Shuck and Jive

Friday, September 09, 2011

Gratitude for More Light Presbyterians

I sure do love More Light Presbyterians.

I feel badly that I over-scheduled myself and missed the conference in Rochester, NY this past weekend. More Light Presbyterians does important work. They affirm the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people when many in the church condemn them. They create a safe space for those whose lives are threatened. To me, it is Christ's work.

I am grateful to More Light congregations for boldly affirming the Gospel of hospitality and justice and for challenging the church to read its own texts in the light of faith and love and not through the dark lens of prejudice. I am humbled to serve a congregation that has taken this bold stand to be a safe space in what is often a hostile environment.

I am honored to know Michael Adee who works tirelessly and with grace on behalf of the whole church. Thank you, Michael. Your work saves lives.

I am grateful for teachers, administrators, counselors, ministers, and others who create safe spaces in their own settings for those at risk from bullies and prejudice.

I am grateful for my friends locally in the Tennessee Equality Project, PFLAG Tri-Cities, PFLAG AWCC, LGBTieS at ETSU, Northeast Tennessee Pride, and The Change, for being the change they want to see in the world and for providing safe spaces.

We all know what a safe space is.

It is that place or that person who gets it.

It is the place to go and the person you know where you can be yourself and share your life as it is without fear of being ridiculed, exposed, or hurt. We all need safe spaces.

I am most grateful for strong and wise leaders who protect these safe and sacred spaces from those who seek to belittle and to harm.

You know who you are. Thank you. May your tribe increase.


  1. Hey John!
    For us, this has been one of your most profound postings. As always, you nailed it! This may sound strange but we really never understood totally what it was that made the time you were in Billings so great (besides having you as a friend). It was exactly as you said - you created that safe space for us (and many others like our dear friend Pat K.). You are one of those that "gets it." You allowed us to participate fully without feeling ridiculed or hurt. Which helped us to hold our heads up high and say to ourselves "yeah, we're alright!"

    Often times, we have found, that folks are more likely to "like you" when you can be yourself. Because being oneself is being honest and as it has been said, "the truth shall set you free!"

    Your light shines bright, John. We are blessed that we can call you friend. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks also for posting "When I'm Gone." We love it!

    P.S. Mike's Dad passed away about a month ago. Before he died, he told Mike that he was proud of him and if he and I had not met then Mike's folks would not have had my parents as friends. Therefore, in the end, it was great resolve and a true blessing. After so many years, Mike is at peace with it all.

  2. Thanks Guys!

    I am so sorry to hear about your dad, Mike. Do give my love to all your family.

    Thanks for the kind words here!

    The picture of the three of us at your commitment ceremony is in my office so people can see it and know that they are in a safe space.

    Blessed Be!