Dell Rapids coach comes out in national article

By Brian Allen

Now to the story of a Dell Rapids man who decided to reveal he was gay in one of the most public ways possible.

Nathan Alfson wrote an article for the web site “Outsports”, telling of his experience growing up in South Dakota as a gay Christian athlete.

The article was published Tuesday morning.Nathan Alfson

On Tuesday night, we talked with him about the decision he made with this article…and the possible pitfalls.

It’s volleyball night for Nathan Alfson; playing sports with his friends is nothing new for Nate.

But becoming an instant internet celebrity for a public article about his private life….that is new. “Its been amazing. I’ve had nothing really but amazing comments.”

Alfson decided to write this article because he didn’t want to hide who he truly was anymore and he didn’t want anyone else to have to hide either; especially those like him who grew up gay in a conservative state like South Dakota. “I realized that it was a chance for everyone in our area a chance to open up and be themselves and really feel comfortable with who they are.”

There is more on the line for Nathan than simply coming out nationally.

Alfson is a baseball coach in Dell Rapids….at St. Mary’s….and his superiors didn’t know he was gay.

Now they more than likely do. And Alfson says if the school fires him he will not be surprised. “I am prepared for the worst. And I understand completely for what is going to happen. Hopefully it can change someday.”

He knows there are those in his school and church community who will judge him and condemn him. Alfson says that’s OK because life moves forward…. that you can be gay and Christian. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. “I am not worried about where I am going. Others might disagree. But that’s OK. I’ve had my fair share of conversations with God. I am comfortable where I am going. I am ready for Heaven when it comes.”

If you would like to read Nathan Alfson’s article for yourself, click on this link.

Complete Article HERE!

Thought for the day

Enough said!

 

pretending1

“People who say homosexuals are sick are sick themselves”

By JAN MARTÍNEZ AHRENS

Raúl Vera is the Mexican bishop who holds the record for death threats. He has survived more than one attempt on his life, and his work in favor of missing persons, immigrants, children and juveniles, indigenous populations, prostitutes and pariahs of all types has earned him the undying hatred of many, including the drug rings.Bishop Raul Vera Lopez

Yet the threats seem to leave no mark on him. An engineer by trade and an intellectual son of May 1968, the 69-year-old Dominican friar has forged himself a legend as an untamed soul.

His first test came in 1995 when Juan Pablo II sent him to Chiapas in the middle of the Zapatista effervescence. His mission: to bring order to the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, which was then headed by the charismatic Samuel Ruiz, a champion of liberation theology and supporter of pro-indigenous theories. But the man who was supposed to wrest power away from the unruly Ruiz and return the diocese to the path of conservatism ended up supporting the local clergy instead.

Rome never forgot. As punishment, four years later Vera was transferred to Saltillo, in the arid northern state of Coahuila. It was to no avail. Vera returned to the trenches, facing up to the government and to the fearsome drug cartel of Los Zetas.

Meanwhile, his charged rhetoric against inequality and “liberal capitalism” has distanced him from the rest of Mexico’s bishops, who are aristocratic and wed to orthodoxy.

For a long time, Raúl Vera was the Catholic Church’s black sheep, the old-fashioned left-winger. But that was until the ideological earthquake represented by the new pope, Francis I, gave renewed relevance to his words. Now, other bishops are suddenly turning to Vera for guidance.

Question. What visits would you recommend to the Pope when he comes to Mexico?

Answer. To begin with, he should become familiar with the migrants’ route. I would also make him visit a prison, because he likes going to prisons. I would also take him to the outskirts of a large city, because he says we should go to the periphery. I would organize a visit on the basis of what he is asking us to do. And I would make sure that the poor and the indigenous were standing in the front row, because that is something that doesn’t usually get done.

Q. Not long ago you baptized the daughter of a lesbian couple. What do you think about homosexuality?

The true meaning of life lies in the community, in caring for the weak”
A. That is a topic that we have refused to address. The people who say homosexuals are sick are sick themselves. The Church needs to come to them not with condemnation, but with dialogue. We cannot cancel out a person’s richness just because of his or her sexual preference. That is sick, that is heartless, that is lacking common sense.

Q. Is it not the same with abortion?

A. I share the Church’s views on abortion, and see it as murder. The difference lies in how you penalize it. Abortion, just like same-sex marriage, has served us subterfuge to tell ourselves that we in the Church have our morals. It is very easy to go against a woman who has an abortion, it poses no trouble and we have support from the ultraconservative right. When there was a national campaign against abortion here, I organized rosary recitations to reflect on the defense of the lives of migrants, miners and women as well as the unborn. But we are hypocrites. It would seem that the only moral rules deal with condemning same-sex couples and abortions. You do that and you’re the perfect Christian.

Q. Would you make prostitution legal?

A. No, that would be legalizing female exploitation. I believe in the dignity of women. Prostitutes are extremely damaged women, but they must never lose their dignity and their right to be respected. We are reaching horrible extremes in connection with trafficking and exploitation.

Q. You have confronted the drug cartels in public. Do you fear for your life?

I learned that in order to defend human life, you have to put your own life on the line”
A. In Chiapas I learned that you have to risk your life if you want to stand on the side of the poor. I learned that in order to defend human life, you have to put your own life on the line. There is no other way to be a shepherd.

Q. Mexico officially has more than 13,000 missing persons. In two northern villages, the drug rings took away 300 people in full daylight within the space of days, and authorities did nothing about it. What is happening?

A. Impunity is allowing this to happen. Disappearances come with the elimination of all evidence that might aid persecution of the crimes. First the people disappear, then their bodies.

Q. Would legalizing drugs be a solution?

A. That will not be a solution.

Q. Why not?

A. Absolutely not. Drugs go hand in hand with the depreciation of human life. The decomposition of man does not come from drugs; man turns to drugs, like he turns to alcohol, for other reasons. To some, life has no meaning and they need drugs to find that meaning. Others have no other place to go. Legalizing drugs will not solve the problem of why people use drugs in the first place.

Q. Are you a Socialist?

A. I do not consider myself a Socialist. I have not read Marx, I was not an activist, and I never liked the theory of conversion into a dictatorship. We all have the same rights and the same dignity, but we also have freedom. Yet I have never supported the methods of capitalism. The true meaning of life lies in the community, in caring for the weak and sharing equally in the bounty of the land. All of this I learned from the indigenous world, from the poor and the peasants. They taught me the value of human life and shared their capacity to feel joy. They taught me how to laugh.

Complete Article HERE!

Lutheran Archbishop apologises to gays for “cruel treatment”

Kari Mäkinen, the Archbishop of Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church has apologised to homosexuals and other sexual minorities for the cruel treatment meted out to them. Mäkinen’s comments were reported at the public forum SuomiAreena.

 

Kari Mäkinen

The head of Finland’s Lutheran Evangelical Church publicly apologised to homosexuals and other sexual minorities for what he said was the cruel treatment they had received.

“When I think of the outside pressure and treatment that we have been guilty of displaying towards sexual minorities as a church and as a society for decades and how it still continues, I think it’s time for an apology. Without any explanations or prevarications,” he declared.

Mäkinen added that “cruelty is cruelty” even if it has become more subtle than before. He said he hoped that his apology would encourage others in the church and in society to follow suit.

Complete Article HERE!

Church of England General Synod backs women bishops

The Church of England has voted to allow women to become bishops for first time in its history.

 

York Synod

 

 

Its ruling General Synod gave approval to legislation introducing the change by the required two-thirds majority.

A previous vote in 2012 was backed by the Houses of Bishops and Clergy but blocked by traditionalist lay members.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was “delighted” but some opponents said they were unconvinced by the concessions offered to them.

The crucial vote in the House of Laity went 152 in favour, 45 against, and there were five abstentions. In November 2012 the change was derailed by just six votes cast by the lay members.

In the house of Bishops, 37 were in favour, two against, and there was one abstention. The House of Clergy voted 162 in favour, 25 against and there were four abstentions.

 

 

Analysis By Robert Pigott, religious affairs correspondent, BBC News

It is hard to exaggerate the significance of today’s decision at the York Synod.

It breaks a hitherto unbroken tradition of exclusively male bishops inherited from the first Christians almost 2,000 years ago.

Some Anglicans see it as a “cosmic shift” – arguing that the Church’s theology has been changed by its acceptance that men and women are equally eligible to lead and teach Christianity.

With the decision, the Church is acknowledging the importance secular society places on equality, signalling that it wants to end its isolation from the lives of the people it serves.

The legislation leaves traditionalists relying largely on the goodwill and generosity of future women bishops, a source of anxiety for many, but heralded by some as a sign of a new culture of trust and co-operation in the Church.

With the even more divisive issue of sexuality on the horizon, the Church will need that culture as never before.

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Before he announced the vote, the Archbishop of York John Sentamu, asked for the result to be met “with restraint and sensitivity”. But there was a flurry of cheers when it was announced.

The result overturned centuries of tradition in a Church that has been deeply divided over the issue.

It comes more than 20 years after women were first allowed to become priests. More than one-in-five of priests in the church are now female.

The motion will now go before Parliament’s ecclesiastical committee, which examines measures from the Synod. The Synod would then meet again on 17 November to formally declare that women can be bishops.

‘Big moment’The first woman bishop could potentially be appointed by the end of the year.

The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne: “It’s one more barrier down”

The vote followed after almost five hours of debate at the University of York.

The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne, said it was a “historic day”.

She told the BBC: “I don’t think you can overstate the fact that the Church of England allowing women to take up the role of bishop is going to change the Church.

“I think it’s going to change our society as well because it’s one more step in accepting that women are really and truly equal in spiritual authority, as well as in leadership in society.”

The Reverend Lindsay Southern, from the parish of Catterick with Tunstall, North Yorkshire, said “it’s been a really long journey but we were so pleased with the graciousness of the Synod debate”.

But Lorna Ashworth, a lay member of the Synod who voted against women becoming bishops, suggested it was “not going to be a smooth road ahead”.

She said she had no plans to “run away” from the Church but predicted there could be “difficulties” in a number of areas, such as those involving new priests opposed to the changes.

Another lay member, Susie Leafe, director of the conservative evangelical group Reform, said she was “very disappointed” by the vote.

“There is still at least a quarter of the Church for whom this package does not provide for their theological convictions,” she said.

The motion had the backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Prime Minister David Cameron.

Speaking in the debate, Archbishop Welby said Church of England bishops were committed to meeting their needs should the legislation be passed.

It contained concessions for those parishes that continue to object to the appointment of a women bishop – giving them the right to ask for a male alternative and to take disputes to an independent arbitrator.

In a statement issued by Lambeth Palace later, Archbishop Welby said: “Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing. The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds.”

The Archbishop of York said it was a “momentous day”.

He said: “Generations of women have served the Lord faithfully in the Church of England for centuries. It is a moment of joy today: the office of Bishop is open to them.”

Women celebrating outside the General Synod after the vote
There were celebrations outside the General Synod meeting at York University

Mr Cameron said it was a “great day for the Church and for equality”.

And writing on Twitter, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg praised Archbishop Welby’s “leadership” on securing the Yes vote, adding that it was a “big moment” for the Church of England.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said it was “wonderful news”.

But Prebendary David Houlding, a member of the Catholic Group on the General Synod, who voted against the legislation, expressed concerns at the potential impact the result could have on relations with the Catholic Church.

The Anglican Communion has the largest Christian denomination in Britain and a presence in more than 160 countries. Women bishops are already in office in a number of provinces including the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Complete Article HERE!

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