We continue our interview with Dave and Patty (see last week's episode) about how discovering they had two gay sons challenged them and ultimately resulted in a major shift in their lives. 

Dave and Patty discovered their two sons were gay when they were just teenagers. They tell us their story, the impact of that news and how it challenged and transformed their lives. 

Children and youth who are gay often struggle. They often feel alone, displaced, even unwanted. Sometimes they even lack hope in the future. Language and attitudes matter. A lot. This episode brings together the previous two episodes with the help of two engaging and enlightening interviews. One, with a new guest, the noted writer Andrew Sullivan. In the other we replay parts of a previous guest interview from our show, "Persons, not Agendas..." You will want to share this show! 

"Alt-right" Christians current demonization of gay people by referring to them as "homo predators," "homo mob," "enemies of Christ," etc., is not a new tactic. The sick fanatics of Nazi Germany might have been some of the best propagandists in recent history, demonizing and dehumanizing those they wanted to eliminate from Germany. Those they sought to purge, such as Jewish persons, the mentally disabled and homosexuals (among others) found themselves at the receiving end of tactics intended to instill fear, anger, disgust, even hatred toward them. We compare these methods with tactics being employed by some conservative Christians, as well as governments and groups worldwide, that target gay persons.  

Some conservative Catholic groups and individuals are using language seemingly as a weapon to stir up their supporters (and others) into a frenzy of fear, anger, even hatred of the "other." They use language like, "Homo Mob," "Homo Heretics," "Anti-Life," "Enemies of Christ," "Purveyors of Perversion." Language means something. It has stirred groups to violence, even to committing mass atrocities. The common denominator? Demonization, and thus, de-humanization of the other. Some gay persons have already suffered, possibly as a result of these groups and individuals. We talk about this problem in this two-part series. 

Have you ever been talking to someone who obviously wasn't listening to you? Have you ever been formulating what you're going to say next while someone is telling you a story? Or worse, seen the other person as part of an enemy group with which to compete, correct, judge, even demolish? Listening to others, really hearing them, makes them feel like they matter. We all want to be heard, after all, and know that our life matters to someone. Hearing another person's story might even teach us something important and make us better people. It would certainly make our world just a tad bit more humane. 

Our stories make us who we are and unite us as humans. Listen to the stories of two Catholic men. They are gay, in love and married. You will hear strength and pain, faith in God and a deep longing for a Church and Christians who will love and want them. Let's enter each other's stories: the joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, dreams and disappointments. This is how we connect human to human, heart to heart. 

LGBT people are among many groups who have often been de- or sub-humanized. This episode is a re-play of one of our first, "Getting Humanity Right." Why replay it? Why listen again? It is vitally important in this conversation, in every discussion involving human beings, to first recognize and acknowledge that every human being is fully human and deserves dignity and respect. Period. From this starting point, we can have civilized and respectful conversations where heart meets heart. Each of us is the protagonist (maybe sometimes the antagonist!) of our own story. Our stories are stories of people seeking after, and growing in, the deepest longings of every human heart. 

There is a huge disconnect between traditional faith communities and LGBTQ persons. A major problem is not being able to speak with one another because of lack of common understandings. Often, the traditional faith communities fail to hear the stories and acknowledge the life experiences of gay, lesbian and transgender persons. We need a framework to begin a conversation. 

January 16, 2019

How Then Shall We Love?

Who are the "new lepers" in some of today's faith communities? They are there, being ignored, feeling unloved, unwanted and invisible. Controversy often surrounds their delicate relationship with religion. In Season 2 we will share stories, enter into the sorrows and joys of these new lepers. We will ask questions, tough questions, of those on all sides of the issues. We need to talk. 

In this special edition episode, Patrick Smith, singer, songwriter and producer, discusses songs to be featured on his upcoming debut EP (short feature album). If you've ever longed to express your suffering and joys, ever wrestled with your demons, you don't want to miss this incredible conversation and inspiring music. 

These heroes will make your jaw drop! They have indomitable spirits, in surviving and forgiving, persevering despite danger or giving totally of oneself, they are examples of being fully alive human beings. 

More than 215 million Christians in the world are under serious threat of being persecuted for nothing more than what they believe and the practice of their faith. They frequently suffer harassment, kidnapping, rape, church bombings, arrest and even the threat of receiving state-sanctioned death penalty. Why talk about such a dark topic so near Christmas? Most of us are not worried about being bombed at Christmas Mass or service. They are.  Part 1 an introduction of the topic of freedom and some examples. Part 2 will be more in-depth with real life stories. 

What are the hidden costs of some of the gifts we buy? For some workers, including children, our purchases might be costing them their health, education, freedom, dignity, even lives. We can give twice through thoughtful shopping. It's easier than you think, and the good we do makes gift-giving more meaningful. 

Too often, gay persons in churches feel invisible, unwanted, even marginalized. This is particularly true in more traditional churches. The message seems to be "shut up and go away." Our guest, Bridget Eileen, a committed Christian and celibate lesbian, lends her perspective to this problem. How can churches help facilitate gay persons feeling more fully a part of their communities? Should gay Christians "come out?" These are just a couple of the questions we discuss. To learn more about Bridget and her writing, go to her blog at www.meditationsofatravelingnun.com

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