Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Amazing Grace by Nhojj for Marriage Equality

I received this email yesterday.
Rev. John Shuck,

Thank you for welcoming homosexuals at First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton. On a human level it means so much.

In case you haven't seen it yet, I share this very special marriage equality "Amazing Grace" with you. May it inspire and give testament to God's all-encompassing love.

And I share this insightful blog post with you as well - "Homosexuals ... Dirty Words ... and Me". May these help in seeing beyond differences and in promoting understanding. Please share.

Your work is so important. Thank you again.

Yours,
Ron San Marchi
I don't know Ron and I wasn't quite sure if it was a hoax at first. But I clicked the links and was quite impressed. My hunch is that Ron found us at Gaychurch.org or on the More Light website and that other LGBT affirming congregations received his e-mail as well. I hope so. This is good.

From the blog,
Nhojj Cafe: Affirming You:

I am a homosexual man. It took me a long time to admit this fact to myself, much less proclaim it from the proverbial mountain top. You see I grew up right here in this Dear Land of Guyana, I attended St. Margaret’s Primary School and St. Roses High School, and like everyone one of you, I grew up in a society firmly rooted in Western binary opposition. This complicated sounding term, I discovered, simply allows us to think and speak in opposites: right versus wrong, holy versus sinful, male versus female, however more importantly, it denotes mutual exclusivity: one can‘t be the other....

...There is a truth that resides beneath these perceived dichotomies and there have always been individuals born outside it’s walls, but our society so far has offered silence or a selection of dirty words for coping with them… and who wants to be a dirty word?...

...It wasn’t until I was studying Economics at New York University that I began to lift my head out of the sand. It started with informative words concerning free counseling sessions at school. There were many therapy groups to choose from and like a drowning man gasping for air, I enrolled in as many as I could. I remember one exceptionally helpful group that required us to share our life story – particularly the details we usually hide from the others. That was the first time I admitted – I am a homosexual man. It was the most difficult thing I had done, mainly because I had internalized all those dirty words I’d heard growing up. I had given those words power to erode and damage my spirit, and the results weren’t any less disastrous than if I’d cut off my own arm or leg, and left the wound unattended. But thank God, that little group planted a seed in me – I didn‘t have to be dirty words for the rest of my life, I could define myself for myself using whatever words that best suited me. That began my 10 year quest for encouraging words, supportive words, informed words, accepting words, and yes loving words.
Powerful stuff. It is why we at First Presbyterian Elizabethton and others at the thousands of LGBT affirming congregations around the world do what we do.

Here is a beautiful music video by Nhojj. Instead of "dirty words" Nhojj affirms life with welcoming, hopeful, and transforming words--Amazing Grace:

Recorded by OUTMusic Award winner Nhojj. Directed by OUT 100 nominee Kirk Shannon-Butts. This new version of "Amazing Grace" expands the innate power of this hymn to affirm the LGBT community and support Gay Marriage. It represents a step forward for homosexuals in reclaiming their spiritual lives and healing wounds. This is the first time a well known Christian hymn has been used in a music video to express the "rightness and godliness" of same gender love -- portraying a male interracial couple exchanging marriage vows and living in a loving committed relationship.

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