Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Today is Ash Wednesday in the Christian tradition. It is a day for self examination and repentance from the things in our lives that are harmful to our relationship with God and our spiritual life, relationship to ourselves and relationships with our neighbors. What is holding me back from a deeper connection to my Creator and my spiritual life? What are some ways that I have not respected and loved myself? How might I have harmed those around me with my words, actions or inactions? These are some of the questions that Ash Wednesday poses to us.

It also represents an opportunity for new beginnings, setting a new course in life, and projecting new intentions and goals for being a better more loving person. Of course everyday represents a new opportunity but for me, ritual is an important part of how I make meaning out of the things in my life.

I want to be the best person that I can be and to reconcile with those whom I have harmed as well as those who have harmed me. I invite you to take some time today for self-examination, for making peace with God, self and neighbor, and for projecting a new vision for the path ahead that includes more love and less fear. Life is short. Live it to the fullest.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

NOH8: Interview with Josh Noblitt, Adam Bouska, and Jeff Parshley

Special thanks to Carlton Mackey and Visionphilms for producing this film and of course to Nikki Noto for the hard work put in towards making the NoH8 Atl event a huge success!

Friday, February 25, 2011

For Neda

I had the amazing opportunity yesterday to meet highly esteemed journalist and wonderful human being Saeed Kamali Dehghan at the Emory University Center for Ethics screening ofthe award winning film, For Neda. This film tells the story of an Iranian woman named Neda Agha-Soltan who was tragically killed by a government sniper's bullet during peaceful election protests in Iran on June 20, 2009. The shooting was captured on several camera phones and within moments went viral all over the globe and became the face and international symbol of the struggle of the Iranian people for freedom and justice. Neda's story, as told through the heroic journalism of Saeed Kamali Dehghan, was extremely moving to me as I reflected on the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of death and even beyond death.
Though I did not know Neda I know that she is my sister. I am truly inspired and I hold her name in thought and prayer as I try to order my life in a way that honors her memory. Much respect to Saeed for his courage and hard work in making this film possible. Do check it out!

Monday, February 21, 2011

‘Conflicting identities’ and a lesson in forgiveness

‘Conflicting identities’ and a lesson in forgiveness


My friend, Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim in Atlanta wrote the above referenced piece, "'Conflicting identities’ and a lesson in forgiveness,"
last week as part of his response to the recent announcement of the dates for the 2011 Atlanta Pride festivities October 8-9, which directly conflicts with one of the most important Jewish holidays of the year, Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown on October 7 and ends at sundown on October 8 this year.
Though I find myself in the minority when it comes to being a part of the LGBTQ community in our culture, I find myself in the majority in a host of other ways, including religious tradition. I too was saddened to learn of the oversight by the Atlanta Pride Committee in scheduling but was filled with respect and gratitude at Rabbi Lesser's response which examines the deeper meaning of Yom Kippur and calls all stakeholders in the situation to a truer sense of relationship with each other and creating Beloved Community together.
Yom Kippur focuses on the themes of atonement, forgiveness and repentance. Rabbi Lesser states that "Yom Kippur dictates us to:

• Ask for forgiveness
• Forgive in the face of true remorse
• Cultivate humility and gratitude
• Be honest
• Seek restoration and healing
• Let compassion and mercy temper justice
• Do not give into temptation
• Aspire to be one’s best self"

What beautiful words in the face of disappointment and pain. I know I have a lot to learn fom Rabbi Lesser's example. May we all seek out opportunities apply these principles to our lives and to stand in solidarity with others as we continue our quest for Beloved Community.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Loving yourself

Valentine's Day for some of us can be a glaring reminder of our healthy and robust singleness. Today I am mindful of the commandment to "Love your neighbor as yourself" and I am trying to fulfill this commandment today by intentionally showing love to myself. The extent to which we love ourselves is the extent to which we are able to love others. I know when I think about the people in my life who are the most loving and affirming, I know them also to be quietly confident and affirming towards themselves.
Whether you are single or spoken for, I invite you to join me today in showing love to yourself. We are all created in the very image of the Divine, and that is something to celebrate today and everyday! Loving your neighbor as yourself is a crucial step in creating Beloved Community. Do your part and show yourself some intentional love today!