Judgement Belongs to God

Written by United Methodist Bishop Melvin G. Talbert
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“I am a life-long United Methodist.

Early on in my ministry, I did not approve of gay and lesbian people because I thought I knew God’s Word regarding this issue.

While attending a church gathering in Boston in the mid-1970s, I met a very charming young lady, let’s call her Jane. She did not fit the stereotypical image I had of gay people. The event was designed to allow straight and gay people to get to know each other without knowing our vocations or sexual orientation. During our final session together, we were invited to divulge our vocations and our sexual identity.

When Jane shared that she was gay, she shook the foundation of what I had always thought and been taught about gay people. I had to reexamine my beliefs.

In Matthew, Jesus says, ‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.’ Then and there, I promised God that I would never again discriminate against any persons because of their sexual orientation.

Reflecting on my involvement with the Civil Rights movement, I was reminded of how it feels to experience marginalization and oppression. I have always had a loving quarrel with my church because of what it did to my people over the years.

I slowly came to realize that, like the disciples, I had been blind to the truth that was right in front of me. Gay and lesbian people, just like people of color, are members of God’s human family.

So, I have come to the realization that we are all children of God in the process of being saved by God’s grace. Therefore, we do not have the right to deny another child of God his/her place at God’s table. By God’s grace, we are granted the privilege to invite all people to God’s table. But it is not our call to judge who is worthy. Only God can make that call.

Reflecting on scripture, tradition, experience and reason, my mind was changed on the issue of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the church. We all belong to God.

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Links of the Week – June 26, 2015

heart-nebulaLove is written in the stars.

* Leaving My Parents’ House And Going Back To My Apartment

* When I Meet Somebody Cute Who’s Just As Cynical As Me

* Happy Captain Picard Day!
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* Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage – Nobody’s Head Explodes
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* Openly Gay Dartmouth Runner Pays It Forward

* John Oliver On Online Harassment

* Women’s World Cup Of Arm Folding

* PostSecret: Dog Dad

* PostSecret: Afraid – (Totally.)

* Our Prayers For Emanuel AME Are Worthless


* Google Feud – (It’ll suck you in!)

* puravida Bracelets – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

* Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage – Nobody’s Head Explodes

* Chocolate Pie – (Noms!)

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“Mama cupped my chin in her hand. ‘Don’t love me too much, Sylvia. Don’t love anybody too much. Keep just a little back. You understand, baby?'”

Drinking From A Bitter Cup, Angela Jackson-Brown

“That was a turning point in my sobriety. Instead of always going to a meeting to feel good, there were more and more times when I went to a meeting to do good.”

– Anonymous

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Links of the Week – June 19, 2014

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* Jack King, NASA’s ‘Voice Of Apollo,’ Dies At 84

* Baseball And Black History – (So wonderful!)

* Even Baby Rhinos Need To Snuggle – (Dawwwwwww!)

* Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

* Star Trek Celebrating DeForest Kelley’s Life

* The Old Mansions Of Peachtree Street – (Back when anything north of North Avenue was the suburbs of Atlanta)

* Astonishing Adventure T-Shirt – (Paging Mr. Herman…)

* How To Think Like A Sound Engineer

* PostSecret: Chairs

* PostSecret: Rat – (Me too!)

* PostSecret: Object

* When My Boyfriend Is Giving Me The Silent Treatment – (EVERY. Single. Argument my ex-husband and I ever had.)

* Love Is Not Enough – (I need to carry a copy of this with me always.)

* Cats Are Moody Creatures

* This Disney Princess Softball Team Photo Is Blowing Up The Internet

* Black Work-It Skort – (Don’t be fooled by the name. This idea could make wearing skirts ALMOST bearable!)

WWN Guide To Mercy Killing Your Family If Gay Marriage Becomes Legal – (The funniest thing I’ve read in quite a while! 😀 )

* 4 Mixing FAQ’s For New Sound Techs

* Zack Hunt: Does God Still Heal The Sick?

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* Spaghetti Toes: Taco Bell Is Just Alright With Jesus

* GLIDE United Methodist Church – (God, let all our churches be more like this one!)

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“Before my transition, I was hesitant about calling myself a woman, mostly because I had no desire to live up to the societal expectations and ideals that others often project onto that identity. I use to fear that embracing that identity would be tantamount to cramming myself into some predetermined box, restricting my possibilities and potential. But I now realize that no matter how I act or what I do or say, I remain a woman – both in the eyes of the world and, more importantly, in the way that I experience myself. While I used to view the word ‘woman’ as limiting, I now find it both empowering and limitless.”

Whipping Girl, Julia Serano

“In trans women’s eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognized as female, a raw strength that only comes from unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world. In a trans woman’s eyes, I see someone who understands that, in a culture that’s seemingly fueled on male homophobic hysteria, choosing to be female and openly expressing one’s femininity is not a sign of frivolousness, weakness, or passivity, it is a fucking badge of courage. Everybody loves to say that drag queens are ‘fabulous,’ but nobody seems to get the fact that trans women are fucking badass!”

Whipping Girl, Julia Serano

“The feminist assumption that ‘femininity is artificial’ is narcissistic, as it invariably casts nonfeminine women as having ‘superior knowledge’ while dismissing feminine women as either ‘dupes’ (who are too ignorant to recognize they have been conned) or ‘fakes’ (who purposely engage in ‘unnatural’ behaviors in order to uphold sexist societal norms.)”

Whipping Girl, Julia Serano

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Links of the Week – June 12, 2015

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* Planets Of TOS – (The background paintings were the best!)

* Mom Dresses Cat In Daughter’s Crop Top To Prove How Small It Is

* Week-Long Camp Teaches Intellectually Challenged To Ride Bikes

* 17 Times The World Wasn’t All That Bad

* NASA Marks 50 Years Of Mission Control, Plans Apollo Room Restoration

* Learning To Leave The Past Behind In 5 Steps

* What Self-Love Means: 20 Ways To Be Good To Yourself

* NASA Aiming For Multiple Missions To Jupiter Moon Europa

* Winged Greek Leather Sandals – (Woot!!!)

* Lionel Richie T-Shirt – (Brilliant! 😀 )

* If You Love The Duggars But Not Caitlyn Jenner, What Credit Is That To You? – (Post of the week. All Christians in particular should read.)

* This Dad Took Some Incredible Color Photos Of His Hipster Daughter…In 1913

* There’s A Drive-Thru Waffle House In Stone Mountain!

* Saltine Ice Cream Sandwiches

* No, Your Favorite Food Is Not Like Crack – (Take note…)

* South African Veterinarians Intervene To Save Hope The Rhino

* 7 Habits I’m Breaking Now That I’m In ACOA Recovery – (Me too! I’m not ACOA, but I’m lots of other acronyms!)

* 53 Of The Best Opening Sentences In Literature

* The WNBA Finally Recognizes Its Lesbian Fans
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* Peach Cobbler Cupcakes – (!!!!)

* Man Treats Mother To Detail About His Personal Life

* Ghosts of DC: Walter Johnson Hosts Event For Hunting Dogs On His Germantown Farm – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

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“A good question to ask myself frequently is: What am I looking for – advice or approval?”

– Anonymous

“We must challenge all who assume that feminine vulnerability is a sign of weakness. For when we do open ourselves up, whether it be by honestly communicating our thoughts and feelings or expressing our emotions, it is a daring act, one that takes more courage and inner strength than the alpha male facade of silence and stoicism.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

“If we truly want to be taken seriously in our identified sex, then we must not only refuse to indulge cissexual people’s compulsion to pigeon hole us in our assigned sex, but call them out on the way that they continuously objectify our bodies while refusing to take our minds, our persons, and our identities seriously.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

“Unlike gender dissonance, which is only experienced by trans people, gender entitlement can affect anyone. It is best described as the arrogant conviction that one’s own beliefs, perceptions, and assumptions regarding gender and sexuality are more valid than those of other people. Gender entitlement often leads to gender anxiety, the act of becoming irrationally upset by or being made uncomfortable by the existence of those people who challenge or bring into question one’s gender entitlement.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

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Links of the Week – June 5, 2015

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* Louisiana’s First Female HS Football Coach Driven By Championship Dreams

* The Curse of Being Guilt Prone

* Real Love Is A Choice

* Loving Others Without Expecting To Fill A Void

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* Avocado Shrimp Salad

* Brown Butter Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

* Fox News’ Steve Doocy’s Freak Out: Kids Shouldn’t Know About Genitals, Transgender People Or Other “Stuff That’s Gross”

* What Should We Call Me: Summer

* Tommy Lasorda Once Threw at 15-Inning Complete Game

* Open Minded Man Grimly Realizes How Much Life He’s Wasted Listening To Bullshit

* Girl Claims Senior Photo Was Removed From Yearbook Because She Wore A Tuxedo

* Do You Applaud Caitlyn Jenner Because She’s Brave, Or Because She’s Pretty?

* Opal Stud Earrings – (Ooooooooh! Pretty!)

* What Should We Call Me: When People Want To Talk About What I Have Planned For My Future
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* Here’s What The Duggars Can Teach The Church About Islam

* Color Bars Tank Top

* Wonder Woman Mesh Cami & Panty Set  – (!!!)

* Can Flaky People Make Good Partners?
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* Way Too Many Americans Can’t Afford To Take Care Of Their Teeth

* John Stewart Welcomes Caitlyn Jenner To Womanhood: “Your Looks Are The Only Thing We Care About”

* I Can Haz Cheezburger: Smoke Detector – (Brilliant idea!)

* David Barton Alters Iconic Works Of Art

* Pluto’s Moons Are Tumbing “In Absolute Chaos,” NASA Says

* Dale Gribble T-Shirts – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

* 24 Pictures That Perfectly Sum Up Not Fitting In – (SO funny!)

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“I could go mad, I realize as I parse this thing out to its furthest implications. There is nothing more disquieting than loving someone who does not love you back and won’t tell you why, or give you any sort of glimmering of understanding. The inanity of heartbreak lies in the unfathomable mystery of another’s heart – how can she not feel exactly the way I do? In other, more plaintive and pathetic words, how can she not feel joyous and enthralled about our time together, and yearn for more of it? How can she seem to feel so indifferent to me, so coldly uninterested? I had thought we were experience something together, and now it appears I’ve been a fool. There are no words to describe how humiliating and disappointing this is.”

The Epicure’s Lament, Kate Christensen

“‘…Vivian blew this up into a love affair in her own mind. Of course, she knew it was all in her own mind, but that only made it more intense; you know how that works, I’m sure.'”

The Epicure’s Lament, Kate Christensen

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Snapshots of Joy

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There must be something about happiness, comfort, safety and love that particularly imprint long-term memories in the brain. I have these moments frozen like snapshots in my head.

  • My mom sitting in a living room chair holding me and singing a Christmas song to me on a dark December morning after my brother had left on the school bus.
  • The first time I had a dream, told my mom I’d seen a story in my brain in my sleep and said to her, “That’s what a dream is, isn’t?!?”. (It was about my white German Shepherd, Prince and the circus.)
  • My brother speeding me down the hill in our backyard on the handlebars of his green Schwinn bicycle.
  • My daddy coming home after being out of town and bringing me my own tiny softball cleats. (This was UNHEARD of, a girl having cleats!)
  • Anything in the Douglasville Public Library.
  • Sitting in my mom’s lap looking at the Sears Christmas catalog the moment it showed up in the mailbox! (We still did this WAAAAY after I was too big to be in my mom’s lap!)
  • Standing in the driveway and punting a football again and again over the electrical line that ran to the house.
  • Standing behind the house and throwing a softball against the house and catching it – over and over again.
  • Playing H-O-R-S-E with my brother in the driveway. (Fare thee well for I must leave thee…)
  • Making a fort during the summer with my canopy bed, a jump rope and a bunch of sheets. Laying in there in front of an oscillating fan and reading all afternoon. (We didn’t have air conditioning.)
  • Going to Granny and Aunt Jo’s and getting to go and pick out a drink in the glass bottle from the wood crates the man delivered to their house every week.
  • Spending the night with Granny and Aunt Jo. Granny making hot fresh biscuits every morning.
  • Book fair day!!!
  • Riding in the backseat of Daddy’s car and listening to WPCH “easy listening” music while Momma rested her hand on the back of Daddy’s neck.
  • Making the varsity softball team as a freshman.
  • Getting fouled under the basket by cross-town rival Betsy in the 9th grade basketball tournament. Laying on my back on the block and seeing my shot go in!
  • Blocking the same Betsy off the plate in a high school softball game, tagging her out and looking at the black cleat mark on my pants afterwards! Awesome!
  • Riding in the car with Daddy and listening to Willie Nelson’s “Stardust” album.
  • Watching “The Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek” series for the first times.
  • Getting to stay up late by myself during the summer to watch Braves west coast games. On the couch, in the dark with the attic fan running, listening to a tipsy Skip Caray bemoan the pitiful team.
  • Eating cheese grits and chicken sandwiches at Cuz’n Catfish in Rome.
  • Looking out my office window at Oxford during a pouring rain an imagining the squirrels running up and down the tree outside are fish. *shrug*
  • Sitting in my car under a shade tree during the summer at Oxford, eating my lunch and reading a book.
  • Sitting on the porch of a house in the North Georgia mountains while the man I loved worked. We listened to old country music on the staticy radio. I don’t think I’d ever felt safer as an adult.
  • Running in the pitch black dark at Hinton Rural Life Center hoping I won’t run off the side of the road. After my eyes adjust, I realize I’m was running under a canopy of fireflies lighting the trees overhead.

It’s funny to realize nothing big makes the list. It’s the little things.

Links of the Week – May 29, 2015

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* Star Trek Garden Gnomes

* The One Way You Should Be Making Pancakes

* Zack Hunt: The Treasonous Love Of Jesus

* Addiction Is As American As Apple Pie

* 5 Obscure Looney Tunes Cartoons

* PostSecret: Children At The Beach

* PostSecret: Bother Losing Weight – (Yep.)

* Cannes Reportedly Turned Away Women For Not Wearing Heels
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* The Media’s Sickening Sanders Double Standard: How The Socialist Brings Out Their True Colors – (Fascinating stats tax rates through the years in the US)

* Funfetti Monkey Bread Muffins

* The Pioneer Woman: Peach Salsa

* Healthy Personal Boundaries And How To Establish Them

* Five Crucial Truths About Love Addiction – (Oh look. Someone wrote an article about me. #shame)
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* Backstage At The Fox 1929: Projection – (I shit you not, we were using some of this same equipment at Emory in 1995.)

* California Mother Appeals For Support For Transgender Teens After Losing Son To Suicide

* When My Mom Says It’s Dinner Time – (Cute dog alert!)

* Bob’s Burgers Meets Star Trek TNG

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“According to most of these groups [Gnostics], the material world we live in was not the creation of the one true God. It came about as a result of a disaster in the realm, in which one of the (many) divine beings was for some mysterious reason excluded from the heavenly places; as a result of her fall from divinity the material world came to be created by a lesser deity, who captured her and imprisoned her in human bodies here on earth.”

“The pagan critic Celsus particularly mocked Christians on this point, tying the claim that Jesus was a “woodworker” into the fact that he was crucified (on a stake of wood) and the Christian belief in the “tree” of life.

And everywhere they speak in their writings of the tree of life….I imagine because their master was nailed to a cross and was a carpenter by trade. So that if he happened to be thrown off a cliff or pushed into a pit or suffocated by strangling, or if he had been a cobbler or stonemason or blacksmith, there would have been a cliff of life above the heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or a rope of immortality, or a blessed stone, or an iron of love, or a holy hide of leather. Would not an old woman who sings a story to lull a little child to sleep have been ashamed to whisper tales such as these? (Against Celsus 6, 34)”

Misquoting Jesus, Bart D. Ehrman

“Having Louisa [an au pair] to help me, and being the undisputed head of the household, coming home from work to find dinner on the table and my children excited to see me, their homework done, is a far greater source of freedom and pleasure to me than I ever dared dream of when Dennis lived here. I can depend on Louisa to do what I need her to do without any fuss, whereas having him around was like having a third, half-grown child who demanded sex as well as every other form of attention.”

The Epicure’s Lament, Kate Christensen

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