International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

Today is a good day to celebrate events supporting LGBTQ folks and to take a stand against discrimination!

Historic equality legislation happened today in the USA!

And Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage!

 

(Lancaster rainbow stickers can be purchased from Madcap & Co.)

Happy Constitution Day to Norway! Gratulerer med Dagen!

📷:Kari Schibevaag  📷:Logan Johnson

 

Gratulerer med dagen til Norge!

As some of you know, many years ago I was a Rotary exchange student to Norway. Today is Norway’s Birthday (Constitution Day)! Norway has more layers to its history and diversity than some may realize. Let’s look at some of them!

…Senker drømmer for alt på vår jord…

Norway’s national anthem:

Historic Syttende Mai children’s parade from NATO:

And if you are watching Eurovision this weekend, check out Norway’s group, KEiiNO, featuring Sámi songwriter Fred Buljo who incorporates traditional indigenous joik singing style into their performance:

Happy Star Wars Day! And Free Comic Book Day!

 

It’s national Free Comic Book Day, support local business!

Some good recommendations for comics by BIPoC:

Bridging the gap from comics to Star Wars, here’s a cool illustrated book of the women of Star Wars:

Black characters of Star Wars:

 

Speaking of inclusivity, here are 5 Queer Things You Didn’t Know About Star Wars (or maybe you did!):

queer-things-about-star-wars

Finally, it’s no secret on what historical premise Star Wars was based. Here Alegria Barclay nicely breaks down the social justice lessons found in Star Wars:

Notre Dame Fire: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Header photo via Westcoaster

Millions around the world grieve a significant piece of European and world history:

As civilizations have experienced throughout the history of humanity:

 

When there is a loss grieved by so many at once, we may feel very connected to others or very isolated. Both are normal. You may have never been to the Cathedral, but it’s part of our communal knowledge and experience.

It can also feel strange and even dissociative to witness historic events–especially painful ones–as though we are observing history passing instead of being “inside” it, as usual. A significant historic event can bring up issues of mortality, death, and existential issues.

Make sure to take care of your physical body and to connect with others in a positive, everyday way as best you can when catastrophic events occur. Eat a meal with someone, stop for a drink, talk on the phone, stop at someone’s house to say “hi,” hold someone’s hand, go to a service, hug your children.

It’s the 6th Annual Bi Health Month!

Countering Bi Erasure, it’s the 6th annual Bi Health Awareness Month:

 

 

 

 

(Lancaster rainbow stickers can be purchased from Madcap & Co.)

Someone Said I Did A Racism; Now What? A Guide

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It’s the final day of Black History Month!
The past month has seen a number of high-profile figures being criticized for saying or doing racist things. In most cases that I saw, those in the spotlight made matters even worse by their responses. Have you wondered how you would respond in the same circumstance?
Nobody wants to think of themselves as racist. But the fact is, being raised in a racist society means that some of the time, we will all do or say some racist things, despite meaning well and often without even realizing it.
So what do you do if someone points out that what you have said or done is racist? Here is a guide.
1. First of all, hold that initial impulse to argue. Before you say anything, take a breath and pause for several seconds. If you must speak, say something like, “Okay. I need to think about this.”
2. On the emotional side, contain your defensiveness: Doing or saying a racist thing doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a bigot or a terrible person. Most people doing racist things are not bigots. It does mean that a piece of (very common!) racist conditioning has come up and it’s an opportunity to work on that and heal. If you are a person with a conscience and a heart, it will probably hurt to hear. That means your conscience and your heart are working! But try not to take this criticism as an attack. (This is hard!)
3. Recognize that your intention doesn’t excuse the outcome: If I run over your foot with my truck, it doesn’t matter whether I mean to or not. Your foot is going to be hurt–possibly broken. The same is true of racist acts and words. The vast majority of racism is unintentional, and it is injurious to others just the same.
So it’s okay if you find yourself saying “I didn’t mean to…” But recognize that is only the beginning, and only a tiny piece of the issue. It’s not an apology.
4. Try simply apologizing unconditionally and without a long explanation. It’s okay to say something like “I’m sorry. I see that was ugly.”  If this sounds hard (it is, emotionally speaking), try preparing by reviewing and practicing before this ever comes up, so you won’t be frozen or outraged if it happens. You may also want to review what not to do!
5. Manage your own feelings: This is really the hardest part.
Most of us, if not all, will feel defensive, hurt, attacked, misunderstood, guilty, sad, scared, angry, or some combination of the above. But those feelings are yours to manage, and you are strong enough to hold them.
Remember, the other person is not responsible for making you feel better for having hurt them, or to give you absolution. It’s especially important to let them have their feelings of upsetness without trying to talk them out of it or to burden them with the emotional work of reassuring you about it. That places additional work on them when they are already burdened with the hurt of racism, and it is unfair.
If you need to vent your feelings about this (which is healthy!) find someone else to talk with, preferably a racially conscious White friend or even a counselor. You may also want to journal, cry privately, read, pray, or meditate, just as you would with any other painful or uncomfortable feelings that you are processing.
6. What if they are wrong? Short answer: they’re not. Even though you didn’t mean it that way.
Think about it: if you are a White woman, haven’t you seen men doing sexism even when they didn’t realize it? Or they dismissed it? If you are a White person who is LGBT: haven’t you seen hetero people being homophobic or transphobic and then saying how much they love LGBT folks? Low-income people, haven’t you heard rich people talk about poor people like they really don’t matter at all in the ultimate equation? Yet if you asked them, they would probably say they like people generally, and had nothing against any particular poor person.
The worst judge of an -ism is the person committing it, and racism is no exception.
7. Don’t be discouraged from working on race issues: Pick it back up when you have healed. Think about your motives. Are you working on unlearning racism because it’s the right thing to do, or to get approval and recognition from people in a marginalized group? Work on race issues because you want to improve society, whether or not any specific BIPoC likes you (or you them). Unlearning is a lifelong process.
8. Develop authentic friendships: It is always more emotionally risky for a BIPoC to have a White friend than the other way around. So make yourself available, be friendly and helpful insofar as you are able, but remember that no one owes you friendship, no matter how nice you are to them. To borrow an analogy, friendship is not a vending machine.
For additional thoughts about interracial friendship, visit this thread:

PS: Whatever you do, resist the urge to do a “not all White People,” –no really, do not do a “not all White People.”

 

Methodist Church Votes to Maintain Opposition to LGBTQ

In St. Louis this week, 53% of Methodist delegates voted to continue the “traditional model,” which opposes same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy, leaving some LGBTQ members and clergy excluded and heartbroken.

WaPo coverage at Twitter link below, and here: UMC Vote.

If you would like to make an appointment for pastoral counseling with our newest colleague, LGBT-supportive Methodist pastoral counselor, Rev. Dr. John G. Smith, please contact us by email or phone.

 

 

Depression and Mood Screening Clinic 2/28-3/1

 

Wondering if you have depression or a mood disorder?

Give us a call or email to set up an appointment with one of our caring mental health professionals for a brief screening during our depression and mood disorders screening clinic.

Depression can be treated–it’s not “laziness” or a character flaw!

Give yourself a chance to be involved in your own life (and enjoy it more)!  ❤

Screening Flyer Dep