Central Voice

Linking LGBT Communities In Central Pennsylvania And Beyond

I read a great blog last week by my friend and colleague, Ellen Debenport. I realized right away I had to share it this week.

Stay with it - even though it's difficult at times! It's SO worth it!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

 

The Greatest Spiritual Teacher, by Ellen Debenport

 

Who is currently the greatest spiritual teacher in your life? 

Good chance it’s Donald Trump. 

Stay with me on this, because it’s true whether you like him or not. 

A spiritual teacher doesn’t have to be spiritual himself. He doesn’t even have to understand his role as a teacher. The learning happens within us. 

If you don’t like Trump, the spiritual challenges are pretty obvious. Acceptance, forgiveness, patience, understanding, finding the good and even being grateful for some things. These are familiar spiritual tools to traverse upset. 

But what if you like the new president? Let’s say you think he’s making some long-needed and beneficial changes. How is he a spiritual teacher then? 

I believe we find spiritual challenges whenever we are winners or in the majority. Your majority might be political or racial, you might be a winner in terms of money or education, or even when your favorite sports team wins a game. 

What do you do when a great many other people are disappointed and left out of your joy or privilege? That’s a spiritual challenge. 

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN 

If you approve of the new administration’s undertakings, you must be aware that half the country doesn’t approve. 

Conflict and division seem built into every policy decision being made in America, no matter who makes it. Half the people will believe Trump is wrong regardless of what he does. 

This really isn’t an unusual situation. All new leaders have to overcome resistance to change – new bosses, new ministers in churches, even new stepparents. 

Having authority over people who may not like or trust you is a spiritual challenge. How do you innovate with integrity? How do you bring the old guard along and get their buy-in for new ideas? 

Well, it’s not, “Nanny nanny boo boo, you lost and I won.” 

It’s not, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” 

And it’s not necessarily, “I’m in charge. Do what I say.” 

Personally, I think it helps to find out exactly what is already being done. Now that you’re on the inside, you might find there are good reasons for the way things are handled, which you couldn’t see when you were criticizing from the outside. 

That’s true whether you’re the new majority party in Congress, the new teacher in a classroom or a new member of a church board. 

Ask and listen. You might hear some good ideas and avoid some missteps. 

You can also appreciate the old guard for their years of service, rather than making them feel obsolete and in the way. Introduce your ideas in a way that enrolls them, rather than accusing them of wanting to destroy the country (or company, school or family). 

That’s all standard management advice. And it’s true, the old guard might continue to be resistant, and you might eventually part ways. 

But there’s another way to handle being in a new position of authority or majority: Pray a lot. 

ONLY THE HIGHEST GOOD 

Pray for the highest good of every person concerned, especially the ones who are angry and obstructionist. 

Pray that everyone finds his or her perfect place of service, here or elsewhere. 

See each one as enlightened and well-meaning, someone who loves the country, company or church as much as you do and wants the best. 

Notice, you’re not praying for specific outcomes. 

In the case of Donald Trump, one side might be tempted to pray he leaves office while the other affirms he’s the best president ever. That’s no different than praying your sports team beats the opponent. It’s your ego’s preference. 

The advantage to a truly spiritual solution is that everyone can win. 

As you hold a strong vision of harmony and understanding, the molecules of the universe will begin to rearrange themselves into that pattern. 

And one of two things will happen. 

Some people will begin to change and grow in what seem to be miraculous ways. They will not create the problems you expected. They might astonish you with their newfound creativity and accomplishment. 

Or they will drop away. Those who can’t match the frequency of a new undertaking will leave it. 

That’s true whether you believe the new frequency is higher or lower than the old. It’s a new vibration, and it will attract only those things, people or ideas at the same frequency. 

Picture a hot air balloon rising off the ground. It has been held in place by heavy sandbags, but those bags can’t rise with it. Their perfect place of service remains on the ground. They have to be released. 

People who aren’t a match to a new consciousness, whether it’s in a political administration or an office complex, will find other places to be.   

BASIC SPIRITUALITY 

Do you see what I mean? You can rearrange the circumstances of your life by affirming the highest good of all, without taking a position on whether the people involved are good or bad

I once prayed a difficult boss out of my life. I affirmed the best for him in whatever form it might take, while searching for good in him. (I learned he was a great dad.) 

Eventually he was promoted to a job that took him away from me. Win-win. 

So I’m not suggesting you pray for or against Donald Trump. Just affirm his highest good, in whatever form that takes. And could we also agree to affirm the highest good for the country? 

When we all start doing that – giving up vociferous opinions and affirming a bright future with enlightened leaders – it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes, which bills pass and which don’t, who rises up and who fades away, how the courts rule, how the agencies operate, and who becomes the majority in the next go-round. 

This is basic spirituality: Set an intention for what you want – peace and prosperity, health and harmony, justice and freedom – and hold that vision while the universe figures out how to bring it about. 

You will have done your part as a citizen and elevated your spiritual consciousness. And you might be surprised how well things work out after all.    

Ellen Debenport © 2017
http://ellendebenport.com

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Local Author's Book Makes Top 10 Gay Non-fiction List

Called a "must read," Michael Long's book on gay pioneer Frank Kameny has been chosen as one of the Top 10 gay, non-fiction books for 2014. Gay Is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin Kameny by the Elizabethtown College professor is a "must-read for anyone interested in the history of the gay rights movement” says Publishers Weekly.

Harvard University's Michael Bronski, a staple in the world of gay history, said: “The LGBT movement has been blessed with an amazing array of passionate, provocative, colorful, dedicated, and sometimes infuriating women and men. Frank Kameny is certainly one of the most important. Michael Long’s magnificent book captures the breadth of the movement and the specificity of Kameny’s life and importance.”

Long tells Central Voice about his editing of Kameny's historically rich letters, 150 letters from 1958 to 1975, that reveal some of the early stirrings of today’s politically powerful LGBT movement. The letters are lively and colorful because they are in Kameny’s inimitable voice, a voice that was consistently loud, echoing through such places as the Oval Office, the Pentagon, and the British Parliament, and often shrill, piercing to the federal agency heads, military generals, and media personalities who received his countless letters. Long is the author and editor of several books on politics, religion, and civil rights. He is the editor, most recently, of Beyond Home Plate: Jackie Robinson on Life after Baseball.

Central Voice: What has the response been to your work on Kameny? from the academic community? from the LGBT community?

Michael Long: The book has just been released, but the response thus far has been so positive. Kameny's close friends, like Charles Frances and Bob Witech of Washington, DC, have been generous in their praise of the book.

 

CV: Some advocates are outright sending the book to others?

ML: Malcolm Lazin of Equality Forum has decided to send the book to leading LGBT activists across the country. Early reviews have also been positive, identifying the book as a "must read." I'm pleased about this mostly because it helps to advance the rich and inimitable legacy of Frank Kameny. This of us who fight for LGBT rights stand on his shoulders, and the book helps us understand how incredibly broad his shoulders were. 

CV: Currently, there is lots of dialogue about the intersections of race and LGBT issues. What are your thoughts?

ML: One of the most important things about Kameny is that early on he, like Edward Sagarin and others, identified gays and lesbians as an oppressed minority. That was no small move, and it allowed him to analyze discrimination against gays and lesbians as somewhat akin to discrimination against people of color. It also helped him articulate the need for civil rights and liberties for gays and lesbians early on.

CV: Wasn't Kameny an early petitioner of the US Supreme Court?

ML: His 1961 petition to the US Supreme Court--a landmark document--did exactly that while at the same time telling the justices that homosexuality was moral. It's breathtaking material. Kameny also turned to the civil rights movement for inspiration and instruction for advancing civil rights for oppressed gays and lesbians. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Stokely Carmichael are among those who influenced his deliberate efforts to politicize the homophile movement and turn it into a political power that politicians could no longer ignore. So Kameny actually helped to create the intersections of race and LGBT issues that we continue to experience today.

SIDEBAR

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Things you may not know about Franklin Kameny -

*During the height of the Lavender Scare, openly fought the US government for firing him because he was gay (1958).

*Led a long campaign to force the US Civil Service Commission to permit the hiring of gays and lesbians individuals for federal jobs, including those requiring security clearances (1957 on).

*Filed first US Supreme Court petition arguing that gays and lesbians were an oppressed minority deserving equal treatment under law, and that homosexuality was moral (1961).

*Co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, the nation’s first organization dedicated solely to securing civil rights and liberties for gays and lesbians (1961).

*Co-founded regional and national gay and lesbian groups designed to politicize the movement and secure and advance political power in government and civil society (1963 on).

*Organized the first White House picketing by a group seeking civil rights and liberties for gays and lesbians. Similar picketing soon followed in front of the US Civil Service Commission, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and the Pentagon (1965).

*Criticized numerous leading media personalities, including Ann Landers, Johnny Carson, and Rona Barrett, for their anti-gay views (1966 on).

*Staged protests (“zaps’) for gay rights at American Psychiatric Association conventions, eventually forcing the APA to delist homosexuality as a mental disorder (1971 on).

*Became the first openly gay candidate for the US Congress (1971).

*Acted as counsel to numerous gays and lesbians facing discrimination in the US military and served as a driving force behind the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

 

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