Thursday, September 28, 2006

Your Love or Your Job.

"Put your money where your mouth is." This means storytelling to me. Storytelling to make a difference.

Joyce Arnold is editor of Church Street Freedom Press. and she's used to creating change with words. Still, this is the first time since her 1995 removal as an ELCA pastor that she's gathered her story into an essay. Thank you Joyce.

Pastor Joyce Arnold was removed by the same bishop who has currently charged Pastor Bradley Schmeling for pastoring while gay. She offers this essay in recognition of the hundreds like herself who have lost jobs because of being LGBT, and in hopes of helping Pastor Bradley Schmeling and others whose pastoral positions are endangered by current rules against gay pastors.

If you copy this website url into an email, your friends, churchmembers, and others can click and read the story of Pastor Joyce Arnold.

Stories change the world. Thank you to Pastor Arnold for sharing "Your Love or Your Job." Thanks to each of you who helps bring her story into circulation.

Pastor Joyce Arnold: “Your Love or Your Job.”
Ordained: 1987: Expelled: 1995
In recognition of her excellent skills as a pastor, Joyce Arnold, received a request in 1994 from newly elected Bishop Ron Warren. “Will you serve as my assistant?”
For years Pastor Arnold had been serving as a “selectively out”, celibate, lesbian pastor. Having newly fallen in love with her partner, Pastor Arnold knew she would tell Bishop Warren of her partnership. The reaction was swift; no conversation, just an ultimatum, “either resign or be removed from the roster.”
As Pastor Arnold writes, “Now I knew what it felt like to be cast out.”
Read the PDF Essay

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dotti and Roby

Gay Into Straight America ( rolled out of town this morning after a couple wonderful days of visiting at the end of their year-long tour.

40 people showed up to hear them speak at Riverwalk Books on Wednesday night. It was one of the biggest events at Riverwalk Books in a long time. KOZI radio interviewed me in the morning and Dotti and Robi in the afternoon and attended the event in the evening. In our little town that rarely if ever mentions LGBT equality, we had ourselves an event.

On the same evening as we gathered here at Riverwalk, the people I met in Pittsburg were having their own event, gathering at the front of the stadium with postors of their families, letting everyone who entered see that family today needs a broad inclusion. In Pittsburg they pulled off two weeks of events with just three weeks of planning. The energy in the air was palpable during my visit. People are coming together for bigger things.

As Dotti and Roby drove away, I found myself thinking of all their encounters of the year. Sometimes small events coalesce into big movements. Other times we see no results. But every morning those two woke with their dog Rylee Joy to face a new day, and to offer it their energy for love and inclusion.

Thanks to them and to all who keep getting up each day to join hope into our world.

Blessings for this day,


Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Back from Washington D.C. and Pittsburg. Soaking in new stories. On the trip I read a book that said even if 90% of our population was exclusively homosexual, that would prove nothing about whether it was right or morally neutral.

I'm still absorbing that sentence which tells the core premise of this book. I'm still stunned by this open advocacy that LGBT issues are beyond experience, beyond discussion, open only to the offenders becoming heterosexual.

During three talks I mentioned this book and it's premise. I was speaking to LGBT people all the time, saying these words, realizing that if I believed them, there would be absolutely nothing that any of the attendees could say that would make any difference to the conversation.

This is scary. I'm trying to get my thoughts together to write a newsletter, but the thoughts won't come yet. Time to be a bit patient.

Thanks for checking in,


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Life in my closeted town - a request

Okay, I admit it. It's been strange writing an LGBT equality book while living in a town where I haven't known a single LGBT person. Just one month ago I met my first soon-to-be-resident lesbian. LGBT-wise, people in this town are invisible.

I'm promoting an LGBT awareness event here in town. The Gay Into Straight America Tour is making their final stop of a year long tour right here in Chelan, before returning home the next day to Blaine, Washington.

I've been writing friends and newspapers and radio stations about Dotti and Roby's appearance here on September 20th, 7:00 p.m. at Riverwalk Books. What struck me after all the encouragements I gave to support these travellers and to come and learn from their experience... what struck me is the "invisible effect" that attendance will have.

For the closeted LGBT residents of Chelan, and for the LGBT high school students who have no public resources for developing their sexuality, our little event will be a candle in anotherwise invisible room.

Our wonderful local radio station said they won't be covering Dotti and Roby's talk as news. I wrote them back to encourage attention for these two grass-roots explorers. The topic they're covering has been addressed this summer by the President of the United States, both houses of congresses and the Supreme Courts of New York, Nebraska, and Washington. It's news alright.

Maybe you want to share a story with our KOZI station? Tell them about a time you heard something on the radio and it brought light to a place that was otherwise dark and invisible. Tell them about a time when some piece of information about LGBT equality or some other topic gave you hope. On September 20th, we have the opportunity to repeat those supportive experiences here in Chelan.

If you get a chance to write, thanks for speaking up for the invisible ones. See the station at Write Steve the operations manager with a story that made a difference for you KOZI's a great station, thanks for keeping your message positive.

All best.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Back to the Blog

I guess you never know when you're going to take two weeks off blog writing until the two weeks are gone.

I've been pushing the marketing wheelbarrow hard each day since June, and all of a sudden my mind started begging for a bit of space. Reader reviews of Striaght Into Gay America continue to be hugely inspiring. Building momentum just takes a lot of time and work and living with the uncertainty of knowing very little about the journey.

This past weekend Anne and I attended the Art of Community conference in Seattle, a national co-housing gathering that hugely inspired us. I just posted the following article on my newsletter and hope you'll enjoy this story of 7 young architects who set out to change the world for $15.

Tipping PointSep 11, 2006

Seven friends in Portland decided to bet they could change the world with $15. It ended up costing $65. That was for the hinges, to build their community tea-house. (This weekend at a national co-housing conference I listened to the creator of this project. There is an LGBT connection here*)

These young architects realized a problem - that our American cities are almost all laid out on a grid pattern. As a result, American cities have 15 to 35 times less public space than European cities. With $65 these friends created a tipping point.

Ten years ago they created a removable tea-house with ten beautiful rooms. They located it on an open space in a neighborhood, and opened it for potluck and tea for ten friday nights in a row. The first week 8 came, then 25, then 100. On the last night over 1,000 people were drawn to the tea-house, sitting on lawns, sharing their potlucks, getting to know neighbors, and reclaiming what the speaker called, "our birthright for connection and community with other people."

Ten years later City Repair ( has empowered local citizens to reclaim over 75 Portland city intersections as public space. Cars now drive over painted intersection art. Benches, lemonade stands, mini-libraries, sculpture, and more have been created by the neighborhoods to reclaim these corners as places of meeting and hospitality. The city planning commission has bought into the idea. Studies are showing that people walk more, they're healthier, they're happier. $65 dollars. A great idea. The right time. People have been talking about these issues since the 1960's.

As for LGBT Equality, I keep looking for the Tipping Point, when the hunger for equality becomes a deep need, and when the spark arrives that lights the fire for national change. That's why I rode my unicycle, to add energy toward this change. I've seen personal tipping points where people develop strong commitments to equality. I've had my own tipping point. Who knows when or how the national tipping point will come.

If you're interested in great stories and learning the 4 types of people that make for tipping-point changes, read Malcolm Gladwell's book, THE TIPPING POINT: How Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference.

*So...why were Anne and I at the national co-housing conference in Seattle this weekend? Because we're involved in the formation of an intentional co-housing community on a fourth-generation family farm here in our town of Chelan. You can read about the farm, the market, the CSA, and the vision for the cohousing and learning center communities of Sunshine Farm.
With eyes open for the sparks that create change,Blessings for the day,