The blog has been pretty quiet lately .... and all the typical excuses apply .... it has been super busy at the ministry of New Direction!
First: I'm thrilled to announce the release of the "Pastors' Conversation: Navigating LGBT Issues and Questions" DVD resource. You may have had the opportunity to watch the live stream back in June 2011 or since watched that video .... but the DVD contains completely different footage. With a run-time of 2 hours (not including the additional interview footage of all the folks I interviewed), this is a thought-provoking discussion that will get you thinking and catalyze all kinds of challenging conversations. I encourage you to consider purchasing one for your pastor! And we've made that even more manageable by having our first ever DVD sale!
Second: I finished my book manuscript! There was a period of time when I wanted to just delete the whole thing and I despaired a bit that it would ever come together and make any sense. But ..... there is grace. I currently have a proposal in to a publisher and we shall see what happens. The working title of the book is:
Nuturing Generous Spaciousness: a Response to Gay Christians in the Church
Now that the book is done...hopefully I can get back to writing for this blog and the ongoing much needed updates for other sites hosted by New Direction.
Third: Relevant Engagement 2011 has come and gone. This is New Direction's annual event - and this year nearly everything that could fall apart did. The event coordinator I've worked with for 5 years had to bail a few weeks before the event. The technology team leader I've worked with for 5 years also bailed. An artistic presentation that was to make up a significant portion of the program ... you guessed it ... bailed at the last minute. None-the-less, grace abounds. We pulled things together and had an absolutely fantastic night. But don't take my word for it, check out this review of the event over at Ex-Gay Watch.
If you have some time on your hands, watch the video of the event. And if my explanations of who we are and what we do is boring .... then skip through to about the 1 hour mark and watch the interviews I did with some of my amazing friends who have been recipients of our ministry.
Fourth: My busy traveling schedule is nearly upon me ..... and that always takes up time in planning and preparing. I'm heading to Grand Rapids, Michigan later today. I'll be teaming up with Greg Gough and Diane Hartig of "Bridge Evidence Group" to do a morning session with pastors and leaders. At the end of the month I'll be heading to Vancouver for a few days to meet with more pastors. Then I head to Edmonton where I'll be leading a parish retreat for an Anglican church and doing some presentations with other churches as well. Then the first weekend in November I'll be flying to Denver to participate in the Symposium on "Homosexuality & the Evangelical Church" which is sponsored by Highlands Church. Then I'm home for a day to do laundry and pack and kiss my kids and then I head to Cambodia for 10 days.
Cambodia? Yup. Cambodia. New Direction has a dream of mobilizing folks from our networks to join in social justice initiatives. We hope to begin with partnerships with some key grassroots agencies in Cambodia that focus on two intervention and restoration strategies. The first is the work with ladyboy sex workers. These trans young men are considered the lowest of the low of Cambodian society. They face very few options other than the sex trade. However, some of the agencies there are helping the individuals who want to leave the sex trade by training them for fair trade employment opportunities. I can't wait to see for myself the in's and out's of this program and hopefully with the help of translators to hear some of the stories these individuals have to share. The second focus is the prevention, intervention and care of sexually traumatized boys. In Cambodia there is very little acknowledgement that boys can be sexually exploited and abused. There is a small agency that has worked very hard to do research, to work in partnership with other social service agencies and to intervene in the lives of boys who have been abused. This kind of work is critical, not only for the particular boys affected, but for the message that it communicates to Cambodian society. These are important steps in prevention, in breaking down assumptions and stereotypes, and bringing the necessary social change that will extend dignity and respect to ALL citizens.
I share all of these details because if you are in one of the places I'm traveling to - pop me a note, I love to make room for individual connections between presentations - and I'd love to meet up with any readers of BTG. And, if the brief things I've shared about Cambodia touch your heart, please also take the time to connect with me. I will be looking for champions, advocates and contact and connecting people to help raise awareness and get people engaged.