Sometimes my dreams are really, really strange. I take that back. My dreams are ALWAYS really, really strange. I just don’t always remember them long enough to write them down. By the way, I have never had a nightmare.
Last night’s dream stuck with me. It was kind of sad.
We were a homeless family living in a conversion van. By we, I’m guessing it was also Jaime and my daughter. There were a few more in this dream “family”, but I couldn’t really focus on them. In my dreams I have the feeling of the presence of others but they rarely resemble themselves.
Apparently, the economy was worse than it is now. Not only were we living in a van, but we had staked out a parking space beside a convenience store. There isn’t much odd about that, but rather than an ATM, the front of this convenience store had a “free for public use” microwave oven.
Navy Beans, mmmmm...
I possessed a bag of dry navy beans. This was apparently a precious commodity. I filled the bag the rest of the way with water and put them in the microwave. The problem was, in this neighborhood, there was a good chance someone would steal them. For some reason I had to walk away and didn’t want to leave the beans in the microwave unguarded.
Fortunately, I had my trusty guard bird, Jade. He wouldn’t let anyone take my beans. However, Jade might fly off if I put him on the microwave unattended. To keep him from flying off and to keep my beens safe I decided to put jade in the microwave with them.
I went back to the van to take care of some business and as I stepped out I realized what a stupid thing I had done. Jade could be killed!
Just then, an older man with Jade perched on his arm stepped around the corner. He started bitching me out royally, not because I had irradiated my best friend, but because he had been watching me for days and didn’t think I was giving the bird enough “treats”. I flew off the handle at the guy and Jade hopped over onto my arm.
He laid there panting slowly. His head was swollen and his little eyes had popped out of his head – probably from the microwave. I sobbed uncontrollably and awoke with tears on my pillow.
Isn’t strange how dreams sometimes wrap up right as you awaken?
If dreams have a hidden message I wonder what this one was?
Every once in a while I look at the search terms people have used in their favorite search engine, like Google, that eventually brings them to my site. Most of my web traffic is referred by facebook and Twitter and a small percentage is from people actually performing a search online. in the past month, there have been roughly 159 different search terms used. Most of these deal with ongoing struggle of Carol Ann and Laura Stutte and their fight with the insurance company that won’t pay for their home that was burned down.
However, this month there was a search term that made me kind of sad. Somewhere out there, a distraught mother or a father, desperate for help and understanding, sat down at their computer and typed the following phrase into Google: “sons gender identity disorder destroying my family”.
I wish that I knew who it was. I wish I could reach out to them and tell them that what define’s their family isn’t each member’s ability to adhere to expected gender roles, but love. This family doesn’t understand they are stronger together than when they exclude one of their own.
It makes me wish I had a page on my website specifically for parents looking for support for their kids…I should, but I don’t. I think I’ll work on that.
Oh, and Mom, Dad, whoever you are that’s looking for respite from your son’s gender identity disorder, please know your son is well as they can be, considering. Your son just wants to know that at one of the most difficult times in her life, she needs you to love her unconditionally while she grows into the person God made her.
I had known him through reputation only until he came to my home a few days before for a dinner party. Out of all the people there, Greg McKendry hung around with me all night and helped me prepare the gumbo and shrimp we were serving.
He was a faithful member of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC). He taught Dave Ramsey financial classes there. He helped out with maintenance and odd jobs there from time to time. He helped deliver meals to the elderly and shut-ins. He was responsible for having TVUUC host homeless families each month. During these times, families would be given a private room in the church where meals were prepared for them and recreation available to them.
It was from these interactions with the homeless that Greg found a child, a teenager that had been bounced from home to home because of his gender identity. Foster families couldn’t deal with an transgender teenager, but Greg and his wife Barbara took him in. The foster child has since blossomed into a beautiful young woman.
In my life, I can count on one hand the number of people I have met whose actions and life are Christ-like. I count Greg among those people. With a countenance of perpetual joy and caring, he truly emulated the example given by Christ.
In my “professional” life, I’m in a local business networking group and every so often I’ll meet with a member for lunch or coffee and have a visit. Today I met with a person who is a genius in his business life but whose work with the homeless in East Tennessee humbles me to the depths of my very soul. He very much loves and follows his personal Savior, Jesus Christ.
Unaware of my direct connection to this story, he told me of a meeting of community leaders in Maryville, where I live, at large Baptist church. This meeting was to discuss creating a local coalition to assist and minister to the growing homeless population in Blount county. This meeting happened soon after the shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC).
Upon his arrival and at the commencement of this meeting, the pastor of this church made the following comment:
“I was kind of worried when I heard about the church shooting in Knoxville last week. Then I found out what “universalist” was! Whew! For a minute there I thought we’d lost a fellow Christian, but we got lucky!”
My friend stood up and walked toward the door. When asked why he was leaving, he responded that it was obvious his assistance wasn’t needed. I’m sure his comment was delivered in the most kind and sincere manner – because such is his nature.
I can only imagine what was going through his mind this afternoon when he looked across the table at me as tears welled in my eyes and I choked as I tried to say something. I couldn’t. I hesitated and tried again to speak as I started to sob, “He was the most kind and loving man I had ever met.”
For me, I can still see the face of the killer as he walked into the church with Jaime and me. I can still hear the “boom” of the shotgun in my ears and smell the gunpowder in my nose. That first shot which took my new friend’s life as he jumped in front of a group of children to shield them from the buckshot with his large bear-like frame. Nothing can ever erase the images of children running out of the building covered with sacred blood of a man that gave his life for them.
As for Unitarian Universalists, I’d say the majority are Christian – not that it matters. They choose to worship outside the constraints of hateful dogma. They choose social justice and neighborly love as their worship of choice. Sure, there are others that attend: Atheists, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, etc., but they all have the same goal: love.
It has been almost three years since the shooting on July 27, 2008. Greg’s wife, Barbara has passed away from a sudden relapse of cancer. As I sit and type, I wonder, why is it that people like Greg are taken from us when he did so much good and people like this pastor are still with us?
Much to do has been made lately about donations to anti-gay politicians by national retail chain Target. At the time, there were nation wide calls for a boycott against Target.
This is surprising to many as Target has always seemed to be a gay friendly company. Human Rights Campaign’s 2011 Buyers Guide lists Target with a workplace equality score of 85. Compare that to Walmart’s score of 40. Many communities don’t have any choice for buying discount retail other than Walmart. In communities that do have a choice, the only other option is usually Target.
So what do you do? Buy from the devil that is notorious for treating their employees like garbage, flooding the United State’s retail markets with cheap goods from China, almost single-handedly destroying small town economies, and probably most culpable for a huge trade deficit with China or do you buy from the company that is taking the money you pay them to endorse politicians to take away your civil rights? It’s a difficult choice when the only choice is those two retailers. Myself, I will continue to shop at Target. Walmart gives me the willies.
“That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I’ve ever had in a business meeting,” Gaga told the music publication. “Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they’ve made in the past … our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they’ve made supporting those [antigay] groups.”
Apparently, Target couldn’t live by those conditions. They must have the freedom to support anti-gay politicians and legislation. Lady Gaga and Target parted ways on their “exclusive” deal. Again, there are rumblings for a boycott of Target.
In this day and age a boycott WILL NOT WORK against a national retail chain. First, you cannot guarantee participation and even if you could how much of an impact do you think it would have on Target’s bottom line. I mean the economy is rebounding in slow motion, but wouldn’t a decrease in spending at Target only show as further signs of a weak economy?
No, what the LGBT people and their allies need is the ability to show that the “gay dollar” has a value. You want to have an immediate and impactful affect on their financial reports. You want Target to see, in one day exactly what the gay dollar is worth and yield to ongoing demands for them to cease funding anti-gay efforts.
I’m surprised no one has thought of this before, but here’s how to do it.
First, we need a date. May 23rd, is to be the release date of Lady Gag’s new album. It’s only fitting that we pick that date to make our statement to honor a celebrity that has stood up for us time and time again. It also gives us quite a bit of time to prepare.
Between now and May 22, 2011, start buying the disposable cameras at the check out lane. They might be the Kodak Funsaver or the FujiColor QuickSnap. Your store may vary in what they offer. They range between $5-7 from my experience. On May 23rd, everyone take off to your local Target store and return the disposable camera. It’s as simple as that! This won’t be a boycott, it will be a…hmmmm…a returncott!
If they cost $5 each and 1000 people do this, Target’s financial report will show $5000 in returns on that day for that one item. If 100,000 participate, they will see $500,000. Hey people, that’s half a million dollars! The more that participate, the more impact this statement will have.
Here are some important things to remember though:
Target allows returns up to 90 days
There is a restock fee on digital cameras, but my local store assures me this does not apply to the disposable camera
DO NOT USE CASH OR CHECK! (and who uses checks these days?)
Use a debit or credit card. Each transaction costs Target money through their merchant services as a processing and transaction fee.
DO NOT USE THE CAMERA! (don’t be dumb)
Save your receipt (again, don’t be dumb). The return policy is usually on the back.
When you return the item, tell the clerk why you are returning it
Remember, this can only have an impact if there is a lot of participation. You are showing Target that you have money to spend, but you have chosen not to let them keep it. You will probably throw off their inventory and reordering: “Damn! This little cameras are popular lately. Order another 200 for the store.” Of course, after May 23rd, there may be a big sale on disposable cameras.
Share this plan on facebook, tweet it (use hashtag #returncott), email it. It is easy and in the long run it will only cost you a little it of time. However, wouldn’t it be cool to stand in a long line at the return desk on May 23rd watching everyone return a cheap disposable camera?
I just received an electronic flyer announcing a tribute to retiring Metropolitan Community Church pastor Rev. Bob Galloway.
You are invited to join us as we celebrate Rev.Bob’s ministry, contributions, and years of serviceto MCC Knoxville. We will honor Rev. Bob through music, guest speakers, and multimedia presentations. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Metropolitan Community Church
7820 Redeemer Ln