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.

Opal Design Curriculum Update

I think the “meta-editing” is finalized for my curriculum on missional ministry design/development. I’ve integrated the original eight books into two courses. Now I’m working diligently to finish the editing on Course #1. Lord willing, it will be ready to release this September. I’m hoping then to go to the Sentralized Conference, September 27-29, and enjoy some time with friends old and new. (The last conference I attended was over five years ago, on organic church.)

It seems things are on course for teaching my material with live interactive presentations starting late this year or early in 2013 … but depends on finding a venue and sponsor organization that can take care of set-up details. And I’ve slated the editing for Course #2 to wrap up in 2013, and after that, I’ll tackle the Missional Metrics Resource Suite … which is actually the material I’ve most looked forward to producing!

Thanks for your prayers … the finish line is closer every day! For details on the material, check out the pages at the top of my *futuristguy* blog:

* Opal Design Introduction ~ Overview of what makes this approach unique.

Opal Design Training Course #1 ~ Safe Houses for God’s People (deconstructing systems of spiritual abuse).

Opal Design Training Course #2 ~ Opal Design for Robust Ministries (constructing organizations that are safe, holistic, and sustainable).

* Opal Design Metrics Suite ~ (missional metrics systems, plus assessment and self-discovery tools).

* Opal Design Research and Development – the opal metaphor for integrative paradigms and teamwork, and some of the technical concepts behind the entire system.

An Apology to Futuristguy Subscribers …

I apologize to subscribers here at futuristguy for a wave of emails that landed in your in-box earlier today.

I’ve been considering a change in my approach to blogging recently, and have worked for several weeks to winnowed down my entire site to a select set of posts. In order to do that, I first put all 300+ posts into “draft” mode, then re-published the ones that now appear in the “Futuristguy Select” category. This process saved me several hours over other methods I considered, but unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me at the time that each post I “went live” with again would mean an email in subscribers’ in-box!

I do apologize for the inconvenience … and that this post will generate yet another email!

 

Big Changes at Futuristguy Blog …

I recently went into radical reconstruction mode here at futuristguy. I have removed about 75% of my posts in order to revise the content of my blog and make portions of it available in other formats later. I’ve kept a selection of posts that are most linked to and/or most searched.

I apologize for any inconvenience. I’ll post notifications when past futuristguy material is available again.

 

Veteran’s Day 2011 ~ And “Buddy Poppies”

VFW "Buddy Poppy"®

We grew up in the 1950s and ’60s with the annual sale of those then-familiar red poppies. Veterans from World Wars I and II stood on the street corners, smartly dressed in their uniforms, poppies in one hand and a collection can in the other. It was rare to see people in uniform then, and when you did, it tended to be a mixture of somber celebration. Over the years, various veterans visited our schools to share their stories. Sometimes they showed up in their uniform, sometimes not. Either way, these heroes – our local baker, shoemaker, real estate agent, and others – all of them made history more real to us, with their accounts of surviving the Bataan Death March, or the Battle of the Bulge, or Midway. It would take years before I better understood what those experiences cost them, in terms of their loss and pain and grief.

In my desk drawer, I keep as a reminder one of these bright-red flowers with the green cluster center and sage-colored twist-wrap wire stem. I kept the little paper tag on it. The front of it says, “Buddy” Poppy®. Wear it proudly.” The back says, “Proceeds to the Veteran of Foreign Wars for Veterans Assistance Programs.” You may not have seen one of these before, so I include here a picture of the Buddy Poppy I keep in my drawer. This one is vintage mid-2000s. Somewhere in storage, I’m sure I have one that is decades older …

Conflict is a difficult thing. I believe our hearts naturally long for peace. It’s just part of our God-given design. And yet, things are rarely at peace, and it is the sad irony that war does not bring lasting peace. Still, we have benefited from both obvious and behind-the-scenes service provided by the sacrifices of current members of our military, our veterans, and their families. I am reminded of the inscription at the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial: “For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.” I will never fully know the meaning of this, but today, I’m adding my thanks for the men and women who have sought to restore hope and to protect the possibilities of freedom for the future.