Saturday, November 06, 2010

Your Ideas and Suggestions are welcome (and needed)

This working-for-a-living thing is for the birds!  Ugh.  Only kidding.  I am thankful to have a job, and a great one, at that.  Hectic it has been. With my back still hurting some, it means I'm moving a little more slowly than I'd like.  But I'm hanging in.

Bear with me and help me out, folks.  I've gotten myself in to something, and I'm not altogether sure what I'm doing.  Your ideas and suggestions are welcome (and desperately needed).

The Basics:  If you were to go on a church-sponsored weekend retreat for GLBTQ people, what would you want to happen?
  • What would you want to talk about?
  • What activities, topics, ideas/
  • Music, worship ideas?
  • It will be drawing from basic Christian tradition, but I'm sure a wide variety of spiritualities will be discussed and practiced.
  • What would you want to hear from "the Church"
Realizing that no one (not even the pope) speaks for the whole Church.  And no one can even speak for a particular denomination.  But hang with me, go with the flow, try to think what you'd want.

Something like what I've talked about (a weekend retreat) will happen the first weekend of April 2011.  And I'm to be involved with it.  Who could imagine such?  Why me Lord?

Help me out.  You can post a comment, or email me directly:


Photo credit to BG, again.  I didn't mean to close my eyes. If you embiggen it, it gets scary!


behrmark said...

I had to put some thought into this. I've been away from "church" for quite a while. For myself personally I would want to become "reacquainted" with God. I'd want to sing hymns, share in prayers, and hopefully walk away with a renewed spirit. Fellowship goes a long way for people who have been absent from God. In terms of group topics, the topic I would suggest is *It seems there are more and more professed atheists within the GLBT community. How do we, as believers, let our voices be heard and stand up against the condemnation?* I do not know where this retreat will be held, but hopefully somewhere in the mountains: hiking, swimming, campfires, and volleyball are some activities I'd be interested in. I guess I"m really thinking back to some church camps I attended as a high schooler.
I hope this helps.

RG said...

I wouldn't be able to give you any advice as to what to talk about in a church retreat for LGBTQ folks, as I've tended to stay as far away from organized religion as possible.

But, may I make the suggestion of contacting the office Bishop Eugene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire and see what his thoughts might be on the the subject?

Michael Dodd said...

If you have never seen it, you may want to take a look at the documentary Camp Out, that follows ten Midwestern teenagers as they attend the first overnight Bible Camp for gay Christian youths. One of the organizers has a blog that I used to keep up with, but I seem to have lost touch (and the address.)

As you know from past experience, it is best on these things to be prepared to cover topics that the participants want to discuss. If possible, you could elicit some ideas from them in advance, prepare one or two brief talks and focus on getting them talking. Have questions, flesh out questions they submit, ask them what THEY think. I believe what most of us want to hear from the church is that the church wants to listen to us, not just talk to us. Maybe that could be a theme: The Church Comes to Listen.

What would they want to tell their particular religious leaders? What would they want to hear preachers talk about in sermons? What do they want from the church?

Years ago I read a comic strip where a young boy, crying over a broken toy, is helped by his older brother who rushes in with tape, hammer and nails and after much flurry, triumphantly hands the crying child a firetruck and proclaims, "There, I've fixed it!" The younger boy sniffs, looks at it and says, "I broke an airplane."

Let them tell the church what they need.

For other ideas, how about Christian spiritual traditions that focus on practices: the Jesus prayer, perhaps an adapted rosary, meditation on scripture (good old lectio divina), and so on. If they are going to be mainly Christians, they may be surprised to find that these things exist within Christianity and don't have to be imported from other religions. If they are from another religion, they may find some Christian practices can enrich their lives, too.

So listen, listen and when all else fails, listen. And in this way you can model for them that important part of prayer that most of us neglect --listening.

BTW: the word verification is trearder. It makes me think that there may be tears and that you will want to tread gently. And always remember, SomeOne else will be doing the real work that weekend. Relax into being an instrument. You will be great.

Lemuel said...

I think that Michael Dodd has an excellent idea with the Church *listening* - as long as that is what you really do. For so many years the Church has said to *everybody* - not just LGBTQ folks - that they were "listening" and never did/have.

I think the whole worship and music thing would be dependent upon just how varied the audience is. My mind goes to a time in my seminary years (early 1970's) in which we (classmates and I from a Protestant tradition) spent a week at a RC seminary. They were in the throes of the liturgical renewal of Vatican II and did some (for the time) radical things with the mass. I recall a folk mass in which the music during the Distribution was "Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine/I'll taste your strawberries/I'll drink your sweet wine" (New Christy Minstrels?) Perhaps an approach to worship/music/spirituality might be to develop such based on the "spiritual" voices that speak the Word via secular songs/vehicles. Kind of a take off on the old Simon and Garfunkel "the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls" - only use the stuff from now, not from then. ;)

jim said...

If I went, and I would be interested in going, I would want to talk about how gay people fit into God's plan. I know there are many different points of view on this, and I would like to hear as many as I can.

In the end, I would want to know that God really does love me as He created me.

Vương Tử Trực said...

I like singing worship songs.

Cubby said...

I spent a few days thinking about your request and I'm sorry to say I can come up with nothing to suggest. But I'm commenting anyway to let you know you have my support.

Dale said...

Who brought poppers and lube? Just kidding trying to ad some laughter into your day. Not knowing where your going to get your "camper's" from is tough. Since it is a work sponsored event I am assuming they must have some present contact with you or work. Perhaps find out there family religious values and backgrounds to start a common thread. Music wise "allow" each person to bring one cd of his or her choice to let the group listen to as a group, find out why it's relevant and more coming together. Have a couple round table discussions for a limited amount of time that each group member moderates about their place in the gay community or in the world. When is it going to's been a long time since my last field/road trip.