Very inspiring, thank you for this post!
Petros Evdokas <petros@...
I have some thoughts to share with you in relation to the
letter from Rev. Christopher Martin /Topher - they follow
his letter below.
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004
Subject: Support Needed
As some of you may know Multnomah County, Oregon has been in
the forefront of the same sex marriage issue. On March 4,
2004 the county decided to start issuing marriage licenses
to same sex couples. This decision was made to uphold the
Oregon State Constitution that explicitly prohibits
discrimination against any group or individual Oregon resident.
I have as a member of the clergy, solemnized over 150 same
sex marriages in Multnomah County over the last three weeks.
This has been both rewarding and trying for me.
I am a Christian and believe that Christ would approve of my
actions as I am holding true to his teachings to love one
another. I believe that I am doing the right thing and I am
following the path that God has laid before me.
Today, I testified before the county commissioners in
support of their decision to end discrimination in Oregon
and uphold the Oregon constitution. After my testimony I was
confronted by several people that did not share my views,
some of these were clergy.
The clergy that confront me for my actions were so awful,
telling me that I am bearing false witness and what I
believe is blasphemous. Some went on to say that I am doing
the devils work and I am not a Christian. Some even went as
far as telling me that I am going to burn in hell for
support of gay community and this issue.
I believe that Christ taught love and compassion and that we
should forgive those that trespass against us. I simply
turned my cheek and walked away, I pray for those that cast
the stones and forgive them for their actions, however I am
very frustrated and feel very alone in my beliefs.
It pains me that members of the cloth, fellow clergy, could
be so exclusive and horrible in their words, all the time
hiding behind the Bible. I am frustrated and exhausted by
the constant quoting of biblical scriptures, Geneses,
Leviticus, and Romans but none of those that quote seem to
live the rest of the bible, ignoring the teachings of Christ
and focusing on the scriptures that support their cause of
discrimination and hatred.
How can a book that is the word of God be so exclusive to
serve the needs of them that confronted me and used to
support their hatred of discrimination? I believe that the
God gave us a choice from the start and the bible is just a
guide to help you make a choice that you can live with.
Please let me know your opinions on this subject and your
support is welcomed.
Rev. Christopher Martin
Rev. Christopher Martin,
What you are doing is god's work.
I'd like to remind you and all of our members, friends,
contacts, all of our extended ulc family, that the universal
life church has been blessing the union of lesbian, gay,
trans- and bi lovers in the eyes of the Divine and in the
eyes of the community since the very beginning. Even through
all the decades in the underground (as is the case in most
places of the planet right now), in terms of the
"illegality" of marriage between persons to whom the state
forbids the right to be united in love - the right for
lovers to be legitimately together as one - the universal
life church has been continuously performing many weddings
which the authoritarian state does not recognise. These
marriages are valid within *our* spiritual community! And
there is no law on earth which is capable of derailing what
We believe that love creates its own right to exist, its own
legitimacy, because it derives from an authority higher than
the state. We are dedicated to serving that higher authority
from which the All springs daily, even if petty human laws
are unable to comprehend or to allow the many forms that
love can take.
Love is the most direct path leading back to the Source of
it All - we are here to be servants and guides on that path,
sometimes doing maintenance work, fixing the pavement where
it may have gotten eroded, sometimes clearing the path,
sometimes defending it from encroaching "development",
sometimes helping others find their way on it, sometimes
just walking along it ourselves, lost in its Magnificence.
In the United States right now, there is an open battle for
the legality of Gay marriage (and the social dialogue has
not even been opened yet in terms of the "normalcy", or on
the legal status of polyamory unions; group marriage; unions
between lovers who are transgendered, transexual, identified
with their own, someone else's, or invented genders, or
non-gendered lovers, asexual or polysexual unions; or unions
between humans and other entities, be they inhabitants of
the natural or the metaphysical world; or even between
humans and spiritual entities - we still have a long way to
go in embracing and legitimazing All forms of Love as valid
in our human societies). In the US, parts of the state are
locked in defiance against other parts, drawn into the
struggle of the liberation movement against illegitimate
authority, and attempting to redefine this ancient
institution of marriage. There's no predicting how it will
be resolved, but the *essence* of the struggle needs to be
seen both in theological terms and political.
Civil liberties are at an all time low in the US right now.
It has become one of the most unfree, militarized
dictatorships in the world. All legal, constitutional, and
civil rights, have been eroded so much that they are thinner
than the paper they were written on. Any effort to expand
civil liberties, anything from the basic right to assemble
peacefully, or the right to expression, all the way to
subtle and complex issues of liberty, such as the right to
worship without interference, the right to love without the
state or society violating one's personal life, the simple
right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure,
any effort to defend and expand these rights right now is
god's work. They are humanity's birthrights, given to us
freely with the gift of life, and stolen from us by the
forces of the authoritarian state and by the system of
profits, both of those forces now clearly devoted in the
service of darker, disembodied "powers and principalities".
Sometimes, we find ourselves serving our community right
there on the edge of what seems "normalcy", and thinking
"how did I get here?". "Is this really my mission?". "How
did get involved in this?". The universal life church has an
we encourage self- knowledge, of course, we encourage the
process of self- clarification and we advocate that our
members and allies explore to the best of our ability the
"why" and "how" we become involved in controversial social
and spiritual struggle. But we also aknowledge that
sometimes, it is not possible to know, because there is a
Plan - an unfolding Process - of spiritual and social-
political liberation which is so wide, deep, and broad, that
it is often beyond our comprehension.
Every spiritual tradition, faith, and religion, has
somewhere in its roots a description of how inspired
individuals find themselves in the service of a spiritual
cause, discovering that through the exercice of Free Will
and spiritual service they found themselves in a flow of
events totally unexpected, or incomprehensible. And then an
agent of Consciousness appears and makes manifest that
there's a wider Cause, a deeper Process, one we could have
only chosen with an open heart even if our mind does not
clearly grasp it. Some of us discover that almost without
realizing it, we ended up defending the cause of Plants or
Animals or the cause of the "other" or of the "enemy" race,
some of us find that angels wove a "conspiracy of
Consciousness" guiding our actions even if we, as human
selves, don't really know where it all leads. Every
spiritual path and tradition aknowledges that this special
Calling comes to each person or to each community in weird
and mysterious ways; those who are dedicated to Pagan and
Pantheist traditions may find themselves in a conspiracy of
Faeries and Fungi, others, may be find themselves in
collusion with Saints or Elemental beings, and still others
may find that the landscape on which their path of spiritual
service lies, is mapped by significant coincidences, by
synchronicities of events and symbols that are full of meaning.
Even the most reactionary Christians are able to understand
and (hopefully able to) respect this. I hate to quote
scriptures, but we live under the boot of a global Empire
which pretends that its main ideology is christian - it has
made a perversion of christianity to be the dominant
ideology of our culture, and has declared our age to be one
of an eternal crucade. In this climate, sometimes it helps
to point to some of the Imperial scriptures. Even the most
reactionary christians should be able to recognise that when
members of the universal life church are "out there",
immersed in spiritual and political battles like the one
around the issue of Gay marriage, we say that this is god's
work because when god speaks to a spiritually awakened
person, sometimes the explanation for the mission is this:
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to
go and bear fruit - fruit that will last." (A quote from the
book of John, Chapter 15, verse 16).
If nothing else, when we find that our Calling brought us to
incomprehensible conflicts with representatives of petty and
illegitimate state or corporate authorities, there is plenty
of scriptural ammunition to explain - in their own terms, if
our own explanations are not being heard, if our own sense
of spirituality is not being respected - why we consider
this to be god's work.
And yes, this work stirs up the nest of hornets, and there
is hatred stirred up, and situations become pregnant with
emotional and physical violence. Sometimes our people are
killed, injured, jailed, exiled, driven to insanity, to
homelessness, to poverty, to suicide. It is still god's
work, and part of it is nurturing each other, taking care of
those of us who fall or get hurt along the way.
Even in the scriptures of the Empire, god speaks and
explains why this happens:
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me
first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as
its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I
have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world
Remember the words I spoke to you: 'Among those who have
chosen to Serve, none is greater than the One.' If they
persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed
my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you
this way because of my name, for they do not know the One".
(A quote from the book of John, Chapter 15, verses 18 to 21).
The Work is beautiful, it's gratifying, and it is
terrifying, when we practice it genuinely and honestly. The
forces we encounter on the way are tremendous, and while
we're on this earth, all we have is each other, a Sacred
Collectivity of seekers and fellow travellers united in Spirit.
Let's keep finding ways to make the best of it.
Courage! and embraces,
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