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Re: [Universal_Life_Church] Gay - Lesbian Marriage /Support Needed

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  • Tracy Heaps
    Very inspiring, thank you for this post! Rev. Tracy Petros Evdokas wrote: Hi, I have some thoughts to share with you in relation to the
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 30, 2004
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      Very inspiring, thank you for this post!

      Rev. Tracy

      Petros Evdokas <petros@...> wrote:


      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
      From: "topherpdx1969"
      Subject: Support Needed

      Dear Friends,

      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.

      God Bless
      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.

      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
      hates you.
      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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