Suicide, One Last Snapshot of the Heart, and Hope Beyond …

It is a custom in many Western and Central European cultures that, when family and close friends part company, they take a few minutes and simply gaze in solemn silence into their loved one’s face. It is as if they are memorizing every line, capturing each nuance of color and shade. As they lock into one final look, wordless volumes speak between to the eternity of the soul that shines through eyes. It offers one last snapshot of the heart, before life circumstances cause them to part.

In the last few days, I’ve received word from three friends about the suicide of someone they love. In these cases, they did not have opportunity for that one final portrait, that one last intentional gaze …

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Midnight, Advent, and Hope …

 Midnight, Advent, and Hope …

© 2008, 2012 Brad Sargent.

In light of the shootings in Connecticut this past week, I felt I needed to do something to help counteract some of the shadow. I sensed I should repost this article, which was originally published November 11, 2008, under the title of “midnight …” It explores a few of the practical antidotes to selfishness, ugliness, and evil: prayer, beauty, and kindness – all very appropriate themes for Advent. May this article be used to spark some kindling of hope in the midst of the darkness of midnight … Continue reading

Misogyny, Misandry, and Pathways of Peace

“The prisoner holds onto something beyond the rational, the definable. Dignity sustains him.” ~ Carlos Liscano in El furgón de los locos (English title: Truck of Fools), his personal account of incarceration and torture in Uruguayan prisons in the 1970s and ’80s.

We get our words misogyny, misandry, and misanthropy from misos (the Greek word for “hatred”), used as a prefix to combine with an object of antipathy.

We’ve probably heard the term misogyny (literally, hatred of women – from the Greek gunē) the most. Far less frequently heard are the terms misandry (hatred of men – from the Greek anēr, man, and the genitive form andros) and misanthropy (hatred of people – Greek anthrōpos). But what do they really mean, in terms of how they actually affect people? Continue reading

Guest Post at The Wartburg Watch on Gender and Sexuality

In case you’re interested, I submitted this guest post to The Wartburg Watch (TWW) for a series they just started yesterday, on personal and societal issues dealing with homosexuality. The TWW blog focuses on cultural trends in Christianity, especially dealing with spiritual abuse. I’ve been commenting on posts there for most of this year. So, when I saw they were addressing the current subject, I offered to share my own story plus some of the ministry I’ve done in the arenas of gender identity and sexuality. It turned out to be a fairly long piece, and I think this is about the most I’ve written on the subject in over 10 years.

I would really appreciate prayer that I could respond well to comments and questions that people pose, and also in as timely a way as possible. (I am in the middle of finishing up two grant proposals, and also am starting another writing gig – - about chocolate(!) of all things! Plus other foods and gift products. Hopefully they send lots of samples …)  I have no idea what to expect for comments on this blog post, but will just pray, discern, and write to respond as best I can.

This topic is important to me, as is my writing about surviving spiritual abuse. I made a commitment a long time ago to do what I could when I could to try to make the way easier for those who follow after and deal with similar issues of gender and sexuality. But I have already written the equivalent of about a 40-page paper in the past few days and my brain could use a break that a nice cuppa coffee simply cannot cover. Anyway, I am trusting in a power not my own to get me through … as always.

Today I Launched into the Last Editing Lap!

Katie's Chirp-Chirp Bird Reminds of God's Faithful Provisions ...

When we’re on a real-world journey, unexpected situations unfold that turn out, providentially, to help us better understand what God created us to be and to do – why we are here and what we can contribute to the expansion of the Kingdom through our own unique design. I’m about to embark on what seems to be the beginning of closure in one major stage in that journey for me. This will still take a while, like one last big push uphill in a steeple-chase race.

And though I don’t have a clue what’s coming after this, there are a few important things that have become for more settled in my soul over this last stretch of 20 years. (Note that I said these realities have become more settled over time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have angst over them. Maybe just not as much as I used to.) (In fact, while one of my friends periodically says that I’m “the posterboy for faith” I think it’s more “the posterboy for perseverance.” Maybe they’re really the same, but one emphasizes the concept more than the concrete action. I don’t know, but I suspect neither one is doubt-free or angst-absent.) Anyway, here are key things I’ve concluded … Continue reading