our backyard, really, was awesome. . . .wind blowing, looking down the high banks to the beach below, the high  waves waves crashing onto the beach. . . loudly pounding the shore. . . . just that wonderful feeling of "being in it" and still "being safe". . . .NICE!

Doesn't seem to be much erosion on our beach. . . the rocks are still there and the sand seems relatively free of debris.  Sometimes after a hard storm the beach is rather cluttered with all sorts of "treasures". . . .The sun might even come out later on today. . . .it's UP there. . . . 

ROAD TRIP>  A little later today I will load up my FIT. . .Honda Fit. . and head back to campus for a few days.  I plan on being home in good time for Labor Day weekend.  Mme Bouvier (my gramma) says she's like some company.  (I am an not-for-profit guest in her home.  I have my own apartment at one end of the house, with my own entrance if I am coming in later.  Gram is very discreet. . . she never comments of any late-night arrivals.  Claims she never hears me. . ;-)
She loves having "someone to cook for" and loves it when Peter arrives for the weekend. "Ahhh nice. . both my boys are home!"  We love her loving fussing over us, and Gram is a wonderful cook!

I want to unpack my stuff and settle it into my space.  Then I will mosey on over to campus and hunt down my mentor and some others in the psych department who prolly with me roaming around somewhere or t'other.  I want to chat up my mentor [for whom I am a TA . . teaching assistant. . . .this comes with a stipend, btw. . ;-) ].  Under his supervision and guidance I teach two sections on Intro Psych three times a week.  I had one section last year and they had asked me to take on a second. . if I could. . . So, of course, Do-All-O'Shea agreed.  I hope I haven;t bitten off more than I can handle.

I was chatting yesterday with one of the guys-en-blog about that and he asked me if I found the more I had on my plate, the more energy I seemed to have to work on it. . . And I guess that is true. . . .I guess. . . I can 'rise to the occasion' I've observed.

So I want to look into the line-up, class sizes, etc. . . and organize my class stuff for the freshmen and freshladies. . . .and check into my own program.  This is finish up semester on my Masters. . .whuuuuuuuaaaaahhhhhh !

I will be sure to get all your postings "approved and online"  and report in on all major and news-breaking events as the slosh down on the world of academia.

Ciao ciao ~~~

Look how the light hits his eyes. . . . .sees right thru me. .;-))

Sunday, August 22, 2010

re" "SHAKEN. . ." and. . ."GUILT"

THANK YOU ALL very much for your comments and opinions, varied as they are. . . .and I am sure there are many unwritten here.  ;-)

There are a lot of personal ideas I could write about. . .here are a couple simple ones. . .

Yeah, COOP, the regular format remains the same. . .same parts and structure. . .but it ALL depends on what is going on in the mind and heart of each person there, as part of the community.

Sure there is a sameness so we all don't have to try and figure out what and how we are going to do the worship service.  OK. But my question is: WHAT is going on in your mind and your heart. . .or are you there as a "blank" physically present but no one is home?  What do YOU bring?

So if you have a community of involved people who want to be there. . .well, have you ever experienced that?  Have you ever thought it important enough to FIND a faith community where you fit in and in/by which you are "shaken", fed and nourished?

GUILT..  Now let's share a few ideas about this extremely important element in one's life/psyche/soul.  First off, I want to nudge my buddy COOPs. . just a little. . ..Buddy, guilt is a special "trait" of  Irish Catholics. . .
They/we seem to specialize in "Catholic Guilt". . . .. ;-)  [ I think the O'Shea's somehow missed this special 'genetic import' due to the very strong Bouvier genes.  I have heard it said " The French do not care what you DO as long as you SAY it correctly."  hahahaaa

Now that said, let me be serious a bit.  "Why do I feel guilt?"  Well, have I done something wrong?  If I think "No I didnt do or say anything wrong". . .why am I feeling guilty?  NO reason for that.  IF I have done something I think/know is wrong, then I should feel guilt:  Why?  Because I have acted contrary to my knowledge, beliefs, conscience.  So, go ahead. . .enjoy your guilt.  You earned it.  hehheee

No one else can dictate/make us/me feel guilty.  It is my decision - no one else's - when I choose to do something I think/know is wrong. . . .when I choose "to commit a mortal sin."  NO ONE else can do that for me.  So I need to take responsibility for my actions, choices, decisions.

So I have to deal with my own guilt. . . the guilt I choose to feel as the result of the responsible decision to be accountable for my wrong actions.

Because guilt is such an emotional activity, I have tried here to express my ideas as simply and clearly, trying to state things free of emotions.  When I do not deal with my guilt in a healthy way it is going to hurt me, bother me. . . .so usually  I will handle my guilt by denial and cynicism.  For good mental health those two are not recommended.  ;-)


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shaken Up

I like this article.  My parents like this article.  In their college years and after they were Christian Catholic Activists.  This gives the basic reasons why I go to Church...   Justin

Shaken up so we can pour ourselves out

Spontaneity is an essential part of liturgy

Aug. 21, 2010

(NCR photo/Casey McCorry)
The following was edited from remarks delivered at the Celebration Conference on Effective Liturgy in Chicago, July 21-23, 2010.

Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement taught me something about liturgy. Remember those scenes in places like Selma or Birmingham, Ala., with the police dogs and the fire hoses? When those ordinary folks were marching, singing and facing incredible horrors -- the vicious dogs that were attacking even the children, the fire hoses that were coming out with such incredible force -- I asked, “How did they do that?” Here’s what I found out.

Before every single march, those people gathered together for liturgy. They had church.
Before they would step out to march or do anything, first they had to come together to pray as a community. They had to sing songs. “Oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn. Oh, Mary, don’t you weep, don’t you mourn. Pharaoh’s army got drowned. Oh, Mary, don’t you weep.” They knew that Pharaoh’s army was waiting for them, and when you know Pharaoh’s army is waiting for you, you have to sing a song like that.
They didn’t need some cantor begging them to sing. The preacher could not afford to deliver a dull, lifeless sermon. That preacher knew it was his responsibility because he was hearing the word of God himself, and he knew that at that moment, God was saying, “Get up. Come. Walk with me.”

So church -- liturgy -- became necessary, not to get to heaven, but to get through life.
It seems to me that we can’t ever do good liturgy unless first we have some idea of why we are coming together in the first place. I do a lot of parish missions. When I start a mission, one of the things I always ask people is, “Why are you here?”
They say, “I come here to praise the Lord.” I reply, “You don’t have to come to a church to praise the Lord. You know that God is everywhere.”

Or they say, “I know I’m going to die someday and this is like my ecclesiastical insurance policy.” I always tell people, “If you are coming here in order to save your soul, you’re trying to buy what’s already been given to you, for I believe that the grace of God is such that he has purchased your soul already. There is nothing you can do to earn what God has already given you.”
People look at me as if to say, “Well then?” I always say these three powerful, prophetic words from scripture: “Here I am.”

God called Moses. He said in effect, “Moses, Moses, I want you to partner with me. I want you to become my mouth, my eyes, my ears, and I want you to go out into the community and the world and I want you to make a difference in my name. I want you to tell them you’re there because I sent you.”
Moses answered with these three words: “Here I am.”

If you don’t know it from scripture, you know it from the song. “I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. I have wept for love of them. They turn away, but I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. I will give my light to them.”

And then the question. It’s not a rhetorical one. It is a real question from God to us. “Whom shall I send?” I ask, “Have you come here today to say to Almighty God, ‘Here I am. What is it you want of me? What is it that you need of me? Tell me. Here I am’?”

John Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” I ask congregations what this world would be like if everyone who walks through these doors today said, “I am not here today, God, to ask what you can do for me. I am here to ask, ‘What can I do for you?’ Here I am, Lord.”

The changes we are seeing in liturgy fail to take into account that while we are all brothers and sisters, there are things that are different culturally about many of us. Not better but different.
How do you know in a black church when Jesus becomes present? In the black church, the preacher will start preaching. Jesus is on the way. The mood in the church starts to change. Jesus is just outside. Suddenly, something happens to the preacher where he can’t stand still anymore. The church starts to move. Jesus is at the door. Suddenly, the preacher can’t say his words anymore, and he starts to sing. Something is happening now. Jesus is here.

We seem to be squeezing out any possibility for such spontaneity -- which is essential for people -- if every word has to be pronounced exactly, if there can be no commas or anything slightly out of place.
People need to feel. There are things that we genuinely need to feel in order to worship, because we feel racism. We feel hatred. We feel pain. We feel anger. We feel frustration. We need to have a service that lets us feel the love of God, that lets us feel God’s power, that lets us feel the negative stuff so we can feel the positive stuff that comes from Jesus Christ.

We must also, even liturgically, deal with the issue of women. Let me tell you why. In our minority communities, because of the devastation that has taken place for so long, a lot of our black men were not there. So we were led by these strong, powerful, loving women.

We see our mothers and our wives as being powerhouses. The church has got to understand that they can say anything they want, but in today’s world, if you say, “Because you are a woman, you cannot be ...” what? Fill in the blank. A doctor, lawyer, firefighter, police officer, pilot, teacher, member of Congress? There is only one thing that I can’t fill in: “Because you are a woman, you cannot be a priest.”

The church has to understand that if you are saying, particularly to minorities, “You either accept this or go somewhere else,” what is happening is we are going somewhere else. We have to stand up and talk about this stuff. When you say, “Because you’re a woman, you cannot be this or that,” you better have some really good reasons. I’m not sure it’s because you can say Jesus had 12 men as his disciples and from that, he meant for you to infer for all eternity they were alone worthy to be priests. As a liturgist, I know the symbolism is having a devastating effect.

Look at a bottle of Italian salad dressing, not the creamy kind, but the kind that has oil at the top and all the good stuff at the bottom. That looks like a lot of Christians I know. If you want that salad dressing to be good, what do you have to do? You have to shake it up.

This should be happening in liturgy. I ask people, “How many times have you come to Mass, received the Eucharist, heard the word of God? How many blessings have you received in your life? How much have you gotten and, still, on the outside, you look lifeless and dull? If you stay motionless and still, all that good stuff just sits there.”

So you shake it up, and then what do you have to do? You have to pour it out. Once you pour out all that goodness, your vessel is empty. So when you come back to the house of God, now you’re hungry. Now you’ll want to hear, “All right, God, what you gave me last week, I poured out. What do you have for me this week? Let me hear the word of God this week.”

If what you heard there is enough to shake you up, then you do something with it, you pour it out into a hungry world or a church that we love that needs to hear your voice. It is up to folks like us to make sure we shake the foundation because that’s what Jesus Christ did. He shook us.
How many Masses do we go to where we settle for feeling lifeless? We need to be shaken loose. We need to be shaken up so that we can pour ourselves out.

[Grayson Warren Brown is an internationally known liturgical composer, author, recording artist and speaker. He has published six collections of liturgical compositions.]