Sunday, July 05, 2015

Interiors









Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Quote of the Day

July 4 has always been a time for aggrieved progressives to remind the world that most Americans weren’t liberated on that first Independence Day. Enslaved Africans; dispossessed native Indians; women of every race; white men without property; LGBT Americans; the rights claimed in the stirring Declaration of Independence didn’t fully belong to most of us for many years.

That’s still a real, historic truth. But maybe, at least this year, we can celebrate the genuinely liberating, animating ideals of a country that came close to living up to them in a dizzying 24 hours last week.

In just one day, the country we are, the country we’ve been trying so long to become, emerged in indelible, unforgettable images. A few will always stay with me: Our first African-American president, standing before purple-robed ministers, singing the first notes of “Amazing Grace” with sorrow and defiance at a funeral for yet another black martyr. Two beaming elderly white gentlemen, Jack Evans and George Harris, becoming the first men to marry in Dallas, Texas, after the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality.

As the sun set Friday night, the White House glowed in rainbow colors. In the dawn’s early light the next day, a black woman scrambled up a flagpole, as if to freedom, and snatched down the Confederate flag. For a day, anything seemed possible. Which reminded us that it is. We celebrated a genuine Independence Day in that 24 hours, so let’s pause to take it in on this July 4 holiday.

– Joan Walsh
Excerpted from "As Fox News Mourns, the Rest of Us
Have an Independence Day to Celebrate

Salon
July 3, 2015


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Something to Celebrate
Standing with Jennicet Gutiérrez, "the Mother of Our Newest Stonewall Movement"
Breaking News: U.S. Supreme Court Legalizes Marriage for Same-Sex Couples Across the Nation

Image: Michael Bayly (July 4, 2014).


Friday, July 03, 2015

Mill City


I recently completed a condo- and cat-sitting gig for friends who live in what's known as the Mill City area of Minneapolis.

Located on the edge of downtown Minneapolis and on the banks of the Mississippi River, this area is part of the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District.

According to Wikipedia:

Saint Anthony Falls, or the Falls of Saint Anthony . . . was the only natural major waterfall on the Upper Mississippi River. The natural falls were replaced by a concrete overflow spillway (also called an "apron") after it partially collapsed in 1869. Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, a series of locks and dams was constructed to extend navigation to points upstream.

Named after the Catholic saint Anthony of Padua, the falls is the birthplace of the former city of St. Anthony and to Minneapolis when the two cities joined in 1872 to fully use its economic power for milling operations. From 1880 to about 1930, Minneapolis was the "Flour Milling Capital of the World."

Today, the falls are defined by the locks and dams of the Upper Saint Anthony Falls, just downstream of the 3rd Avenue Bridge, and the Lower Saint Anthony Falls, just upstream of the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. These locks were built as part of the Upper Mississippi River 9-Foot Navigation Project. The area around the falls is designated the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and features a 1.8-mile self-guided walking trail with signs explaining the area's past.



From the rooftop patio of the building in which I was condo- and cat-sitting, one can see the Mill City Museum and Guthrie Theater on 2nd Street (above) and the new Minnesota Vikings' stadium that's still under construction a few blocks south (below).




Above: A (zoomed-in) view of downtown Minneapolis from the roof of the condo building.




Above and below: Views of Mill City Museum from the Stone Arch Bridge.

Opened in 2003 and built in the ruins of the Washburn "A" Mill next to Mill Ruins Park, Mill City Museum focuses on the founding and growth of Minneapolis, especially flour milling and the other industries that used water power from Saint Anthony Falls. The mill complex, dating from the 1870s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.




Above: The Guthrie Theater – June 26, 2015.

Along with numerous other landmarks across the nation that evening – including the White House, San Francisco City Hall, Niagara Falls, One World Trade Center, the Disneyland Castle, the Empire State Building, and the nearby I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge – the Guthrie Theatre (or at least parts of it) was lit up in rainbow colors in celebration of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling granting civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.



Above: The historic Stone Arch Bridge.

A former railroad bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Saint Anthony Falls, the Stone Arch Bridge is the only arched bridge made of stone on the entire length of the Mississippi River, and the second oldest next to Eads Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri.

Notes Wikipedia:

Positioned between the 3rd Avenue Bridge and the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, the Stone Arch Bridge was built in 1883 by railroad tycoon James J. Hill for his Great Northern Railway, and accessed the former passenger station located about a mile to the west, on the west bank of the river. The structure is now used as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge. It is an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 as a part of the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District.



Above: Looking downstream from the Stone Arch Bridge to the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge – July 1, 2015.

The I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge is a ten-lane bridge opened on September 18, 2008 as the replacement for the I-35W Mississippi River bridge which collapsed on August 1, 2007, killing 13 people and injuring 145.



Above: Moon over Mill City – July 1, 2015.



Above: My friends Joan and George on the Stone Arch Bridge – Wednesday, July 1, 2015.



Above: Looking upstream from the Stone Arch Bridge to the upper dam of St. Anthony Falls and the 3rd Street Bridge.

Did you know that at midnight on June 9, 2015, the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock (located next to the upper dam) was permanently closed by congressional order? Specifically, it was Section 2010 of “H.R.3080 - Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014,” which was signed into law by President Obama on June 10, 2014 and was required to be implemented "Not later than one year after the date of enactment." The closure is intended to stop the spread of invasive species, namely two types of Asian carp, bighead carp and silver carp.



Above: The 3rd Street Bridge at sunset, June 26, 2015.



Above: On the Stone Arch Bridge – July 1, 2015.


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Down By the River
Mississippi Adventure
River Walk
Views from a Bridge
Tragedy in Minneapolis


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Questions for Archbishop Kurtz re. the U.S. Bishops' Response to the Supreme Court's Marriage Equality Ruling

The Wild Reed's 2015 Queer Appreciation series continues with a piece originally published last week by The Progressive Catholic Voice.

Attributed to and published by the PCV's editorial board, the questions that comprise this piece were actually written by my friend Paula Ruddy. (Both Paula and I serve on the PCV's editorial board, along with our friend Mary Beckfeld.) As you'll see, Paula eruditely poses a number of important questions to Archbishop Joseph Kurtz in relation to the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops' official statement on last Friday's historic Supreme Court ruling on civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

__________________________________


We, the members of the editorial board of The Progressive Catholic Voice, object to the clerical leadership of our church declaring adamant disrespect for the law without giving reasons in response to arguments. Our commitment to faith and reason compel us to demand that leadership respond reasonably and with evidence rather than with mere assertions of fact. We ask Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, to encourage Catholics to respect this law for the civil society as well as encouraging them to live according to their own moral convictions. There need be no conflict unless one is created by the U.S. Bishops.

Within the text of the Bishops' statement below, we have interspersed our questions to Archbishop Kurtz in bold.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision, June 26, interpreting the U.S. Constitution to require all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage” “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The full statement follows:

Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. How do you address the changes in people’s conceptions and practices and marriage laws over the centuries cited in the Supreme Court’s decision? You assert unchangeableness but you do not back the assertion with evidence or reason. The philosophical turns to the subject and language have disclosed that our knowledge of the nature of the human person and marriage is embedded in cultures and is continually evolving. How do you respond to that point?

Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. If you are a citizen of the U.S. with respect for law, the issue of civil marriage is settled. Why would you encourage Catholics to disrespect the law? It does not affect them except that they now have to live in a society that recognizes same-sex marriage. Is that an intolerable burden? A tragedy?

Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage. What is gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. What does this mean? What is the necessity for civil marriage to be regulated by physical gender? The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. Are you speaking of the children who will not exist because gay men and women cannot procreate with a same-sex partner? What children are you referring to? What other vulnerable people besides children are you referring to? The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home. Are you suggesting that states enact laws that each child be raised by his/her biological parents in a stable home? In what way would this be possible or good policy? The proponents of banning same-sex marriage had every opportunity to bring evidentiary facts to bear in federal district courts and they have failed to do so. These arguments have failed in federal courts for lack of evidence. Can you substantiate your claims of harm to the common good?

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. Where did he teach this? As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, As U.S. citizens we are fortunate enough to be able to do this freely. even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions. Why would you suggest that there are people hating you or trying to punish you for your moral convictions? We are Catholics living among Catholics in the U.S. and we have never experienced hatred and punishment for living according to our moral convictions. Would you please give examples of hatred and punishment you have experienced for your moral convictions? You are now being asked as the public voice of the U.S. Catholic bishops to justify your reasoning. We certainly hope you are not mistaking that for hatred and punishment.

Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth. Can we also respect people who have different understandings of marriage and bear witness to truth in different ways from us?


Related Off-site Links:
Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal In All 50 States – Bill Chappell (National Public Radio News, June 26, 2015).
Read the 7 Most Memorable Passages in the Gay Marriage Decision – Ryan Teague Beckwith (Time, June 26, 2015).
Catholic Responses to the Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage: Everything from "a Win for Love" to "a Tragic Error" – Vinnie Rotondaro (National Catholic Reporter, June 26, 2015).
New Ways Ministry and U.S. Catholics Rejoice at Supreme Court Marriage Equality Decision – Francis D. DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, June 26, 2015).
What Should the U.S. Bishops Do Now That All 50 States Will Have Marriage Equality? – Francis DeBernardo (Crux, June 26, 2015).
How the Bishops Should Respond to the Same-Sex Marriage Decision – Thomas Reese (National Catholic Reporter, July 2, 2015).
Fortnight of Freedom: Hypocrisy of U.S. Bishops – Paula Ruddy (The Progressive Catholic Voice, June 22, 2015).
Why the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Decision is Not Like Legalizing Abortion – David Gibson (Religion News Service, July 2, 2015).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Responding to Bishop Tobin's Remarks on Gay Marriage
Marriage: "Part of What is Best in Human Nature"
Rediscovering What Has Been Written on Our Hearts from the Very Beginning
A Head and Heart Response to the Bishops' Opposition to Marriage Equality


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In the Garden of Spirituality – Anthony de Mello

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“We are not on earth to guard a museum,
but to cultivate a flowering garden of life.”


– Pope John XXIII


The Wild Reed’s series of reflections on religion and spirituality continues with an excerpt from The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello.

Anthony "Tony" de Mello (1931–1987) was an Indian Jesuit priest, psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, writer and public speaker. In the excerpt below, he reminds us that holiness is not an achievement, but rather a grace; a grace called awareness.

________________________


Sooner or later there arises in every human heart the desire for holiness, spirituality, God, call it what you will. One hears mystics speak of a divinity all around them that is within our grasp, that would make our lives meaningful and beautiful and rich, if we could only discover it. People have some sort of a vague idea as to what this thing is and they read books and consult gurus, in the attempt to find out what it is that they must do to gain this elusive thing called Holiness or Spirituality. They pick methods, techniques, spiritual exercises, formulas; then after years of fruitless striving they become discouraged and confused and wonder what went wrong. Mostly they blame themselves. If they had been more fervent or more generous, they might have made it. But made what? They have no clear idea as to what exactly this holiness that they seek is, but they certainly know that their lives are still in a mess, they still become anxious and insecure and fearful, resentful and unforgiving, grasping and ambitious and manipulative of people. So once again they throw themselves with renewed vigor into the effort and labor that they think they need to attain their goal.

They never stopped to consider this simple fact: Their efforts are going to get them nowhere. Their efforts will only make things worse, as things become worse when you use fire to put out fire. Effort does not lead to growth; effort, whatever the form it may take, whether it be will-power or habit or a technique or a spiritual exercise, does not lead to change. At best it leads to repression and a covering over of the root disease.

Effort may change the behavior but it does not change the person. Just think what kind of a mentality it betrays when we ask, "What must I do to get holiness?" Isn't it like asking, How much money must I spend to buy something? What sacrifice must I make? What discipline must I undertake? What meditation must I practice in order to get it? Think of a person who wants to win the love of another and attempts to improve his/her appearance or build his/her body or change his/her behavior and practice techniques to charm the other person.

You truly win the love of others not by the practice of techniques but by being a certain kind of person. And that is never achieved through effort and techniques. And so it is with Spirituality and Holiness. Not what you do is what brings it to you. This is not a commodity that one can buy or a prize that one can win. What matters is what you are, what you become.

Holiness is not an achievement, it is a Grace. A Grace called Awareness, a grace called Looking, Observing, Understanding. If you would only switch on the light of awareness and observe yourself and everything around you throughout the day, if you would see yourself reflected in the mirror of awareness the way you see your face reflected in a looking glass, that is accurately, clearly, exactly as it is without the slightest distortion or addition, and if you observed this reflection without any judgment or condemnation, you would experience all sorts of marvelous changes coming about in you. Only you will not be in control of these changes, or be able to plan them in advance, or decide how and when they are to take place. It is this nonjudgmental awareness alone that heals and changes and makes one grow. But in its own way and at its own time.

What specifically are you to be aware of? Your reactions and your relationships. Each time you are in the presence of a person, any person, or with Nature or with any particular situation, you have all sorts of reactions, positive and negative. Study those reactions, observe what exactly they are and where they come from, without any sermonizing or guilt or even any desire, much less effort to change them. That is all that one needs for holiness to arise.

But isn't awareness itself an effort? Not if you have tasted it even once. For then you will understand that awareness is a delight, the delight of a little child moving out in wonder to discover the world. For even when awareness uncovers unpleasant things in you, it always brings liberation and joy. Then you will know that the unaware life if not worth living, it is too full of darkness and pain.

If at first there is a sluggishness in practicing awareness, don't force yourself. That would be an effort again. Just be aware of your sluggishness without any judgment or condemnation. You will then understand that awareness involves as much effort as a lover makes to the beloved . . . or a mountaineer to get to the top of his/her beloved mountain; so much energy expended, so much hardship even, but it isn't effort, it's fum! In other words, awareness is an effortless activity.

Will awareness bring you the holiness you so desire? Yes and no. The fact is you will never know. For true holiness, the type that is not achieved through techniques and efforts and repression, true holiness is completely unselfconscious. You wouldn't have the slightest awareness of its existence in you. Besides you will not care, for even the ambition to be holy will have dropped as you live from moment to moment a life made full and happy and transparent through awareness. It is enough to be watchful and awake.

– Anthony de Mello
Excerpted from The Way to Love:
The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello

pp. 191-196


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Sufism: A Call to Awaken
The Source is Within You
The Soul Within the Soul
Clarity, Hope and Courage
"Joined at the Heart": Robert Thompson on Christianity and Sufism
As the Last Walls Dissolve . . . Everything is Possible
The Most Sacred and Simple Mystery of All

Opening image: Michael J. Bayly.


Standing with Jennicet Gutiérrez, "the Mother of Our Newest Stonewall Movement"

The Wild Reed's 2015 Queer Appreciation series continues with an open letter by Pat Cordova-Goff about the incident last week at the White House involving Jennicet Gutiérrez.

Jennicet who?, some of you reading this may be asking.

Well, at a White House reception last Wednesday hosted by President Obama for LGBTQ+ Pride Month, trans Latina activist Jennicet Gutiérrez (right) interrupted the tightly-controlled political agenda of both our ally-president as well as the marriage-equality advocates in the room with her plea for Obama to end the detention and abuse of undocumented queer people, trans women in particular. Gutiérrez is a founding member of Familia: TQLM, established to advocate for LGBTQ immigrants who are often excluded in the immigration debate.



Many present at the White House, along with others within the wider LGBT and allied communities, criticized Gutiérrez, saying that her interruption was "inappropriate." In a similar vein, the corporate mainstream media dismissed her as a "heckler."

Pat Cordova-Goff is an 18-year-old community college student, working to bring visibility to low/no-income, queer and non-binary trans communities of color. She wrote the following open letter "for everyone who dismissed Jennicet as a heckler, as an 'interruption' to the queer movement.

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York, became our nation's first physical battleground in what would later become the movement for LGBTQ+ justice. Having been victims of continuous police brutality and unfair treatment, the guests of the inn fought back against the police presence that night. Contrary to what I was taught, and what so many still believe, this riot for justice was lead by trans women of color and gender non-conforming folks.

In other words, the wave of political unrest and movement of the queer population, which began at Stonewall, comes back to the resilience and power of trans women of color.

Fast-forward 40+ years. Numerous legal protections shield LGB people from discrimination, queer-identified representatives fill some seats in government, pride parades march through countless American cities and the Supreme Court of the United States upheld marriage equality. Yet, one theme is woven through the last four and a half decades: The focus of our movement fails to recognize the work and issues of transgender people, especially trans women of color.

This was highlighted when, as the nation's LGBTQ+ leaders gathering in front of our president, Jennicet Gutiérrez was booed and sneered at. As President Obama spoke of "trans women being targeted," Jennicet raised her voice to question why an administration would admit trans women are targeted, but still be responsible for the incarceration of undocumented trans women. The "heckler" noted that "transgender immigrants make up one out of every 500 people in detention, but account for one out of five confirmed sexual abuse cases in ICE custody."

In an op-ed, she said, "In the tradition of how Pride started, I interrupted his speech because it is time for our issues and struggles to be heard."

This is what needs to be heard.

While the cisgender gay men in that room booed the trans activist, they seemed to be more concerned with the support of their marriage than the lives of their trans sisters. While President Obama claimed, "You're in my house," he seemed to be more comfortable with reading a speech about trans issues than listening to a trans women speak of her own issues.

While people can argue that this was not the right time or place for Jennicet to raise her voice, I ask, when is the right time and place? Is the right time after every gay man can marry his partner in this nation? Is the right place at the court proceedings when a judge decides X-amount of trans women will be deported?

The beginning of our entire movement took place after midnight at a local bar; note all the progress we've made from that point, from that time and place. The history of social movements stem from the roots of radical activists who take control of a calm setting and turn attention to what is needed.

In 2015, a undocumented trans women of color stood feet from the "most powerful man in the world" and demanded transparency and justice. She stood among satisfied LGBTQ+ leaders, still angry.

While she is being called a heckler and an interruption, I cannot find any other words to describe her except these: the mother of our newest Stonewall movement. A movement in which trans women will begin and will remain at the forefront.

As we celebrate SCOTUS's decision on recognizing marriage equality, I encourage cisgender queer people to recognize the life-threatening issues your trans brothers, sisters and siblings are facing. As trans people, when we open our mouths and demand to be heard, it is not because we wish to devalue the issues at the top of your agenda. But we raise our voices because, after 45 years, the movement that our mothers began needs to bring the 'T' back into the LGB conversation. In the same fashion as Sylvia Rivera and other Stonewall patrons, we will raise our voices until we not only have a seat at the table, but a voice and a vote in where our movement goes from here.

I stand with Jennicet Gutiérrez, and so should every LGBTQ+ person who truly is in the movement for the liberation of our entire community.

– Pat Cordova-Goff




Related Off-site Links:
Undocumented Trans Activist Jennicet Gutiérrez Challenges Obama on Deportations at White House EventDemocracy Now! (June 25, 2015).
The Supreme Court's Marriage Equality Ruling, Though Expected, is Still Shocking — Especially for Those Who Grew Up LGBT in the U.S. – Glenn Greenwald (The Intercept, June 26, 2015).
With Marriage Equality Won, LGBTQ Activism Continues for Bias Protections and Overlooked Trans IssuesDemocracy Now! (June 29, 2015).
Transgender and Catholic — Nick Stevens (The New York Times via The Progressive Catholic Voice, May 24, 2015).

For previous installments in the 2015 Wild Reed Queer Appreciation series, see:
Vittorio Lingiardi on the Limits of the Hetero/Homo Dichotomy
Reclaiming and Re-Queering Pride

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The "Incident" in the Temple
Lisa Leff on Five Things to Know About Transgender People
Putting a Human Face on the 'T' of 'GLBT'
Shannon Kearns' Transgender Day of Remembrance Message: "We Are Beloved Children of the Universe"
Living Lives of Principle
Signs and Wonders Continue
Something to Think About – June 3, 2015


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Something to Celebrate . . .

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Source


Related Off-site Links:

No, You Need a History Lesson: The Confederate Flag is a Symbol of Hate – Benjamin O'Keefe (The Huffington Post, June 22, 2015).
The Surprisingly Uncomplicated Racist History of the Confederate Flag – Marc Ambinder (The Week, June 22, 2015).
The Confederate Flag Was Always Racist – Bruce Levine (Politico Magazine, June 27, 2015).
Heritage of Hate: Dylann Roof, White Supremacy and the Truth About the Confederacy – Tim Wise (TimWise.com, June 20, 2015).
White Terrorism is as Old as America – Brit Bennett (The New York Times, June 19, 2015).
Confederate Battle Flag Quietly Removed from Alabama State Capitol – Jessica Chasmar (The Washington Times, June 24, 2015).
Why the Confederate Banner Must Come Down – Douglas Blackmon (Slavery By Another Name via BillMoyers.org, June 26, 2015).
"We Can't Wait Any Longer": Activist Bree Newsome Removes Confederate Flag from South Carolina Statehouse – Nadia Prupis (Common Dreams, June 27, 2015).
Egalitarianism is On the March – David Cay Johnston (Aljazeera America, June 26, 2015).

Supreme Court Rules Gay Couples Nationwide Have a Right to Marry – Robert Barnes (The Washington Post, June 26, 2015).
Landmarks Nationwide Lit Up the Night in Beautiful Support of Marriage EqualityAddictingInfo.org (June 27, 2015).
Marriage Equality is the Law of the Land. Now What? – Tara Culp-Ressler (Think Progress, June 26, 2015).
"Love Supreme": How Newspapers Played the Landmark Gay Marriage Decision – J. Freedom du Lac (The Washington Post, June 27, 2015).
It's No Longer 'Gay Marriage.' It's 'Marriage.' And We're Better For It – Editorial (PennLive.com, June 26, 2015).
Next Fight for Gay Rights: Bias in Housing and Jobs – Erik Eckholm (The New York Times, June 27, 2015).
Celebrating the Arc of the Moral Universe – Steve Benen (MSNBC, June 26, 2015).
A Week That Lived Up to America’s Great Declaration – Jerry Adler (Yahoo! Politics, June 28, 2015).

UPDATE: The Month That Changed America? – Nick Bryant (BBC News, June 29, 2015).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – June 19, 2015
Breaking News: U.S. Supreme Court Legalizes Marriage for Same-Sex Couples Across the Nation


Out and About – Spring 2015 (Part II)


With summer now officially underway, I best get moving and share the second part of the spring installment of my Out and About 2015 series! (For Part I, click here.)

Of course, regular readers of The Wild Reed will be familiar with my "Out and About" series, one that I began in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay Catholic man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the Church and the world. I've continued the series in one form or another every year since – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and now into 2015.

So let's get started with this latest installment . . .



Above: My good friend Raul, standing beside a part of Minnehaha Creek that's walking distance from my home in south Minneapolis – Sunday, May 31, 2015. Raul took the opening image of me by Minnehaha Creek that same afternoon.



Above and right: On the afternoon of Wednesday, April 29, I joined with approximately 1500 other people in a solidarity rally and march for the people of Baltimore and in memory of Freddie Gray, who died of spinal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore. The rally was held at Minneapolis' Gold Medal Park and was organized by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

For more commentary and images, along with updates on the investigation into Freddie Gray's death, click here.



Above: Minnehaha Creek – May 2015. I was definitely in the right place at the right time when I snapped this picture!



Lots of times spent this past spring with good friends enjoying delicious food, good conversation . . . and great wine! Pictured in the photo above are my friends (from left) Joan, Steve, Carla and Raul. Pictured at right, friends Carol, Ken, Kathleen, Sue Ann and Brigit. Pictured seated around the table below are (from left) Tim, Noelle, Val, Phil, Brittany, John, Jenny and Jacob.




Above: On Sunday, May 3, my friends Tim and Raul and I attended the 41st annual In the Heart of the Beast Theatre's MayDay parade in south Minneapolis. This year's theme was "And Still We Rise." It was inspired by Maya Angelou's poem, "Still I Rise," and by the local and national work of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Section One of MayDay 2015's parade story was entitled "Ecstatic Origins" and celebrated the diverse "fruits" of the Tree of Life – animal and plant life in all its wondrous and beautiful diversity – including the kangaroo, energetically embodied by the young man at right.

For more images and commentary on this year's MayDay parade, click here and here.



Above: A group of young spectators at this year's MayDay parade – May 3, 2015.



In early May I traveled to Georgia to visit my good friend Phil (right), who lives in Augusta. As well as spending time in "the Garden City" (as Augusta is known), we also visited Savannah and Atlanta (above).

For more images and commentary on my visit to Georgia, click here.




I really do believe that my friend Raul has one of the best views in Minneapolis! I mean, just look at the beautiful vista (above) from his apartment in Uptown.

Raul lives right on the shores of Lake Calhoun, and on the evening of Tuesday, June 9 (left) I visited him and took some amazing photographs at sunset. To view these images and to learn why that day was special in Twin Cities meteorological history, click here.




Above and below: Early, mid and late spring in Minnesota.





Right: With my good friends Kathleen and Cheryl. We're pictured at the season premiere concert of the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) – May 17, 2015.

The occasion was also the first MPO concert with new Music Director and Conductor, Alexander Platt (pictured below).



My good friend Kathleen (right) is the MPO's Principal Second Violinist.

The Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1993 by Kevin Ford, a gay man who had a vision of a gay and lesbian orchestra that would build community and fellowship through the performance of classical music. Notes the MPO website:

Although Kevin succumbed to complications from HIV-AIDS in 1995, the organization he created continues to grow and diversify today. The MPO includes players from a variety of backgrounds and orientations who share a commitment to inclusivity, non-discrimination, and to the performance of works by under-represented composers.







Above: Spring time fun!



Above: Darling little Amelia – May 2015.




Above: Breakfast with my good friend Pete. It's a regular Thursday morning tradition, you know!



Above: Eddie!



Above: The big news for Minnesota Catholics this spring was the June 15 resignation of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt.

Nienstedt, along with Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché, resigned in the wake of clergy sex abuse coverup charges filed against the archdiocese.

For the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform's response to the archbishop's resignation, click here.

For the latest updates (as of June 19) on the investigation into Archbishop Nienstedt's alleged "sexual improprieties" with priests and seminaries, click here.



Above: On June 19 my housemate Tim and I hosted a "Welcome Back to Minnesota" party for our friend Phil (pictured with me at left).

For the past two years Phil has been living and working in Georgia, where as I noted previously, I visited him at the beginning of May.



Above: Phil's mum Noelle and my friend Pete – June 19, 2015.




Right: Phil and his girlfriend Brittany.



Above: Phil and his childhood friend Jacob.



Above: Phil, Brent, Tim, Pete, Lisa and Phil's dad John – June 19, 2015.



Above: Tim and Colleen – June 2015.



Above and below: The last day of spring in Minneapolis' Loring Park – June 20, 2015.





Spring 2015 Wild Reed posts of note:
Remembering and Reclaiming a Wise, Spacious, and Holy Understanding of Homosexuality
Happy Birthday, Dad!
Earth Day 2015
Poldark: Unfurling in Perfect Form
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore
Buffy Sainte-Marie and That "Human-Being Magic"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Lesson from the Cutting Edge: "Go Where You Must to Grow"
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "Sometimes You Have to Be Content to Plant Good Seeds and Be Patient"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Power in the Blood
"And Still We Rise!" – MayDay 2015 (Part I)
"And Still We Rise!" – MayDay 2015 (Part II)
Long-Weekend in Georgia
An Afternoon at Taylors Falls and the Franconia Sculpture Park
LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit to Proceed Despite Chancery's Misstep
Singing Their Own Song in Ireland
Progressive Thoughts on Recent Developments in Ireland, El Salvador and the U.S.
More Progressive Catholic Perspectives on Ireland's Historic Gay Marriage Vote
Thoughts on the Australian Catholic Bishops' Latest Ploy in Their "Struggle for the Very Soul of Marriage"
Season of the Witch
CCCR Responds to Archbishop Nienstedt's Resignation
And What of the Investigation into Archbishop Nienstedt's Alleged "Sexual Improprieties"?
Laudato Si' and the Question That Needs to Be Asked
Dance and Photography: Two Entwined Histories
Reclaiming and Re-Queering Pride
Thoughts on the PBS Premiere of Poldark

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Spring 2015 (Part I)
Australian Sojourn – March 2015
Out and About – Winter 2014-2015
Out and About – Autumn 2014
Out and About – Summer 2014
Out and About – Spring 2014