Monday, January 16, 2017

Headache, Again



All weekend long, I have had a headache. The worst was yesterday. I took medicine, a nap, and more medicine, with nothing helping. Hopefully, it will be better today. I know a lot of people have today off for MLK Day, but I do not. I have to work like any other Monday.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Christian Dispute



When it first began, The Rick and Bubba Show was a harmless morning radio show about two Alabama bubbas and the funny stories they told. However, since the death of Rick Burgess' son several years ago and the election of President Obama, it has become a show about conservative politics and even more conservative religious views. Here are two stories from al.com.

Brandi Burgess, bisexual daughter of Rick & Bubba host: 'I am praying for my father'

By Brandi Burgess, daughter of Rick Burgess of Rick & Bubba, and an actress and activist living in Philadelphia

I have always believed stories carry healing powers. Bible legends of heroes and outcasts. Fables with neatly packaged morals. That friend at every gathering who lit up the room with fantastical tales, the one who left my sides hurting and my eyes streaming and made me think, "my god this is my life, it is so ridiculous and wonderful."

My first memories are of me sitting under my father's radio desk, listening to him talk. Rick Burgess has built an entire career sharing the stories of his life. He has amassed an incredible following, because he speaks his truth. People love him. People hate him. His boldness has always inspired me.

As I grew older I became a prominent character in his stories. I was the exuberant softball player whose passion got her thrown out of games, the angsty teen late to church, the young woman in Israel almost traded in marriage for 40 camels. I was a punch line, a glittering prop, a cartoon.

Then - in his eyes -- I failed him.

Gone were the stories of my boyfriends being taken down "to the hunting room" before first dates. I was erased. Recently, I've returned, cast as the prodigal daughter.

The story my father tells is one of a lost lamb, covered in shame. In his public musings, he speaks of my sin. Without my consent, he uses me as a cautionary tale.

For the past three years, my father and I have been debating God's stance on homosexuality. It started with my Instagram post at a Pride parade: a picture of a mother holding a sign saying "I love my gay son." I got a text demanding its removal: "How dare you compromise my platform!?", "Remember who you represent.", "Are you a gay?"

I have been praying, researching and meditating on the many emails, sermons and verses my dad has sent me. I always come back to the same conclusion. Love is love.

I shared this with him. "I love you. I'm sorry. I still love God." I promised to be discrete.

This led to a constant barrage of shame.  "You think you're so mod, so special. But you're nothing. You're typical."

I blocked everyone in my family from my social media because it was "killing my grandmother." I grew silent. I mourned my family. I believed I was selfish, a fraud.

I visited home this summer. I wasn't allowed too close to my siblings, for fear of infecting them with my queerness.

My stepmother took me out to lunch. She told me about a recent vacation with my father. "He couldn't go in the water. You know he has panic attacks around water ever since your brother drowned."

Why didn't I know that?  Why couldn't my father let me hold him, tell me his fear. I would have given him rest, said, "Me too, dad. When I babysit, I have to tell the parents that I can't take them to the pool. I know exactly how you feel."

As I was pondering this, Sherri asked me "are you seeing anyone?" I took a deep breath, and held on to hope. The Greek word for hope means "cord." My dad taught me that.

"Yes. I am. I am deeply in love. It is....not with a man." I had my speech ready, about fluidity, non-binary queerness, Lin-Manuel Miranda quotes, etc. 

"No. You choose this or you choose us. After all your father's done for you, how could you do this to him?"

I was whisked away to the Rick and Bubba office. Dad was waiting, bible in hand.

I believe that my father's actions were intended as love.  I believe he can't know how powerfully he hurt me.

My story is not that of all queer people from an evangelical home. I have the privilege of now belonging to a safe community. Yet, I let my father's message of shame define me. I hated my body, sabotaged relationships, believed I was unworthy of love.

So now, I am writing to the young women who feel like they don't belong in their bodies, to the boys who want to kiss boys, and those on the spectrum between:

Perhaps you have heard my father on the radio and it makes you want to go to sleep and never wake up.

I love you. Your worth is untouchable. Find a good friend. Invest in therapy. Dance in the middle of the night and hold yourself accountable to the life you've always wanted. At the root of all this hate speech is fear. This is not your fear to carry. Release it.

I am redeemed. I have surrendered to the beautiful mystery of God's love, have witnessed its vast complexity.

My partner whispers to me as I fall asleep: "Your worth is intrinsic, your beauty immeasurable." Their love is divine, it is of God. I know this in my bones.

I am telling you this because I can no longer avoid my own eyes in the mirror.

I am praying for my father. I am holding onto hope and it is outstretched toward him. Perhaps he will take hold. Perhaps we will find we were holding the same cord.

Here is an article about her father's very unchristian response:

Rick & Bubba's Rick Burgess speaks about his bisexual daughter

Rick Burgess of the Rick & Bubba Show was asked this week to comment on his daughter's choice to speak out about her bisexuality. He declined, saying "God has given me my own platform in which to clearly state my views on this issue that is impacting our society and the church."

He and his wife, Sherri, addressed the issue on the radio show this morning.

The comments were largely focused on scripture, and Rick said he hopes his daughter, Brandi Burgess, finds her way back home to God. He said he and Sherri have "taken on the role of the father of the Prodigal Son."

To Brandi, he said: "I told you before and I'll say it again you're my daughter and I will always love you. But I love you enough to tell you the truth. I'm not going to come up with some version of love that really isn't love at all, that pats you on the back to justify you all the way to hell."

He said Brandi is misguided.

"This has become a new version of Christianity which is not biblical in any way shape or form," he said. "Sadly our daughter and others have bought into this new hippie version of Jesus."

"Quit making up a version of God which is your own - which is idolatry," he said

Sherri Burgess, Brandi's stepmother, said she didn't believe Brandi when she initially said she was bisexual.

"I just didn't believe it but over time she's convinced me she really does feel this way," she said. "This is not a battle between Rick and me and our daughter. It's a battle between good and evil,  the Bible versus the world,  God versus the world."

On Brandi's comments about her own journey, Rick said "we now release you to that journey and we pray and we hope that it brings you back to repentance."

Sherri said she advised Brandi not to live according to human passions, but according to God's will.

"I don't care if you're happy. I don't care if you're healthy. I care about your eternal salvation," she said.

"I know there are people out there who really struggle with this and it is hard. But Jesus is there not only to forgive you but to cleanse you of all unrighteousness."

Rick said "We love her with all our heart and we love her enough to tell her the truth, but in this article instead of declaring the Lord Lord, she's declared herself Lord."

He asked people to be kind.

"I would just say again I know how these things can get ugly because Bubba and I have been in the crosshairs ... Let's see if we can stay away from that, please. It may upset you. You may be offended. You may say this is disrespectful, and certainly we've gone through those feelings ourselves. But please just understand she's lost. She's just got scales on her eyes and she needs those to fall."

Rick forgets that Jesus condemned divorce, while never condemning homosexuality. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Holly Dunn



The year 2016 was a sad year for celebrity deaths. If you Google “2016 celebrity deaths” the numbers are staggering. One of those deaths truly broke my heart though. She was a singer from the 80s and 90s and one of my all-time favorite country singers. Holly Dunn, a country singer who wrote the hit “Daddy’s Hands” as a Father’s Day gift for her preacher father, died on Monday, November 14, 2016 in Albuquerque. She was 59. The cause was ovarian cancer, said her nephew, Daniel Dunn, the mayor of Temple, Tex.
 
Ms. Dunn’s wistful “Daddy’s Hands” won two Grammy nominations (best female country vocal performance and best country song) in 1987, and her “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” and “You Really Had Me Going” (both written with her brother Chris Waters Dunn and Tom Shapiro) reached No. 1 on the country charts, in 1989 and 1990.
 
Those three also wrote “I’m Not Through Loving You Yet,” a Top 10 country hit for Louise Mandrell in 1984. Ms. Dunn recorded the duet “Maybe” with Kenny Rogers and sang on records with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. She was named the Academy of Country Music’s top female vocalist in 1986 and the most promising newcomer by the Country Music Association a year later.
 
She also described herself as a pioneer in a mostly male-dominated recording industry because she wrote (often with her brother), produced and performed her own material. “I think this gives me a real legitimacy, a genuineness,” she told The Associated Press in 1990. “I’m not just up there standing where they tell me to stand, singing what they tell me to sing.”
 
Holly Suzette Dunn was born on Aug. 22, 1957, in San Antonio, the daughter of Frank Dunn, a Church of Christ minister, and the former Yvonne Campbell, a Texas Hill Country landscape artist. Reading her obituary in the New York Times, I was amazed to find out that “She is survived by her wife, Melissa Taylor, and her three brothers, Chris, Jerry and Rodney.” I had never known she was a lesbian. She was a very private person and had retired from music in when she released her final album, Full Circle, which was her first gospel album, in 2003. Her paintings deal primarily with subjects from the Southwestern United States, and are available through the Peña+Dunn Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
 
Though she had not produced any more songs since 2003, she was always a favorite of mine. I never got to see her in concert and I had always hoped to visit her studio in Santa Fe to one day meet this hero of mine. Sadly, I will never have that change. Maybe someday, I will have a chance to own a piece of her art.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Headache



I had a headache last night, so I went to bed early.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Now



Now
By Robert Browning

Out of your whole life give but a moment!
All of your life that has gone before,
All to come after it,—so you ignore,
So you make perfect the present,—condense,
In a rapture of rage, for perfection’s endowment,
Thought and feeling and soul and sense—
Merged in a moment which gives me at last
You around me for once, you beneath me, above me—
Me—sure that despite of time future, time past,—
This tick of our life-time’s one moment you love me!
How long such suspension may linger? Ah, Sweet—
The moment eternal—just that and no more—
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut and lips meet!