From Prodigal Son to Teacher. – A Wednesday Testimony from Oaxaca by Rob Scott, CS

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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I had an opportunity to prepare some of the teachers recently for the upcoming TOEFL exam which we were required to take at the university.

As a result, an opportunity presented itself to have one of the teachers from this group speak on how he turned his life around.

He overcame gangs, drugs, rehab and the county jail.  Perhaps his story could inspire and help others.  Below is a brief description of his talk.

First, there was no mention of a mother and father in his life at the time when he fell into gang activity or him having any faith and spirituality.

Hmmmmm.

Sounds familiar to so many stories of so-called lost youth who lacked the major support systems, such as God and family.

He was simply out riding his new bike to the park one day where a local gang gathered.  He befriended them and it wasn’t long before he was part of their gang.

He quickly became involved in drugs, fighting and other gang related activity.  He spoke fondly of their nicknames like “Scooby”.  This all took place in the United States when he lived with his grandmother in California.

He spent time in and out of the county jail and rehab over a period of several years.

But something serendipitous happened with all the free time he had on his hands.  He read the New Testament from the Bible five times as it was his only companion in his jail cell.

He slowly began to feel that after all he had been through something greater than himself was with him whether it is called God or a higher power.  He also felt that this presence was somehow guiding him and with him during his darkest hour.

What he did next in the class moved me to the core.  He pulled out and read some of the his poetry which he wrote in the county jail years ago.

Below is only a couple of the poems he shared with our group that day.  He gave me permission to post them.

“Dear Lord,”

Tell please why do we sin? Why do we kill? Help me please not to feel like death is the only place where I’ll find Internal peace lead me please to a place where I’ll find myself at ease with my boys and girls by my side shedding no more tears because we use the same old dope that makes us fall back to hell where we were born.

“Save me please”

From my sins, and miseries that are pushing me away from my friends, and my love ones to a place a pray no other soul will ever see a place I pray that it was made just for  me to live.

After he finished reading,  I looked around the room as the reaction was mixed from the various teachers.  One younger teacher yawned.  Some were very curious and asked why he would even consider joining a gang.

Remember, there was no mother and father or faith and spirituality in his life during the time he joined the gang.

He also questioned himself as to how he got detoured like he did for so long on a path of destruction as all he wanted to do was to go to school and play football.

I think it is impossible to see oneself.  The analogy shared with me is that it is like trying to look at a herd of animals through binoculars.  You just can’t see yourself.

I just listened without judgement.  To me, it seemed that perhaps the gang filled that void of not having a family as well as his need for belonging and acceptance.  I had the feeling a few of the other teachers were able to “get it” too.

Regardless, he found his way out and left behind the gangs, drugs and years of rehab.  He went on to become a good teacher.  He was the most respectful person in the class of teachers while I was preparing them for the exam.  He even would ask me for permission to go to the bathroom.

I feel his story needs to get out if presented in the right way and at the right venue to help and inspire others.  We don’t hear enough of these success stories.

During one of my classes which I taught recently I suspected drug use among a few of the students and one student even mentioned he was friends with a “narco” or member of a drug cartel here in Mexico.   We even lost one classmate along the way to drugs.  I remember him speaking in one of my previous classes that his father was his hero.  He also stated he has not seen him in over ten years.  I can’t help but wonder what will become of him.  Perhaps some of the inspiring videos or discussions will have planted a seed.

I approached our school facilitator and asked if I could bring that teacher to speak to my class to share his story and perhaps get the class to think about the consequences of their decisions which will master their lives whichever direction they take.

This teacher is into weight lifting and not only looks intimidating but also commands resect when he talks. I feel people would have listened to him.

But my idea was vetoed because the concern was that the teacher’s backstory would make him look bad and bring negative judgement upon him.

He was confident sharing his story and even gave me permission to use his full name in my blog.  But to respect the school administrators I decided not to list his name.

Perhaps this teacher is an excellent example of the lost sheep or the Prodigal Son returning home.  Both of whom were as, if not more, worthy than the 99% self-righteous.  Perhaps some lessons just can’t be learned in our Father’s house.

Jesus “church” happened on a mountainside, a marketplace, or in someone’s home. “When people talk of church today, it’s often in reference to a physical structure,” writes Ethel Baker in this Sentinel’s cover story. “But to Jesus,” she adds, “church hinged on one thing: the ever-present Christ, the truth and spirit of God and His creation” . (From the January 17, 2011 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel)

My HOPE for my students when they leave my class and move on is that they all have good lives.  I can see the sacredness in them that I was unable to see in myself at their age because like some I believed the lie that I was “less than” or “unequal” for being different.  Sometimes the worst kind of bully can be one’s own mother or even a teacher in class instruction.  Both of whom stated we don’t want gays in our family or churches.

I honestly believe that God, Jesus or Mrs. Eddy would respond to them by saying: NOT IN MY NAME!

Perhaps this like so many other of my posts is a prayer for all those who didn’t make it,  didn’t have a voice or just suffered in silence.

Perhaps it’s also time for forgiveness.  Somebody once told me if you don’t know where to start then start with yourself and your own family.  But what about the train wreck left behind I asked?  Well, then look at what Christ Jesus went through.

May God Bless us all and the people we serve.

Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL Mankind.

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Trust in God’s love – A CS Perspective + Oprah Video

 

GOD loves you Oprah… God loves us all because He can’t deny that He is love itself.

Maria

 

Video – Oprah Winfrey Master Class Surrender

When you have worked as hard and done as much and strived and tried and given and plead and bargained and hoped – Surrender. When you have done all that you can do, and there is nothing left for you to do. Give it up. Give it up to that thing that is greater than yourself and let it then become a part of the flow.

Trust in God’s love

From the November 28, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

How does one cope with the loss of a loved one? I had to face this challenge when I lost a close relative, whom I had lived with for many years and had companioned with on many joyous adventures. I was left alone in my home, without any immediate family close by, and I was wondering what was ahead of me for the rest of my life.

I had relied on Christian Science throughout my life to meet my needs, so I knew that, even though I was grieving, I could view this time as an opportunity to really trust and listen for God’s guidance. Often I was literally on my knees with soulful and sometimes tearful prayers, but I prayed daily to understand that God was the true source of provision for all my needs.

Whenever loneliness or fear tried to dominate my thought, I would recite one of my longtime favorite Bible passages: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

Mary Baker Eddy has a wonderful statement about love: “Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power. As a human quality, the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows; the veiled form stealing on an errand of mercy, out of a side door; the little feet tripping along the sidewalk; the gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow, and thus lighting the dark places of earth” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 250).

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J.K. Rowling with Eddie Redmayne at Carnegie Hall – Love is the answer to healing & saving our children.

 

“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need”.

Mary Baker Eddy

(Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy, p. 494)

 

Video – Published on Nov 15, 2016
“What’s happening across the developed world is, disaster hits and families are immediately pulled apart. We’ll take those children from you – now imagine that, in the wake of a disaster, that people come to you and say that child will get fed – only if you give me that child.” Watch the full 27 minute conversation between J.K. Rowling and Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne at the advance screening of the Warner Bros. feature film ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’.  To support Lumos you can donate here: https://wearelumos.org/donate

Lumos

There are two themes that ring out clearly from the hundreds — actually thousands — of stories I have read this month: first, that we all deeply desire to be known and loved by our Creator God, and second, that we all desperately need to know that the people we are closest to, our families and friends, love us just because we breathe.  Pretty simple, right? 

 Linda Robertson

 JustBecauseHeBreathes.com.

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I suspect you have been loving to gay members but still approached them as in NEED of healing for being gay or lesbian which would make them feel less than acceptable as if they are broken and in need of being fixed.  

Name Withheld, CS

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We tell our story to anyone who will listen for one reason only: We are trying, in our own small way, to do something right. By exposing our own grave errors, we pray that others will learn from us and treat their own children differently. We pray that it won’t take them six long years and losing their child to drugs and the streets in order to wake them up to the truth that every parent must love their children without any condition. Our children learn to love themselves through the love that we have for them. And a child who is told “I love you, but I do not love your sin” does not hear love. He does not learn to love himself or that God loves him. Ryan did not. None of the thousands of gay children who have written to me has heard love through those words. None.

 Linda Robertson

 JustBecauseHeBreathes.com

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“I think it’s important that scared gay kids who aren’t out yet see hate speech challenged.”

 J.K. Rowling

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Cover Article

‘Love is the answer’

By Holly Safronoff

From the October 8, 2012 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Several months after my sister’s passing, I found myself wondering why she took such drastic action [suicide]. At one point, I was standing in a crowd when it hit me: She did not feel loved. At that moment a love for every person around me fell over me. Everyone deserved love. The idea that I must love all without prejudice, no matter how much I might struggle with the suggestion to act otherwise, became a command.

This unconditional love was a manifestation of God, Love, translatable to all of my interactions with others. I can always find the way to love others (myself included!) meekly, without fear of suffering. Love was, and is, always the answer.

"Peaks" by Tony Lobl

A Thanksgiving Lesson With Judy Olson, C.S.B.

Dear God … Thank You for being You

From the November 21, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel by Judith Olson

I’ve always loved the old folk tale about the devil going out of business, selling all his tools. [There on display and offered for sale were the rapier of jealousy, the dagger of fear, and the strangling noose of hatred, each with its own high price. But standing alone on a purple pedestal, gleaming in the light was a worn and battered wedge –The Devil’s Wedge – Earl Nightingalel.]

And the most worn and highest priced one? It was a harmless-looking wedge called “discouragement.”

When asked why it was so expensive, the devil explained it was because it was his most valuable: “I can get into a person’s heart and mind with that one when I have no success with any other tool. Very few know that tool belongs to me.” Asked if there was a heart he couldn’t get a hold of with “discouragement,” he said, “Yes. A grateful one.”

I was at a low ebb—so discouraged and depressed, then physically ill. I’d always considered myself a grateful person, was always thanking God for every speck of good, etc. But now, thinking on this folk tale, I realized I hadn’t been alert to the “devil’s” taunts (in my case the sneaky thoughts that challenged the omnipotence of God, divine Love). They were chip-chip-chipping away at my thought till all that was left was a blue funk of self-pity.

So what did I do? First I talked right back (as Jesus did when he said, “Get thee behind me, Satan” [Matthew 16:23]). I said, “You can’t use ‘discouragement’ on me one more second!”

That was the absolute end of my blue funk and illness. Ever since then, the Bible’s reminder, “And be ye thankful,” is more precious and important than ever to me. I learned a lot from that experience. I learned that gratitude is more than a mealtime grace or holiday acknowledgment; it’s unceasing prayer—a constant, consistent recognition and appreciation of God’s nature, and of His guiding, guarding, governing of all.

Much has been written and spoken by pastors, doctors, educators, social workers, business and community leaders too, about the benefits of gratitude in our lives and its link to health, happiness, and success. Yes, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that genuine gratitude is powerful.

The Bible is also full of accounts of people whose lives were transformed by gratitude, their difficulties overcome by it, their health restored by it. I love the Old Testament account of Jacob who, when feeling so alone and cut off from all good, exiled and en route to Haran, has a ladder vision (see Genesis 28). (No matter how far we feel from God, God’s grace always reaches us.) On this ladder came an angel, or God-thought, to Jacob—God’s promise that He would be with Jacob in every place wherever he went, would never leave him, would care for him and bring him back to his land.

  • Note -Special thanks to Judy Olson who gave us a private tour of the entire First Reader’s Residence (see photo below) during the Christmas/New Years holiday season 2015/2016.  It was a gift that meant the world to me during a very difficult time in my life.  I will always remember sitting and talking in the front parlor with her where Mrs. Eddy use to accept visitors. Love was right there with us.  That gift was then followed up with the creation of this website as another holiday gift during that same trip to Boston. Many examples of healing followed that visit as evidenced in this blog.

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Thanksgiving Lesson: Live to Give! by Virginia Harris, CSB

Thanksgiving Lesson: Live to Give!

A national appreciation of the importance of gratitude in daily life, memorialized by a federal holiday, is quite a gift to citizens, don’t you think? Thanksgiving has been a national holiday in the United States for over 150 years and almost as long in Canada. Gratitude is an established tradition!

Whether one gathers with friends or family, or simply pauses from a daily routine, this holiday is an important reminder to reflect on evidence of blessings over the past year. Everyone can count on something to be grateful for! And here’s the thing: the good received is real enough, but the desire to acknowledge and be grateful for the entire sum of good! – well, that fills the heart to overflowing.

So it occurred to me, what to do with an overflowing heart? Share the spiritual wealth of good, right? Blessings are kind of like currency – unless and until they are circulated, the value isn’t compounded. To be truly, deeply grateful for past blessings means being a thanks-giver tomorrow!

Ask yourself, what do I have to give unconditionally, unhesitatingly, genuinely, and joyfully? The answer is already at hand because you have from divine Soul what everyone wants…kindness, respect, compassion, forgiveness, patience, dignity. This is your inherent spiritual grace offered with a smile, a hug, a listening ear, an open door to let someone go first, or a pause for a driver to enter the busy lane ahead of you. The day is filled with opportunities to live your soul-full giving.

Wait, there’s more! Giving is contagious – your radiance of grace reignites the inherent goodness of the recipient who is then impelled to give to another. And another…and another…and another. Giving bestows spiritual energy and light on the moments of life right where and when light is needed.

Today you might be the giver – tomorrow you might be the givee!

“…freely ye have received, freely give.” – Christ Jesus

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Danielle Steel – “God places the solitary in families”.

 

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Hi Everyone,

Thanksgiving is always a lovely way to spend time with family and friends, but what I like best about Thanksgiving (even more than all the yummy food) is what it symbolizes: gratitude, being grateful/ thankful for the good things in our lives, whether family or friends, our jobs, or opportunities, or the good things that happened this year. We don’t always have the time to think about what we’re grateful for, and to count our blessings. Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to that. I know it can be difficult too, with challenging families, or no families, or difficult families, or hard circumstances sometimes. Its nice spending the day with people we care about, but sometimes we find ourselves alone, thinking of what others have and we don’t. If we can take time out to be grateful for what we do have, to give thanks for the small things in our lives, our lives become richer from that gratitude. So whether you are alone, or surrounded by loved ones, in a good space, or not having a great time, I hope that all of us will find the time and the grace to be grateful for even a few things, even one thing in our life. Gratitude is like a seed that you plant, that becomes a tall tree eventually, with leaves of gratitude that grow and multiply. Gratitude is an enormous blessing available to all of us.

I was alone one Thanksgiving many years ago, in a new city, divorced, with no friends yet, and my daughter was visiting her father far away. I came across the Bible verse “God places the solitary in families”. And I’ve had many occasions to remember that, grateful for my family, and the friends I’ve made over the years. May your Thanksgiving be filled with warmth and blessings, and good people. And may we all remember to reach out to those who are alone. And on the list of things I am thankful for, you, my readers are high on that list. Thank you!! I am VERY grateful to and for you…..I hope you will have a wonderful holiday!!!

with much love, Danielle

Photo Below:  This group of students are some of the ones who meant the most to me.  As my journey continues they will always be a part of my heart no matter where I am led next.  They are all very smart and I am truly grateful for the time spent with them as we all shared stories together about change, possibility and hope.  They “get it”.  I would have taught them for free.  I was able to keep them for two different classes.  Thus the current class with them feels as if we are all family at a time in my life when I needed it the most.  Perhaps they are what I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving.  The blue logo below was a gift from one of them as long as I agreed to use it to help people.  One even offered to give me a “domain” for my website because “the good that goes out comes back”.  Or as we say in CS: “Love is reflected in Love”. Amen.

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After the Election – There Will Be Light with Tim Mitchinson CSB, Dick Davenport and SFGMC.

 

One example of gracious response to the election, such as I and many are now advocating, was the Metropolitan Gay Men’s Choir cancelling their planned tour to China and Asia and deciding instead to tour parts of the U.S. they had not visited before. My sense was that this wasn’t going to be an “in your face” thing in deep red areas but a generous embrace of people who are afraid that they are losing “their” America. It sounded like this tour might serve to remove stereotypes and fears. Wonderful!

 Dick Davenport

 

Published on Nov 10, 2016 – SFGMC – There Will Be Light

Like many of you, the 300+ members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus family – singers, staff and volunteers – have spent the last few days navigating our collective way through feelings of shock and despair. We have turned to and leaned on each other and, rather than succumbing to a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, have turned to what we know: MUSIC.  It is our hope that this will comfort, encourage and empower you as we continue the good fight. – The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus ( Dr. Timothy Seelig, Aritstic Director).

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After the election

 

J.K.Rowling Challenges Trump + New Movie (Fantastic Beasts)

 

JK Rowling has been live-tweeting her feelings about the US election and seems disappointed about the Donald Trump win.

The Harry Potter author has given advice to the US and the world after the businessman became President of the United States.

She tweeted: “We stand together. We stick up for the vulnerable. We challenge bigots. We don’t let hate speech become normalised. We hold the line.”

Mrs Rowling also said: “The easy thing is to keep your head down & let the bullies run amok. The right thing to do is to challenge racism, misogyny and hatred.”

J.K. Rowling

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/09/challenge-bigots-jk-rowling-gives-advice-to-the-world-during-don/

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In theaters November 18th, 2016

‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them,’ A Blockbuster About Persecution, Is Extra Timely

JK Rowling claimed to have been trolled online after speaking out against Mr Trump

“I think it’s important that scared gay kids who aren’t out yet see hate speech challenged.” – J.K. Rowling

There’s queer subtext stamped all over J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” prequel.

11/17/2016 05:19 pm ET

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You can be highbrow. You can be lowbrow. But can you ever just be brow? Welcome to Middlebrow, a weekly examination of pop culture.

This post contains mild spoilers.

In “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” you will find a lot of fantastic beasts. These outlawed creatures scurry to and fro, stealing shiny things, rampaging through New York and invoking an “aw, shucks” charm.

Like the rest of the “Harry Potter” franchise, which was always about death and the trials of uninvited heroism, the subtext buried in this prequel stretches far beyond its easy charisma. “Fantastic Beasts” is not really a movie about fantastic beasts at all. It’s a parable about persecution. Following the election of Donald Trump, a documented xenophobe who built his campaign on discriminatoryrhetoric, that’s never been a timelier theme.

Set in 1926, “Fantastic Beasts” opens with British magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arriving at New York City customs carrying a suitcase of concealed critters. Unlike their British counterparts who remain largely oblivious to spells and potions, American Muggles ― called No-Majs ― have waged war against their wand-waving neighbors. It’s the Salem Witch Trials all over again. Crowds assemble to rally against wizards, inciting unrest and paranoia within both communities. If you’re not like us, you’re against us, these vicious activists say. No wonder the “Harry Potter” characters worked so hard to camouflage their powers ― history taught them what happens if they don’t.

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This evangelical persecution manifests most strongly in Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton), a self-righteous zealot who steals children from the magical families she exposes and raises them as her puppets. Credence (Ezra Miller) is the most troubled member of her clan. Caught between a self-loathing that urges him to bury his true nature and an overwhelming desire to figure out what it means to be magical, Credence finds a mentor in Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), an imperious Auror who manipulates Credence into doing his oppressive bidding.

The queer subtext is glaring. Like so many confused teenagers (and adults), Credence longs for someone to whom he can explain these unfamiliarities. Are his impulses indecent? Is there any hope for redemption? To draw a familiar comparison in an America that just elected a vice president with a deplorable track record on LGBTQ rights, can he, ahem, pray the magic away? Credence clings to Percival, literally ― the older wizard meets him in dark alleyways, where he grabs Credence’s face tenderly enough to seem alluring, but forcefully enough to impart fear. “We live in the shadows for too long,” Percival hisses. There’s a repression lurking in Percival, as well, or perhaps a predation. Whatever it is, he sees Credence as a plaything.

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Making the persecution more pronounced, “Fantastic Beasts” introduces the Obscurus, a dark cloud that forms inside the soul of anyone who represses his or her magic. Credence is plagued by a pretty strong Obscurus. In theory, he can unleash or restrain it at his will. But repression breeds irrationality. Without a full sense of your identity, it’s hard to police your own responses. You hardly even know what’s right or wrong. Credence later realizes Percival was using him to fulfill a supposed prophecy. When Credence doesn’t produce results, Percival casts him aside, making him feel more worthless than he already did. Credence loses control of his Obscurus, unleashing havoc upon his surroundings. He is, after all, a teenager with an under-formed sense of the world, and it’s the only way people will pay him proper attention ― at least until Newt, our sheepish hero, helps to calm his nerves.

In keeping, Credence’s mother becomes one of the movie’s key villains ― and that’s saying something, considering the supreme dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is on the loose. Mary Lou’s panic about the unfamiliar wizarding society turns into puritanical vengeance. It’s almost too easy to make Trumpian parallels regarding fear of the Other (see also, for example: racism and Islamaphobia), especially considering J.K. Rowling conceived the story well before the presidential election began. But the parallels are not a stretch: At a press conference in New York last week, Rowling said “Beasts” is “partly informed by a rise in populism around the world” ― arguably the same populism that elected Trump and Pence.

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This is, hopefully, only the first hint at a queer undercurrent within the five-part “Fantastic Beasts” franchise. The possibility that the subtext will soon become text seems likely. Rowling won’t confirm whether we’ll see Dumbledore as openly gay, but she did say the sequel will chronicle his troubled “formative” years.

Cinema need not be activism, but imagine the impact of surveying the honest sexuality of such a beloved hero. Blockbusters don’t allot space for candidly queer characters, but if they did, maybe one day there won’t be a need for narratives about repression yielding violence. (Until fairly recently, movies punished queers or portrayed them as deranged. Progress!) Alas, such persecution is all too relatable, as are the responses from adults around Credence, including the president (Carmen Ejogo) of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, who views his Obscurus as a threat.

Discerning young viewers may pick up on these notes while watching “Fantastic Beasts,” just as some young readers processed the gravity of the “Harry Potter” books. At the risk of over-politicizing a children’s film, there has never been a more vital moment to see a tale about social oppression than now, when President-elect Trump and his supporters intimidate the stability of those who look different from them. Sure, dark wizards can present peril for Muggles and No-Majs, but most from the latter camp don’t even attempt to understand the sorcerers they mistreat. The movie even makes a case for inclusivity in Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), the No-Maj factory worker who gets wrapped up in the enchanted events and realizes he doesn’t want his memory wiped out after everything is over. Life is better when you know the wonders that others produce. “Aww, I wanna be a wizard,” he says. Shouldn’t we all?

Directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens in theaters Nov. 18.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-queer-subtext_us_582cade9e4b058ce7aa8b9cd?section=us_queer-voices

 

My Girls on Home and Family with a CS Perspective.

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Teacher, my mother was an orphan who had a lot of health problems.  But then she married my father and his mother and father then became her parents too.  As a result, all her health problems left as she is now happy and surrounded by love.

Student

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I never had any sisters in my life and yet somehow my students in the photo below fulfilled that desire and the memories have stayed with me. We played games, laughed and had an opportunity to all watch “The Butterfly Circus” together all while the class learned English.  In the discussion following the movie clip one student shared that in real life the “limbless man” who is  Nick Vujicic attempted suicide at age 10 due to rejection by the mother. But he went on to find healing and became a motivational speaker traveling to over 40 countries.

Perhaps there are times when the teacher becomes the student. I will always be grateful for them as our class felt like family.  Perhaps they were all angels entertained unaware.  But I was aware,  grateful for the moment and it felt healing.  

I could end by saying I will miss them all but perhaps they are all a part of me now like a piece that fits into a puzzle.  And it felt healing.

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From the October 1942 issue of The Christian Science Journal

 Home is where’er the Father-Mother God,
The Lord of peace and permanence, abides.
Whatever paths in weariness we plod,
Home is the haven where the heart confides
Its need of Him, and in unceasing prayer,
Turning from paths where mortal fancies roam.
And entertaining angels unaware.
Finds the true meaning of eternal home.
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God has not left the field. God’s kingdom, empire, nation still is here and at hand. The next mission starts! – By Richard Davenport

 

We may grieve or exult in the result of the mission that was the election season, but we all move forward to what can we bring to the mission before us. God has not left the field. God’s kingdom, empire, nation still is here and at hand. The next mission starts!

Richard Davenport

Bible and Spiritual Life Community Executive Director · July 2004 to present

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The Principia

Dean of Students

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San Francisco Theological Seminary

Adult Spirituality · San Anselmo, California

Pursued studies for a Doctor of Ministry degree

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Air War College in Residence

Class of 1994 · Leadership studies · National & global security · Strategic & future challenges · Montgomery, Alabama

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Boston University

Class of 1979 · Master of Divinity · Ministry in a Pluralistic Environment · BIBLE· Early Christianity · Boston, Massachusetts

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Video Published on Nov 15, 2016 – President Obama explains the dangers of Donald Trump’s “world view” by breaking down Trumps “US VS. THEM” Mentality.

 

Richard Davenport's Profile Photo
by Richard Davenport
11-16-2016
Shared with Permission
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This Veteran’s Day weekend fused a number of reflections for me in preparing the Gathering I led Sunday morning trying to respond to the congregation’s struggle with the election.

On Friday, President Obama was laying a wreath at Arlington and said “Whenever the world makes you cynical, whenever you doubt that courage and goodness and selflessness is possible, stop and look at a veteran.” Referring to the national elections that come just before Veteran’s day every four years, he said that an election “often lays bare disagreements across our nation, but the American instinct has never been to find isolation in opposite corners. It is to find strength in our common creed, to forge unity from our great diversity, to sustain that strength and unity even when it is hard.”

Turning to the Scriptures in Sunday morning’s Gathering we had the story of Jesus and the soldier (centurion) acted out from Matt 8:5-13. In a singular act that was unique in his public ministry, Jesus held up this soldier as a model of faith that he had not found among the Jews. And Jesus said this, of a man representing their oppressor Rome, to an audience of Jews.

What was it Jesus said awed him about the soldier? It was the soldier’s understanding that he was under authority, and that his life was not really his to live under his own volition. Jesus may have responded to that as he wasn’t a volunteer for the mission of the cross…he sweat blood in the Garden the night he was betrayed over an outcome he couldn’t change. He was obedient, but he understood in his prayer with God that his vote didn’t “win.” In fact the election phase of discussion was over and Jesus was left with how he would respond to a design he didn’t create or wish for.

So we are left with the mission of the election done, finished. But like the soldier in this picture returning from a deployment, if one mission is over another begins.

We may grieve or exult in the result of the mission that was the election season, but we all move forward to what can we bring to the mission before us. God has not left the field. God’s kingdom, empire, nation still is here and at hand. The next mission starts!

Note – One example of gracious response to the election, such as I and many are now advocating, was the Metropolitan Gay Men’s Choir cancelling their planned tour to China and Asia and deciding instead to tour parts of the U.S. they had not visited before. My sense was that this wasn’t going to be an “in your face” thing in deep red areas but a generous embrace of people who are afraid that they are losing “their” America. It sounded like this tour might serve to remove stereotypes and fears. Wonderful!

by Dick Davenport

Image result for the story of Jesus and the soldier (centurion) acted out from Matt 8:5-13.