Saturday, May 27, 2006
Still More About Music. Bill Gaither Does Not Stand On His Principals.
Here is news release issued by Rev Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Church and my take on the whole thing.
A Statement by the Moderatorof Metropolitan Community Churches
by The Reverend Nancy L. WilsonOffice of the MCC Moderator
CORRECTING THE RECORD:A Response To Bill Gaither's Comments AboutOpenly-Lesbian Christian Songwriter and Musician Marsha Stevens-Pino
May 26, 2006In early May, Gospel Music leader Bill Gaither, whose hymns appear in many church hymnals and whose concerts draw tens of thousands of concertgoers, distributed a public statement about Christian songwriter and musician Marsha Stevens-Pino.Marsha is an open lesbian described as "the mother of contemporary Christian music" by the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music, and a long-time member of Metropolitan Community Churches.Marsha, who has faithfully devoted her life to ministering to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons, has been called "Conservative Christianity's worst nightmare - a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, God-fearing lesbian Christian," by Christian Century magazine.Gaither's recent press release was intended to diffuse controversy over public statements he made before 15,000 concertgoers in Phoenix, Arizona in 2002. In his press statement, Gaither accuses Marsha Stevens-Pino of "misrepresentation" and describes Marsha's life as a "sad story."I am taking the extraordinary step of issuing a public statement on this matter, and am doing so for two reasons:First, many hurtful and false things are often said about gay and lesbian people of faith. And most often, we let them go. But there are some things we ought not to let go. Because Bill Gaither's statement publicly attacks a lesbian of deep integrity and spiritual faith, I must correct the misleading impressions in his statement.Second, there may be many young LGBT youth, as well as straight youth, who look up to Bill Gaither and who will believe what he says about Marsha Stevens, in particular, or about LGBT people, in general. They may be struggling with issues around spirituality and sexuality. They need to hear from us and they deserve to know the truth.Some background information may be helpful.The following facts are not in dispute: Marsha attended a Gaither concert in Phoenix, Arizona on New Year's Eve of 2002. She and her partner were invited backstage to meet Bill Gaither prior to the concert, and a photo was taken. During the concert, Gaither publicly recognized Marsha from the stage and referenced a song, "For Those Tears I Died," that Marsha had written. He sang Marsha's song from the stage during the concert and the 15,000 concertgoers who were present sang along as Marsha's song was the concert's final song, and as 2002 turned into 2003.Here's what is in dispute: During his public comments before 15,000 people, Gaither, a conservative Christian, made statements that many interpreted as supportive and affirming of gay and lesbian people of faith. Those comments sparked a controversy among conservative, fundamentalist, and evangelical Christians. Gaither now claims that his comments were not directed to Marsha as an openly lesbian Christian -- but rather, were general comments made to his audience and which have been taken out of context.Regrettably, in his current efforts to distance himself from his own public statements, Gaither's press response contains what I believe to be four specific misleading or erroneous statements.As Christians, we stand by the teachings of Jesus, who taught in Matthew 18:15, "If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell that person, and work it out between the two of you. If that person listens, you've made a friend." Marsha has written directly to Bill Gaither and asked for such a meeting in accordance with biblical guidelines. It is our prayer that such a meeting will take place and that this controversy will be resolved amicably between them.Because Marsha has devoted her life and ministry to the LGBT community, and because her ministry has been an outreach of Metropolitan Community Churches for more than 20 years, and because Bill Gaither's statements about Marsha were made publicly, I believe it is appropriate to correct the public record.1. Gaither claims that Marsha "misrepresented and misused" a visit to a Gaither Concert in Phoenix Arizona.This statement is not correct and contains no supporting evidence to back up this claim. A review of the video of the concert very clearly confirms Marsha's version of these events and her representation of what took place at the concert.2. Gaither claims that "someone snapped a photograph of the four of us, a picture Marsha has exploited on her Web site ever since."This statement is misleading; at the very least it leaves the impression that a photograph was unwittingly made of their meeting. Even a cursory look at the photograph clearly shows that Gaither, a well-known public figure, posed for the photo. Make up your own mind by viewing the photo on-line here.
3. Gaither's recollection of the event leaves out a crucial fact: His press statement makes it appear that he addressed general comments about God's acceptance to the audience. In fact, he clearly addressed his comments directly to Marsha.
Gaither's press statement describes his public comments from the concert stage this way:"Gloria and I were celebrating our 40th anniversary that night and we sang a number of songs that had been special to us over the years, including, "For Those Tears I Died." I mentioned, from the platform, that the woman who wrote that song "is here tonight." I then said that I love that song because someone "may have seen a grownup with a Jesus that maybe is pushing you away, that wouldn't let you in. And you were never good enough. The only Christ I know is the Christ in that song, with His arms out very wide, saying, ‘come to the water.’ That’s the only Christ I know-- come as you are."However, the statement is misleading. A review of a video of the concert clearly shows that Gaither actually addressed his remarks, not to "someone" -- but directly to Marsha by saying:"But we sang a song by a young lady who’s here tonight, Marsha Stevens…and Marsha, we have sung that song all over the country and I love it because you may have seen and grown up with a Jesus that maybe was pushing you away, that wouldn't let you in, and you were never good enough. The only Christ I know is the Christ in that song, with his arms out very wide, saying, ‘come to the water.’ That’s the only Christ I know. Come as you are." [At this point the audience breaks into strong applause.]This is really the heart of the controversy: His actual statement was made directly to Marsha and spoke of how Jesus Christ loves and accepts Marsha, who is an open lesbian -- his recent press statement makes it appear that he spoke a general message to the entire audience.4. Gaither's press statement, speaking of Marsha Stevens-Pino, claims, "Her story is a sad one."Nothing could be further from the truth. I have known Marsha for more than 20 years. Hers is a vibrant life that overflows with God's love and God's blessing.Marsha's life continues to be a remarkable testimony to God's unconditional love for all people, including lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons. Her life, her music, and her ministry have brought spiritual faith and hope to untold thousands of LGBT people. There is nothing sad about that -- rather, hers is a joyous story of God's grace and peace.I am mindful of God's words in Acts 10:15, "What God has pronounced clean, do not profane by calling unhallowed or unclean."This is the truth of Marsha's story:At the age of 16, as a member of Children of the Day, one of the earliest contemporary Christian music groups, Marsha wrote, "For Those Tears I Died," a hymn that continues to bless lives and which is sung in churches around the world. After years of prayer and study, Marsha came to know that truth that God had created her as a lesbian and loved her unconditionally in Christ. She found a new place of service and ministry in Metropolitan Community Churches. Marsha served on MCC's Elders' Task Force on Evangelism and, in 1993, went into full-time music ministry to the LGBT community. I have been honored to serve as one of her mentors, along with Rev. Elder Jeri Ann Harvey and Rev. Elder Freda Smith. For many years, Marsha ministered more that 150 times a year in churches around the world. She has recorded her own albums of Gospel music and her BALM (Born Again Lesbian Music) Ministries have produced two CD's of emerging LGBT artists. In 2002, she and her wife, Cindy Stevens-Pino, began upBeat!, the first-ever music ministry training program for LGBT Christian artists. Marsha and Cindy continue to travel and minister God's love in churches and concerts, from 50-75 times each year. In both 2001 and 2005, Marsha was honored with Pioneer Awards in spiritual music from GLAMA (Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards) and from OutMusic. Within Metropolitan Community Churches, she was the first lay recipient of the Purple Grass Award for excellence in evangelism. I am pleased to provide this testimony to Marsha's ministry, and to her integrity and spiritual commitment. In the spirit of understanding, I encourage Bill Gaither to retract misleading statements made about Marsha Stevens-Pino, and further urge that he accept Marsha's invitation to meet in person in accordance with biblical guidelines./signed/The Reverend Nancy L. WilsonMCC Moderator
It is obvious that Bill was trying not to offend the fundamenatlists out there, and to keep his sales from slumping.
I know Martha and Cindy and have heard of the night in question from them.
I have no doubt of the truth of Martha's side of the events, and there is a video of the concert which supports her.
I also have a copy of the photo taken that night which I posted here.. I ask you, does that look like a spontainous picture taken by "someone with a camera"or a deliberate pose?
Isn't Bills arm around Marsha's shoulder?
The main thing to me is that I know of a lot of very good people in our church who love Gaither's music. They also love and know Marsha.
Bill's apparent disregard for the truth and his apparent lack of ethics has hurt the feelings of a lot of his fans. I expected better of him. Does he only tell the truth when it is to his advantage?
When Marsha came out a lot of "christians" burned her music and tore her hymn out of their hymnals and mailed the pages to her.
So, as members of MCC who wish to support Marsha and who want to make a statement to Bill, should we burn his alums and mail him the ashes?
I will volunteer the little of his music that I have to start the flames. Actually, I prefer a newer style of praise and worship music anyway.
Think about it and pray for Marsha and Cindy, as I know this has hurt their feelings.
Pray for Bill also, as he needs it more. Has to realize that as a Christian leader he should always stand up for what he believes in.
Either he lied at the concert on new years eve or he is lying now.
More Music Stuff
Although I agree with a couple of the points he makes, I do feel that he might have gone a bit overboard on some of it.
He does have a point about the lying and waging war against Iraq to seek revenge for 911. It has been proven over and over that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the acts of terrorism.
So we invaded an innocent country to seek "weapons of mass destruction" that never existed. Meanwhile Al Queaeda was secure and far away..
Most of the accusations about Bush have some basis in fact, but some of rhetoric of the extreme left is even hard for me to swallow.
There is no doubt, however, that the administration has been involved in illegal and unconstitutional spying on American citizens in the name of "national security".
In fact, too me, there is one issue that to me points out that George W and Nixon have a lot in common.
They both have an attitude that they are "the emperor" and that the rules do not apply to them.
Anything they wish to do is ok, and is justified because it helps to reach their goals.
George can be expected to have this type of attitude when you consider that his mother said of the New Orleans refugees living in the Astrodome actually came out of eveything in a good position because they were poor befor and now they were recieving money from the government.
Actually, in retrospect, maybe I do agree with Neil on one thing..Impeachment of the President may be a good thing. Nixon deserved it and so does George.
As for the album, I operate the sound board at our church and I would be embarassed if I recorded something as poorly done as this album.
But it if you think his message is the important thing and you want to hear what he has to say buy it. Run it loud and boost the 1 K frequencies on your eq to make the lyrics clearer. It's worth hearing.
Here is a link to Neil's website where you can find out more about the album.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Not Ready to Make Nice or YEA For The Dixie Chicks
The country fans, showing that they are a bunch of puppets incapable of original thought, responded by boycotting the Chicks.
Country stations refused to play their music. They were kind of kicked out of the country music scene.
Now it has come out that they received death threats. The police had to escort them on and off stage at their concerts.
They have been severely chastised since then. Natalie even made an apology, saying that she was sorry she had made the remarks because they showed disrespect.
Now she clairifes that the remark showed disrespect for the office, but she doesn't feel that way anymore "I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."
She should really be jumping up and down shouting "I Told You So!"
Their song "Not Ready To Make Nice" has definite political overtones.
The line "I can't believe that the words I said made you jump clean over the edge". about sums it up.
Cnn has a good article on the new album at:http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/05/21/cover.story.tm/index.html
As for me the first thing I did after hearing the song was to rush to I Tunes and buy a download of the album...It's realy quite good even though I normally listen only to Christian and Jazz.
It is thought that the chicks are actually telling the country people "F--You!" with the song "Not Ready To Make Nice."
They are thought to be trying to cross over to a different audience.
As the article on CNN says, "By gambling their country careers on a change of audience its an undeniable fact that three women from Texas have proven that they have the biggest balls in Ämerican music".
Do your self a favor and buy the album its very good. Ecnourage your radio stations to play their music. "Balls this big "deserve support.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
WHAT THE JOKE REALLY SAYS
They are ignoring one of the most important principals that this country was founded on,separation of church and state.
This country was founded to let everyone have freedom of religion, or in some cases freedom from religion.
No one should try to force their own beliefs on the rest of us. The expression "It's a free country"has a very important point.
Our form of government was established to insure that every should have the right to live their lives in any way they choose, as long as they don't interfere with the rights of others.
The Amish have the right to dress in black and to drive a buggy down the road. But they do not have the right to force me to do so also.
By the same token, Muslims, Hindus, and others have the right under the constitution to live their live and to worship in the way that they choose.
The Chrisitan majority does not and should not have the power to force them to become Christian.
The fundmentalists have forgotten that principal. They currently have a lot of wealthy people backing them, and they are attempting to insert their beliefs on everyone else.
Our president and many in congress are currently involved in a campaign to force us to live by their rules. This is in direct violation of the constitution, and is a very real threat to the American way of life.
President Jimmy Carter has written a book on this titled"Our Endangered Values". subtitled "Americas Moral Crisis."
I would encourage you to read this book. I actually did not vote for Carter, because I felt that Nixon was a better choice for economic reasons. ( In retrospect, I Really Blew That One!) I do have to say after reading his book that his leadership is what we need today. His observations and his ideas are absolutely "right on
On a different note, for a different take on the recent phone spying scandal see: http://www.dearnsa.com/ its really a funny site about another case of the current administration proving their disregard for Americas constitution.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin,professor of law at AU, was requested to testify. At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Save The Internet!
The first thing is a box to click on that asks your help to perserve internet neutrality
It seems that the big service providers have come up with a scheme to make themselves lots of money while ruining one of the basic fundamental principals of the internet.
It works this way. Each big server or search engine will charge for preferential treatment.
Say you were to use a search engine (like Yahoo or Google) for a new audio device. There may be a small startup company which builds a device which is perfect for your needs.
There is also a big corporation who builds a device which, although not really suited for your needs, might be usable. The big corporation pays the search engine. So when you run a search the big corporations device is listed first..The start-ups device, because they cannot afford the preferential treatment, will be on the 8th page of results.
In other words, you will be steered away from what you were looking for towards the one with the money.
That is how you defeat the objectivity of the internet. Please contact your congressman and tell him you want to keep the internet objective. Its a basic principal upon which the entire net is based.
Say you were to search for the latest about the telephone spying scandal.
Instead of the legitimate news stories, AT&T could see to it that you are steered to posts about how wonderful they are and what a great champion of the people George W is.
It goes on and on.. The big problem is that the internet will no longer be a legitimate way to research things.
The results will always be slanted towards the money. Independent sites may take twice as long to load as paid site.
Please click on the box and go to the Move On.org site to read about this threat to the net, and how you can help.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
The NSA has built the largest database in the world according to a source quoted on CBS. "It's a complete database of every phone call made within the United States", their source said.
This was done without warrants in total violation of your 4th amendment rights!
Congressional leaders on both sides of the isle demanded answers. None were forthcoming, but Bush defended the NSA and admitted that he gave the ok to spy on a small number of Americans.
To make matters worse, Bush has nominated General Michael Hayden who was the NSA head during this spying program to be the new head of the CIA!
Hayden has said that he might resign from the Air Force because of criticisms of having a General in charge of a civilian agency.
Republican congressional leaders are slowly coming in line with Hayden's appointment. Trent Lott ( R) said that he would vote to confirm is nothing comes up to change his mind.
What does he call criminal spying on American citizens?
As for Bush's response about the constitutional issues, at one time he was on record explaining that the Constitution is more of a guideline, a suggestion, to be considered, and not a law . He considers himself above the constitution!
At&t , Verizon and Bell-South all co-operated with the government by giving the government total access to their records. Qwest is the only major telco to tell the NSA that they wanted to see their warrants.
So, what can you do about this?
1. Call or write your congressman and demand that the government be held accountable for their actions.
2. Call or write your phone provider and let them know that you do not like their giving up your private information in a totally illegal and
3. In November, vote straight Democrat. We must remove the evil doers from government and eliminate their supporters and party members who do nothing because they don't want to rock the boat.
Voting for an independent or a third party candidate as a protest may make you feel better , but since the person recieveing your vote will not be able to win and may actually take votes from candidates who might stand a real chance changing things.
We must bring about change.
We must also seperate Church and State again. The American way of life is in danger.
Monday, May 01, 2006
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED DAY !!
Several months ago I decided that due some reaction to my postings I would quit writing about politics and the radical right. It really kind of took my heart out the blog..
However I could not make myself stay away from the computer on this special holiday.
This is the third anniversary of Mission Accomplished Day in Iraq.
On this day George W Bush announced"My fellow Americans, Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
This is such a special day, Iraq is now free, we are welcome heros in the middle east. .
The weapons of mass destruction were all accounted for and were destroyed.!
It is so tranquil there now.
Yeah,Right!!!... in actuality:
38,861 Iraqai civilians have died in Iraq
2401 Americans have died as of May 1st
17467 Americans were injured and
209 coalition soldiers have died.
And look at the counter on left side of this blog for the financial cost.
This is all since the war ended.!
see the charts @http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~stephan/USfatalities.html
CNN has a good special report dated today at http://edition.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/05/01/iraq.poll/
I am so glad that we have such a wonderful leader in America!
This is the same leader who with his do nothing congress has allowed the oil companies to make windfall record profits on the backs of the American Middle Class.
Now he wants to give each taxpayer a $100. tax rebate.
But that money not coming from the excessive profits of the oil companies who should have to pay an excessive profits tax.
That money he wants to give you is YOUR money!
He doesn't have the extra cash required. He is giving it to you out of your future taxes!
Next year you will have to pay it back. It's a grandstranding b.s plan which is only designed to fool the masses into thinking he is giving them something!
When the Democrats wanted to tax the oil companies for their excessive
taxes the Republicans would not allow it to even be debated!
George has a 30% approval rating! 30%!
Thats amazing. I guess it proves that you can fool some of the people all of the time!
In case you may have noticed, I still get angry with W and his bandit congress.
I guess that every once in a while I will have to speak out and let the chips fall where they may.